I have rather weak teeth, so for me, flossing is absolutely important otherwise I get caries all over. But I know that most dental floss brands use materials that are not eco friendly. Dental floss is small plastic, which can easily end up in the ocean, harming the marine life. However, finding dental floss brand that doesn’t harm the environment isn’t easy.
Where I live, the environment-friendly material is rare, and my gums only takes soft, easy-glide strings. If you’re like me, then maybe these brands below can be your alternatives.
This brand is a dental-floss-with-a-stick type. It’s refillable, and the prongs have a purpose to keep the tension of the string. That’ll reduce the effort we usually make using fingers, so our flossing time will be more efficient and quicker.
With this, you probably won’t need to sigh when it’s time to floss, because cleaning the sides of your teeth won’t take much of your time anymore.
Now, the stick itself is not there just for aesthetics. Since Phloss is refillable, there’s a waste management system inside the stick. It’s specifically there for the compostable floss strings.
Charlie Boyle the designer said, “These refills are delivered to people using a subscription service, the used floss refills can be sent back to the manufacturer for industrial composting, utilizing waste material and following a circular economy.”
Dental products often have a short life span, and Boyle wants to tackle that through Phloss. Boylen had conducted research, diving into factors like user experience, sustainability, cost, and effectiveness of current floss alternatives.
Once Boyle had done with the research, he took the best parts of those existing alternatives to create Phloss. Then he created several prototypes before finalizing his design, which has an ergonomic build, good grip, and clean aesthetics.
The main aim from Phloss is making flossing more desirable and accessible while being green. Boyle’s design gives manufacturers valuable compost for a range of agricultural applications.
Furthermore, Boyle’s designed Phloss for mass manufacturing, making it easier for people who want to get eco-friendly alternative immediately. Phloss packaging aims to be eco-friendly too, with fully recyclable cardboard tube. At the same time, the refills will arrive in compostable envelopes.
Jessica Smith, MID ’20, is one of the International Top 20 in the @jamesdysonaward for Carbyn, a compostable and carbon-negative biocomposite that can replace traditional petroleum plastics. See this and more at the Pratt Daily Hub! https://t.co/xI3N8WYhOm #SustainableDesign pic.twitter.com/njEq8Z7ldD
— Pratt Institute (@PrattInstitute) January 14, 2021
Before I continue, let me tell you that this one’s more to the material itself rather than the whole flosser. But, the prototype of this design was a floss pick (floss stick).
Carbyn, Jessica Smith’s creation, is a type of bioplastic. It’s home compostable and meant to be the alternative of small plastic objects, like a floss pick.
The main difference of Carbyn and other bioplastics is that it uses carbon negative biocomposite. Meaning, it stores more carbon than it releases throughout its lifecycle.
There are two bio-based materials for the biocomposite: biochar and PHA plastic. Biochar is the one that’s carbon negative. It’s basically biomass that usually comes from local agricultural waste like wood chips or rice husk.
Then, Smith heats it in the absence of oxygen to produce usable energy and biochar. When there’s no available oxygen to form CO2 through combustion, the carbon remains in the stable biochar material.
Meanwhile, PHA is a bioplastic made by bacteria via fermentation. What’s special about PHA is that it’s home compostable and easily formed using existing plastic processing methods.
When Smith combined the two materials, she created a carbon-storing biocomposite. But that doesn’t end there, Smith can produce Carbyn using conventional maunfacturing processes. And if you want to compost it, it can make the soil more fertile as it biodegrades.
According to Smith, a lot of biomaterials that incorporate organic and agricultural waste still have usable energy within their chemical bonds. Biochar, on the other hand, can take it a step further by making those biomass materials carbon negative.
“We are in a climate crisis which requires us to do more than just lower our carbon footprint — we have to actively reverse it. Through the use of carbon negative materials such as Carbyn we can make that happen,” Smith stated.
Making Carbyn conventional
Carbyn is unique because it can be a drop-in replacement for current plastic production processes. It doesn’t need retrofits or development of any new technology/machinery. Smith hopes that her creation can be a bridge towards a more localized and regenerative forms of material production.
That said, Carbyn is still within a prototype scale. Smith stated that trying to make lasting partnership with biochar and PHA producing companies are the next steps to take. In order to make this a replacement for current plastic, surely there’s the need to develop a scalable manufacturing plan.
Smith also stated that there would be a plan to look for appropriate funding, make a resilient business plan, ensure full legal protection, and pursue standardized certification.
As for inspiration, Smith said that she wanted to develop a regenerative design that doesn’t just reduce or lessen harm. She wanted to make an object or system alternative that leaves the environment in a better state.
“As an industrial designer, I was also grappling with how the scale of mass production can often outweigh the gains made by environmental initiatives.
“I realized that if we can build materials and products which are carbon negative, we could use the power of scale to our advantage in sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide as quickly as possible,” Smith said.
I think if you’ve got weaker gums like me, you’ll like this floss—because of its luxury and its functionality. By Humankind floss is made in Italy from high-quality silk, infused with vegan wax for easy gliding. It also has jojoba oil to soothe and moisturize your gums.
Why silk you ask? No, it’s not just for the luxury appeal. Each refill spool (43.7 yards of silk floss) is biodegradable. Then, the container is made from durable glass, protected with a silicone top. And as you can tell, it’s refillable.
If you worry about the material of the spool and shipping packaging, don’t. It’s sugarcane-based bioplastic spool, and the brand ships the flosser in compostable pouch (kraft paper with sugar-based lining).
According to the brand, the floss and kraft pouch are compostable. In the website, it says that industrial composting would be better, but we can compost them from our homes too. It also says that the spool should be recycled, though it doesn’t state how.
Regardless, we can maintain teeth & gum health while eliminating single-use plastic. Specifically, each refill eliminates 0.89oz of single-use plastic waste.
Additionally, this product is, per the brand, 100% carbon neutral. By Humankind offsets 100% of our carbon footprint (including your order) by investing in strategic forest preservation projects.
By Humankind doesn’t want to be boring with the floss as well, so it adds flavors. And don’t you worry, the flavors are 100% essential oils. And, here’s the cherry on the cake: the website says that free shipping is always available.
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