In the ethical product hierarchy there are some purchases that we make for fun, like a cute tee or a new piece for summer. And then there are some staples, things that we’re going to be using for our whole lives, so we may as well make the purchase meaningful. Toothpaste, as one of the most regular things we use, is one of the top items in this list. It’s not the first time I’ve talked about ethical toothpaste on this blog, there are so many options and preferences out there that I think it’s nice to show people all the possibilities available to them (ethical living doesn’t always have to be limiting!), but I think WITH MY are probably one of the coolest toothpaste options I’ve seen in a very long time, whilst carrying a whole host of eco-friendly and ethical credentials too.
WITH MY is a new Korean social venture, founded by US-trained dentist Christina Min. Christina studied public health at Johns Hopkins University and graduated from NYU’s College of Dentistry, so it’s safe to say she knows what she’s talking about. (Also, shoutout to Christina for being a boss women in a male-dominated industry). A health issue knocked her off her feet for a while and kept her from practising dentistry, but it was in this time that Christina came up with the idea for WITH MY, natural daily essentials that could give back into the world. It seemed pretty obvious to start with toothpaste.
What makes this toothpaste special? Well the list is long.
WITH MY toothpaste is comprised of natural, EWG (Environmental Working Group) verified safe ingredients, including organic, Ecocert approved calendula and rosemary extract. There’s absolutely no parabens, SLS, SLES, Saccharin, microbeads, PEG, artificial colours or flavours. They also don’t use fluoride and, most importantly, they don’t use glycerin. Most glycerin is made from GMO crop or comes from the rainforest-destroying palm oil industry. While it’s possible to find non GMO, palm oil free glycerin it can be highly expensive so, instead of passing on this price to consumers, WITH MY worked to remove glycerin instead, meaning they’re totally palm oil and GMO free. They’re also certified vegan and cruelty free, being Korea’s first PETA and vegan society approved toothpaste, so that’s pretty cool too.
WITH MY toothpaste is manufatured in a ISO, CGMP, KGMP, Ecocert, FDA, KFDA approved facility, ticking multiple ethical boxes at once, and their packaging is eco-friendly too. All paper elements, for example packaging, brochures or bags, are made from recycled paper or FSC certified paper. I also spoke to Christina, WITH MY founder, to talk toothpaste tubes and the eco options:
‘I definitely did look into biodegradable tube. However, in Korea, there is a minimum order of 100,000 units. Being a start up, that was too high of a unit. Another option that I found was to import the tubes from the US or overseas. However, when calculating the cost and the carbon footprint involved in shipping the tubes over, and into the manufacturing factory, it was actually worse than using the regular aluminium barrier laminate (ABL) tubes which we use. Another option that we considered was 100% aluminum tubes, because those are more readily recycled. However, when consulting our materials advisor, they told me that unless the user was to actually cut open the tube, wash it out, and then recycle the tube, they will not be recycled. At all. If anything, they would actually create higher cost and higher waste. On the other hand, Korea actually has a very good recycling program which enables ABL tubes to be recycled, and in the US, Terra Cycle works to recycle ABL tubes.’
The thing I really appreciate is that WITH MY have clearly done thorough research and considered all their options before making the best choice they can. It’s almost impossible to find a perfect product in every way, but they’ve done their very best to consider the impact of every choice, small or large.
And you know what’s really interesting about this toothpaste? It’s lemonade flavoured. (cue Beyonce reference). No but seriously, it really tastes like lemonade. This flavour comes from using lemon oil, which has been proven to prevent gum disease, cavities and even morning sickness in pregnant women. What’s really interesting is that whilst it does have that lemon taste with a hint of sweetness that gives it a strong lemonade vibe, it doesn’t take artificial or icky at all, in fact it’s pretty refreshing in the summer heat. This toothpaste is totally easy to use and works really well; my teeth feel squeaky clean after brushing, and my mouth and gums feel healthier than ever. Also, their design is really well thought out, the colours are gorgeous and this toothpaste is a perfect portable size for travel.
And if lemonade doesn’t quite do it for you, don’t despair. For those who prefer the more traditional flavour, WITH MY are now also doing spearmint flavour too!
On top of all the benefits for you, WITH MY also gives back. In 2016 they followed a one for one model, giving 10,000 toothpastes and $700 to orphanages and underfunded schools in Korea and the Philippines, to improve dental health and understanding of oral hygiene. In 2017 WITH MY took on a project in rural Cambodia, working to build a kindergarten. In the 1970’s 90% of Cambodia’s teachers were killed, leaving a generation illiterate and unable to pass on education. Things have improved a lot since then, but education facilities are still scarce in rural areas, which is what WITH MY hopes to change. Each toothpaste purchase provides 10 bricks, which is pretty great seeing as this toothpaste isn’t even expensive to start with. It takes 40,000 bricks to build a kindergarten building, any other funding will go towards materials, infrastructure and recruiting teachers, as well as opening an on-site work station for willing mothers to bring their kids to kindergarten and work next door. Products the mothers make will help maintain the kindergarten, helping to make it sustainable in a long term way.
All in all, if you’re looking for a new toothpaste to try out, WITH MY are a great option. They’re natural and ethical, and they’ve put a ton of work in to make sure that they know their stuff and that they’re able to use their work to benefit others in the world too. On top of all that, their toothpaste leaves you feeling fresh and confident. Win win.
WITH MY are currently taking orders through IndieGogo, as they raise funds for their work in Cambodia. You can order online here!
Until next time, stay magic y’all.
Post created in collaboration with WITH MY.