Thanks so much for looking into this important point.
Yes, our floss is a woven-style polyester string made from recycled plastic water bottles. We align with your preference to not use plastics. This was a tough decision for us, and we didn’t take it lightly.
In the end, we chose to go with a plastic solution that is reusing plastic from the water bottle waste stream. We found that the only natural floss that’s truly compostable is silk, and the silk floss options that we found were VERY thin, which doesn’t appeal to us at this time. For our first floss, we wanted one that was a little thicker and that had a special woven design that helps remove 44% more plaque than regular floss. Currently, to the best of our awareness, in order to have that woven design, the only option is for the floss to be plastic.
So, while we would prefer to not use plastic, we’re proud that Awesome Floss is repurposing plastic out of the waste stream and no new plastics are being produced for it. In our value system, we still consider this heading in the right direction (even if it’s not our ultimate ideal scenario).
At some point in the future, we do hope to be able to offer an additional floss option with string that’s made from natural materials. (As an aside, it would also be super cool if we eventually found a way to revamp our original Awesome Floss to maintain the woven design and use a more natural material for the string.* Anyone up for flossing their teeth with a woven hemp floss?)
In the meantime, some folks have expressed concern about plastic flosses (in general) shedding into micro-plastic particles. While we haven’t done any studies on this ourselves, we did do some digging to see what we could learn about this. Like many subjects, there’s a lot of ‘fluff’ about this on the Internet, and most of the information that we found was talking about polyester or other plastic-containing clothing fabrics. But, we found something helpful in a study titled, Quantifying shedding of synthetic fibers from textiles; a source of microplastics released into the environment. It explains that twisted yarn sheds the least. Our floss is a twisted thread, and it’s also coated (lightly) with a wax. Our guess is that those two factors might help limit the risk of it shedding.
However, like so much, we know that choosing whether or not to use plastic floss still may not be an easy decision to make. Navigating this modern environment with all of the toxins our systems have to deal with is not for the weak. 🙂 It’s really a value judgment that each of us has to make on an ongoing basis. Subjects like this, among SO many others involving diet, clothing, hygiene products, home chemicals, furniture—the list is very long—are part of navigating this interesting time.
Ultimately, all we can do as individuals is personally weigh the perceived risks against the perceived benefits and make a judgment call. For us, before we launched this product, we were already using different brands of plastic floss. We feel that because Awesome Floss cleans so much better between teeth, because it contains no toxic coatings, and because it’s helping to upcycle post-consumer plastic bottles, it’s a net win and worth our while to use it. And hopefully one day we’ll have a different solution in place so we can keep the same benefits but make it plastic-free. (*NOTE: if you have any leads that might help us achieve this goal, please contact us to let us know about them!)
Having said all of that, we understand if you do your own risk/benefit analysis and choose to not try Awesome Floss. We totally get it because, again, it was a difficult decision for us as well (but we will add that now that we’ve been using it, Awesome Floss has turned out to be our ‘go-to’ floss thanks to how well it works). In the end, whatever you choose, we respect your choice to live in alignment with your values.