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Health & Beauty, Life & Style

The Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste in 2021

Do you need to brush up on the best plastic-free and eco-friendly toothpaste in 2021 in the UK? You’re in luck! I’ve got you covered with my pick of the ten best brands.

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Looking for a more sustainable and eco-friendly toothpaste? Perhaps one that’s plastic-free, and packaged in a glass jar? Perhaps some eco-friendly toothpaste tablets? Or maybe you’d prefer toothpaste that comes in a recyclable metal tube? Or maybe even toothpaste that comes in a refillable tube? The good news is that the eco-friendly toothpaste market has expanded massively in the last year or so, and there’s now an option for almost every variable.

What’s Wrong With Conventional Tubes?

Toothpaste tubes and other types of squeezable tubes are difficult to recycle because they combine different materials. Toothpaste tubes in particular often contain a thin layer of aluminium, sandwiched between various types of plastic. It’s too tricky and too costly for recycling centres to separate and process them, so they get sent to landfill.

Terracycle does collect conventional toothpaste tubes for recycling, however, you need to have a collection point near you. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be accessible to you.

Ten of The Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste Brands

The good news I’ve been doing some digging and found the best green toothpaste brands in the UK right now, that should be fully recyclable in most parts of the UK. I’ve also specifically looked for the brands that offer fluoride and fluoride-free eco-friendly toothpaste options, to cater to a range of dental needs. I’ve even found palm oil free brands and eco-friendly brands that cater to sensitive teeth. Brush up on my favourite brands!

Ben and Anna

ben and anna eco-friendly toothpaste

Ben and Anna* make a range of different flavoured eco-friendly toothpaste, catering for a range of differing dental needs. From toothpaste with fluoride to toothpaste without fluoride to whitening toothpaste, to toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. What’s more, each is packaged in a recyclable glass jar and cardboard box.

Their effective cruelty-free formulas are made from natural ingredients, such as sea-buckthorn, chamomile, activated charcoal, cinnamon, and calcium for strong, shiny teeth and healthy gums. And even better, all of their toothpaste is free from phthalates, parabens, microplastics, SLS, and formaldehyde.

They also make a natural mouthwash (that’s not made from coconut oil) that is also packaged in a glass bottle.

Prices start from £8.95.

Boca

boca plastic-free toothpaste

BOCA has produced day and night tubes of toothpaste crafted from organic and vegan ingredients. You can even choose from fluoride or fluoride-free options, depending on your preferences. What’s more, the toothpaste features the world’s first refill and reuse tube system, which is currently on trial in the UK only.

How it works is that every 8 weeks BOCA sends you replacement compostable tube refill cartridges. All you have to do is pop the empty tube in the dishwasher or clean it with hot water, then refill your tubes and reseal them with the BOCA system, before composting your empty refill cartridges.

If you don’t get on with toothpaste in a glass jar or toothpaste tablets then this could be one to try. Sometimes eco-friendly swaps are easier to make if they’re similar to what you’ve been used to.

Prices start from £9.99.

Brushd

brushd plastic free dental care

Brushd* makes a great range of plastic-free dental hygiene products, including toothpaste tablets, that come in fluoride or fluoride-free varieties. They also have a range of mouthwash tablets and plastic-free dental floss. When your toothpaste or mouthwash jar is empty, there’s no need to put it in the glass recycling. Instead buy a refill that comes in a cardboard container.

Brushd also makes bamboo interdental brushes*. To be honest, I’m on the fence about bamboo interdental brushes. They’re made of mixed materials, so will have to be sent to landfill, where biodegradable materials do not breakdown. Bamboo isn’t native to Europe so it has to be shipped from abroad. This possibly gives it a heavier carbon footprint than a plastic interdental brush. It’s a more expensive “eco” swap that may not make a discernible difference to the environment. It’s certainly something to think about, and if you want to read more you can read about why plastic-free isn’t always better for the environment.

Toothpaste tablets start from £4.99.

DENTtabs

DENTtabs toothpaste tablets

DENTtabs* teeth cleaning tablets with fluoride are a great eco-friendly alternative to toothpaste. These tablets are 100% plastic-free, with no preservatives. They come in a fully home compostable bag made from cornstarch, and carry the official home composting certification. When the bag arrives in the post, simply rip it open and pop the toothpaste tablets in one of your own reused jars.

One bag is equivalent to 2 tubes of toothpaste, and kid’s versions are available too.

Priced at £5.55.

Georganics

Georganics*  specialise in natural, sustainable, and ethical dental care, creating plastic-free products that promote good oral health. Made by hand in the UK, each formula includes locally sourced, organic natural ingredients that are kind to you, your teeth, and the planet.

From refillable jars of toothpaste tablets to tooth soap and toothpowder, their teeth cleaning range is extensive. Meanwhile, their mouthwash tablets and plastic-free dental floss also promote good oral hygiene.

Their vegan-friendly products are free from fluoride, parabens, SLS, SLES, mineral oil, microbeads, phthalates, triclosan, palm oil and synthetic fragrances.

Prices start from £6.90 for toothpaste.

Happier

happier plastic free toothpaste in tubes

Happier* is another plastic-free toothpaste that comes in a tube if dental tablets are not your thing. The Happier eco-friendly toothpaste comes in an old-school aluminium tube, which can be recycled in with your metal recycling. To help you squeeze out every last drop, you can buy a reusable “Squeeze Key”. This can be used on all aluminium tubes, such as my favourite Weleda Skin Food, or even your tomato puree!

This fluoride toothpaste is free from SLS, triclosan, parabens, petrochemicals, colours, artificial flavours, or artificial sweeteners. What’s more, it’s cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. Happier Toothpaste has also been specially formulated for sensitive teeth.

Priced from £12, with discounts available for repeat subscriptions.

Parla

Parla zero-waste toothpaste tablets

Parla’s eco-friendly toothpaste tablets* was founded by three award-winning cosmetic dentists from London. As dentists, they believe toothpaste should first and foremost protect people’s smiles but not harm people, animals, or the planet in the process.

Their tablets are available in two different-sized glass jars – either as 62 tablets or 248 tablets. And when you need a refill, you can buy a 248 tablet refill that comes in a cardboard box. Not sure what size would suit you? 62 Tabs is a 1 month supply for 1 person brushing twice daily. Meanwhile, 248 Tabs is a 4 month supply for 1 person brushing twice daily.

Prices start at £6.95.

Truthpaste

truthpaste palm oil free toothpaste

Truthpaste* is a palm oil free toothpaste, that’s also free from fluoride, SLS/SLES, triclosan, glycerin, and palm oil. Nor does it doesn’t contain any foaming agents, bleaching agents, colourants, or artificial ingredients. Even better, Truthpaste is 100% vegan and cruelty free too.

This eco-friendly toothpaste comes in a glass jar with a metal lid, making it fully recyclable when you’re done.

Priced at £8.95

Truthtabs

Not to be confused with Truthpaste, Truthtabs* are a different company!

Simply pop one UK-made Truthtab into your mouth, bite and brush. Truthtabs foam and clean just like toothpaste. Meanwhile, the fresh Wild Mint flavour leaves your teeth sparkling and your breath fresh.

These come in a cardboard box, which can be decanted into your own glass jar, for lower carbon shipping.

Prices start at £4.50

Weleda

Finally, Weleda* offers this plant-based formulation in a metal tube. This toothpaste is especially good for those with sensitive teeth.

It’s vegan-friendly and not tested on animals. What’s more, it’s free from sugar, artificial sweeteners, surfactants, synthetic preservatives, flavours, colourants, and raw materials derived from mineral oils. It’s only available in a fluoride-free option.

Priced at £4.95.

Didn’t You Forget About Lush?

So, yes, Lush does make toothpaste tablets. Ane no, I’m not recommending them. Personally, I am not a fan of Lush. I dislike their intensely pushy sales tactics. The last time I was in their store, they used some pretty abhorrent and problematic sales tactics on my kids who were just 3 and 7 at the time. As such, I’ve not bought any of their products since.

Whilst that’s my own personal grudge against Lush, there are bigger reasons that make Lush problematic. In December it was reported that Lush donated a four-figure sum to an anti-trans group. They have since apologised, but I personally feel uneasy supporting this company.

What If I Can’t Afford These Eco-Friendly Toothpaste Brands?

All of these eco-friendly toothpaste brands do come at a much higher price point than your average £1 tube of toothpaste. If they’re out of reach, then you can try to buy toothpaste that comes in a pump, rather than a tube, if this is accessible to you. Recycle Now says that pump action toothpaste tubes are easier to recycle and can be placed in your recycling bin if your local authority also collects plastic pots, tubs, and trays.

How Can We As Consumers Bring About Change?

Something that is important for us all to do, whether we can afford to buy these eco alternatives or not, is to write to toothpaste manufacturers to consider switching to recyclable packaging.

In terms of accessibilty, I don’t know if toothpaste tubes or pumps are more accessible to people with mobility problems (see the plastic straw ban conversation if you are new to these issues). I would therefore be loath to suggest that all manufacturers switch to toothpaste pumps without fully understanding any potential impacts.

Colgate has, however, introduced a fully recyclable toothpaste tube. This shows the technology and materials are there, and more manufacturers should be encouraged to adopt this packaging. Frustratingly, Colgate hasn’t introduced this recyclable tube across their whole range. I smell greenwashing – having one recyclable product amongst a sea of non-recyclable products does not make for an eco-friendly toothpaste brand. So Colgate should also be encouraged to roll this packaging out across their whole range. In the absence of strong Governmental actions on plastic packaging, they will only do this with consumer pressure from us.

Enjoyed this post? Do also check out my posts on the best fluoride-free toothpaste and how to reduce plastic in the bathroom.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

18 Free Self-Care Ideas for a Covid Winter

free self-care ideas during covid

Winter is coming. Here is a whole host of free self-care ideas for you to help look after yourself this coming winter.

With winter on it’s way, and with Covid restrictions still in place, impacting on the things we can do and the people we can visit, it’s imperative that we look after ourselves more than ever. With finances especially tight for many of us, the question is how do we invest in self-care without spending money that we don’t really have?

It’s easy to feel that self-care is expensive. We’re constantly bombarded by newspapers, magazines, and influencers telling us that the only way to look after ourselves properly is to spend money on spa treatments, expensive moisturisers, cashmere socks, fancy candles, and other luxuries. Capitalism says do self-care any other way and you’re doing it wrong.

free self-care ideas covid winter

18 No-Cost / Free Self-Care Ideas

The truth is there are heaps of ways to look after yourself without buying anything. I’ve set out some free self-care ideas below, which may or may not work for you depending on your circumstances. I’d also love to hear your free self-care suggestions too.

1.Try and Make Space for the Basics

Depending on how you are feeling, some days it can be too tricky to even make space for the basics in life. Brushing your teeth or having a shower can feel like mountains that need climbing, but it’s an important aspect in self-care that you always feel better for doing it.

2. Unfollow Social Media Accounts That Make You Feel Bad

Instagram can sometimes make you feel like everyone else has this glossy amazing life, full of the latest ‘must-have’ stuff. I recommend unfollowing or muting accounts that make you feel inadequate, or make you feel like you need to constantly buy stuff to keep up.

The same with Facebook. If you have friends or family members that again, make you feel inadequate, then you can quietly unfollow them. They won’t get a notification saying that you have unfollowed them, and you’ll still be on their friends list, avoiding social drama.

3. Reconsider Your Morning/Evening Scroll Habit

Do you have a habit of scrolling social media or the news when you wake up, or before you go to bed? I know I do. Reading something awful before I get up for the day or just before bed sets me up badly for the rest of the day, or is a recipe for a poor nights sleep. As an act of free self-care, I am working on establishing new morning and bedtime routines, to stop me doing this.

4. Make Sure You Get Outside at Least Once a Day

If you’re working from home it can be incredibly easy to go for days without leaving the house. And if you working outside the home, it’s equally easy to go from home, to your car, and into your workplace, and back without ever really spending time outdoors.

I feel better when I get outside at least once a day, preferably for walk ,but even if it is just to stand outside for 10 minutes to get some fresh air and to clear my head.

5. Drink More Water

Hands up if you’re drinking enough water? Hands up if you are really drinking enough water? The NHS recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day (about 1.2 litres). If you have a water bottle, keep it to hand throughout the day, otherwise, try setting regular reminders on your phone to drink a glass of water.

6. Investigate Free Exercise Options

Exercise doesn’t have to cost anything. I’m not a very sporty person, so my exercise of choice is walking. I’ve downloaded a free app on my phone called Pacer, and use that to track my steps. I aim for 10,000 steps a day to get the burst of confetti that Pacer rewards you with when you do over 10,000 in a day. What can I say, I’m a sucker for things like that! To meet my target I do a mix of walking outdoors and doing steps indoors. If you don’t feel safe walking outdoors alone in your neighbourhood, you could pair up with a friend, or do your steps indoors.

You can also use Pacer for running or jogging if walking is too slow-paced for you.

If walking isn’t your bag then there are a host of free exercise options. On YouTube, you can find a huge array of free exercise videos – from high-intensity cardio to yoga, Pilates, and more.

7. Get To Grips With Your Bank Account

Something I’ve learned this year is that financial wellness equals physical and mental wellness. I’ve also learned that financial wellness doesn’t mean zero debt, a large income, and a hefty savings fund, for I have none of these, but just being on top of your finances. Knowing what’s coming in, no matter how little, and what is going out, no matter how large, is a lot less stressful than occasionally glancing at your online banking and hoping for the best. I would say it’s one of the really key free self-care ideas.

The easiest entry point to financial wellness is to sit down and go through your bank statements and look at all of your direct debits. If you haven’t looked for a while, there may be things that you didn’t realise you were paying for, like subscriptions you forgot to cancel. Cancelling them is a great way to start making inroads into feeling more on top of your finances.

8. Make A Budget

The next step in financial wellness is making a budget and sticking to it. It sounds dry, it sounds boring, and maybe it doesn’t sound like a great free self-care idea. However, if you are used to financially winging it every month, then I promise that giving every penny that enters your bank account a job is completely life-changing. You can find some great tips on non-scary ways to make a budget online.

Meanwhile, Clare Seal from My Frugal Year has loads of great tips on her Instagram on budgeting, tackling emotional spending, paying off debt, and more. Clare is also the author of the book Real Life Money: An Honest Guide to Taking Control of Your Finances* that is well worth borrowing from your local library.

9. Ignore the Avalanche of Adverts for Leisurewear and Edit Your Own Wardrobe.

Retailers are really pushing advertising for leisurewear as many office workers continue to work from home. I say ignore these adverts and make your existing wardrobe work for you.

Pull out all of your clothes from your wardrobe and put to the side the clothes that no longer fit you, that are uncomfortable to wear, or that you just don’t feel good wearing. Only add the clothes that make you feel good back into your wardrobe, so that every day you aren’t faced with reminders of poor purchasing decisions, or annoyance that the things you want to wear don’t fit you.

10. Have An Audit of Your Food Cupboards

You might be wondering why this is on a list of free self-care ideas, but the thing is I always feel on top of things when my food cupboards are organised. Take everything out, wipe down your cupboards, and compost anything that is well past its expiry date. If something is not long past it’s best before date, then it might be ok to eat – use your sense of smell and judge it on how it looks before deciding to eat it.

If there is anything unopened that you know you aren’t going to eat but is still within date, try offering it to someone through the Olio food-sharing app. Or, if it’s something that your local food bank is in need of (here is what goes into a typical food parcel) then do donate it there. Food banks are preparing for their busiest winter yet, so everything that you donate helps a family in need.

Next put everything that you are going to keep back in, putting the foods due to expire first at the front, so that you help avoid food waste.

11. Book Your Flu Jab

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you are eligible for a free flu vaccine but haven’t booked it yet, then just book your flu vaccine. With Covid-19 circulating at the same time as the flu, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated this year, so make this your free self-care priority.

12. Schedule Those Appointments

Similar to the flu jab, if you’ve been putting off a doctor’s appointment, or a dental check-up then book it now. Nothing makes you feel like you are on top of things than being on top of life admin.

13. Join Your Local Library

It’s free and local libraries are amazing places – giving you access to a whole host of books and services. Whilst you may not feel comfortable perusing the shelves at the moment, most libraries have their entire catalogue online, and offer a click and collect service.

Many libraries now also offer a huge selection of digital magazines in almost every genre. Access them on your phone, tablet, or PC, all at no charge, and cancel those pricey magazine subscriptions.

14. Re-read a Favourite Book

Resist the urge to buy yourself a new book. Instead, re-read one of your favourite books – one that makes you feel good every time you turn a page. The book I turn to again and again is this one* – the writing is nothing short of magic.

15. Swap Books With a Friend

Whilst restrictions mean we can’t meet up with friends and family as we would like, one way to stay close is to share books with a friend. Swap your favourite book with each other, have a read, and then get together over Zoom or over the phone and chat about them. Think of it as a mini book club.

16. Go Down a Youtube Tutorial Wormhole

Maybe you’re like me, and have some makeup items that you don’t really use, or know how to apply properly. Want to learn how to do eyeliner properly? I know I do – once I learn that I know I’ll feel like I have mastered life. Let’s do this!

17. Beat Boredom

We’ve spent a lot of time outdoors throughout the spring, summer, and autumn this year, but winter in Scotland is a different beast. Even with the right clothing, it’s not always conducive to being outdoors. With many indoor activities that we would normally do closed for now, planning free activities we can do indoors from home to keep boredom at bay is key.

Many museums and galleries are offering free online tours. Earlier in lockdown I discovered free online jigsaws, and free drawing tutorials on YouTube. We’ve watched free gigs online (this Talking Heads one is a classic). Here are some more ideas if none of these are up your street.

18. Ask For Help If You Need It

Finally, I think the single most important aspect in self-care is asking for help if you need it.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you might be able to ask your mortgage provider for a mortgage holiday, or you can ask your creditors for payment holidays or reduced interest rates. It is also worth checking if there are any benefits you may be eligible for.

If you are struggling mentally, and constantly feeling that you are wading through treacle, then scheduling an appointment with your doctor is really important.

What are your best free self-care ideas and tips? Do share in the comments below!