The decision to go zero waste can be an intimidating one, sometimes knowing where to start can stop you doing anything at all. When I made the choice for myself, I realised the best way to get going was to look for the products I use most regularly, and therefore are probably racing through and throwing out most often. The first thing I landed on? Toothpaste.
As it turns out, toothpaste isn’t actually that great for you. Well, conventional toothpaste anyway. As Dentalbuzz so aptly points out, toothpaste is essentially a cosmetic; it’s much more about brushing often with good technique than it is about what you do it with. So, why the heck do I keep buying these plastic tubes that I’m going to throw away? I always thought toothpaste was a kind of necessary evil when it came to packaging, but as soon as I looked for an alternative, it was pretty easy. It’s totally possible to opt for simply using coconut oil or baking soda, but I didn’t feel quite ready to go that far yet. I still wanted something that left me with a fresh taste in my mouth (maybe this is superficial but I doubt I’m alone on thinking it).
This is where Lush come in.
Now we all know Lush is a pretty fun place anyway. So many colours! So many smells! But when it comes to ethics, these guys really stand up. They’re completely cruelty free, they not only tell you where their products were made but often who by (cue little sticker with their portrait on) and they’re fresh. Recently people used their massage bars incorrectly and plants started growing in their shower drains. A little creepy, but it doesn’t get much fresher than that.
But, most importantly for me, their packaging is as minimal as possible. Other companies often wrap their bath products in plastic, this doesn’t happen at Lush, when you buy a product it’s nearly always in recycled and recyclable packaging. They also run a scheme where if you bring your plastic black pots back to the store be recycled you receive a free face mask. Lush do this with the aim of becoming completely self-sustainable with their plastic supply and keeping their products out of landfill. Added bonus, the pots are not shipped from overseas but from Poole in Dorset, so we’re keeping it local too!
So let’s look at the product itself. The first big difference is that their toothpaste comes in powder or tablet form, not the ‘paste’ most people all used to. Today I’m going to be talking about the tablets, I will inevitably try the powder at some point, and there are even great toothpaste powder recipes floating about the internet if you want to try DIY. But if, like me, you don’t have a ton of spare time and are worried about potentially causing mess because you’re clumsy and will inevitably drop the powder everywhere, then tablets are probably best for you too. Like I said previously, I travel a lot, so these are an absolute dream because I don’t need to worry about liquid rules on aeroplanes. One fairly small bottle contains a whole load and stows away in hand luggage easily. The bottles they come in are made of 100% recycled materials, and can easily be recycled or reused at home. Hooray!
For these tablets to work you pop one in your mouth and start chewing, from here they sort of ‘become’ toothpaste fairly quickly through mixing with your saliva and foaming up, and then you just brush as normal. The foam is created through a combination of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and cream of tartar in the product, both of which are completely normal and harmless. Asides from these the tablets contain a mixture of essential oils, natural ingredients and safe synthetics. (Note: If you’re trying to go fluoride free this is also a good product for you. This is up to you to make your choice on, I personally have never actively tried to avoid fluoride, but for those of you who are it’s not in these tablets at all). Lush includes a full breakdown and explanation of every ingredient of every product on their website and their free app, which is a level of transparency I particularly admire. It’s a great tool for working on understanding more of what is in my products, but it’s also great to see how many of their ingredients are locally sourced from the UK. Wins all round. Additionally, while I can’t tell you the exact amount of tablets per bottle, I can say it’s a fair few. I’ve been using my current bottle for a month and a half now and still have a good while left. For £5.95 a pop that isn’t bad, but if this is too steep for you then powders are only £4.95, or you can always make your own.
Currently, I have not tried every product in the tooth tab range. I went for the Bling! tablets because the gold appealed to me (here at ethical unicorn we do appreciate a bit of magic after all). They seem a little strange the first couple times you use them, but mainly because it’s not what we’re used to seeing in our toothpaste ads. They’re actually extremely easy to use, take no time to adjust to, and I honestly would never go back to regular paste again. I don’t know if everyone would agree on this, but I’ve personally found the tablets can also work pretty easily without water, so you can use them when camping too. The main components of Bling! tablets are Brazilian orange oil, guarana seed powder, frankincense oil and almond oil. Guarana seeds contain caffeine so these are good for giving you some extra zing in the morning. It leaves your mouth feeling clean and tasting good, and this lasts a while, something I often haven’t found with conventional toothpastes. I was told by a friend who works in store at Lush that these tablets are also good for teeth whitening, while I’m no pro in this area either I have noticed a visible difference in my teeth, whether this is caused by the tablets or my own subconscious who can say.
All in all I think these toothy tabs are a great product. They’re cruelty free, vegan, waste free, easy and efficient. Also you don’t have to put them in a plastic bag at the airport. What’s not to love! When my current bottle runs out I’m going to grab some samples of the other varieties of tablets (pictured below) and I’ll keep y’all updated on how they match up. But please, give these a go! It will immediately eradicate a crazy amount of toothpaste tubes going in the bin!
Until next time, stay magic y’all.