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What Happens to Toothpaste Tubes? Forget it - Homemade Toothpaste Wins!

I’ve been wondering for years what happens to the tube of toothpaste after I’ve squeezed the very last drop from it. I know a glass bottle can be recycled, but that thing? What is it even made of? I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about it lately, as I scan my bathroom for opportunities to reduce waste. When I looked up Recycling Mysteries on Earth911 I found a long my-eyes-glaze-over article about how to prepare (!) the tubes for potential recycling IF there is a recycling facility near you which you will need to research and find…

Nuh-uh. I have neither the time nor the patience for it. But of all the packaging absurdities that drive me nuts, for some reason toothpaste tubes are the worst. I think it’s because I’ve never seen a good alternative from even the ‘good’ companies. So what’s going to be the best option on my slow creep towards a zero-waste lifestyle again? Make My Own!

That way, I know exactly what ingredients go in, I can reuse and reuse the container, and I am free of cumbersome and time-wasting recycling efforts!

It took a little doing, I admit, to find something that I would enjoy putting in my mouth. Because if you must know, you could very simply dip your brush in hydrogen peroxide, then baking soda, and voila, brush your teeth and nothing more to be said.

Yet...I mean...brushing teeth happens quite often in my life. So I would prefer to have something a little more pleasant. I tried a pure coconut oil and baking soda recipe, with a few drops of peppermint. That wasn’t too bad and lasted a while. But it didn’t mix very well and felt a bit gritty.

Oh, did I mention your family could probably brush teeth for an entire year for the cost of a couple commercial toothpaste tubes?

Meanwhile after a little more exploring, I came across this Instructables Homemade Toothpaste recipe. The *secret* ingredient here that made a big difference is the vegetable based glycerin. This is what gives the nice consistency and adds a little sweetness.

Finally, you can add any flavoring! Get the food grade flavor oil you like - some odd taste buds might choose cinnamon; kids might like strawberry or bubble-gum (is that a natural flavor?!) I’m a traditionalist and stick to peppermint, and I’m liberal with it.

Now for the recipe and method:

  • using a measuring spoon or cup, just apply the following ratio:

  • 6 parts baking soda : 1 part vegetable based glycerin : 1 part hydrogen peroxide solution

  • flavor to taste

  • Mix into a paste. (Play with the soda amount to get to a smoother mix you like)

  • Instructables suggested using a pastry bag to store, but I object to it due to the plastic single use nature of those. Better to opt for a jar.

That’s it! I’m done adding toothpaste tubes to landfills!

For some reason, that makes me happy--I feel like I’ve won some kind of battle. It’s the little things...

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