Can You Recycle Dental Floss??

Monday, April 02, 2012



I messed up once during the week I pledged to go waste free. I tossed my dental floss in the garbage can and it wasn’t until I was walking around campus with a container of orange peels to compost that I realized I hadn’t even thought if that floss was recyclable.

After a quick investigation online I found out that floss is not recyclable, which makes sense since mine seems like minty-scented nylon. Turns out, lots of big-name floss actually contains polytetrafluoroethylene, the same stuff that coats non-stick cookware, and its production is pretty bad for the environment. Who knew? A friend of mine suggested using hair, but I really don’t think I’m up for that just yet. The internet did, however, abound with suggestions on what to do with my used dental floss. People wash it (the best method apparently is to soak it in a container with soap), and then they reuse it. Either as reusable dental floss or to wrap packages, to tie plants in their garden, slice delicate food, sew buttons, hang decorations...people are creative! I guess I’ll have to look in to these options...

There’s a big compost bin in my back yard and with blue, black, and green bins at home, I found my waste-free week pretty easy! The only real change I made for the week was to not bring any processed/individually wrapped snacks to school – this meant a liiiiittle bit more prep work at home, but overall resulted in healthier snacking and no waste, so everyone wins. I guess my next step is to look for eco-friendly tooth floss!


By the way, some suggestions form the office of campus sustainability include:

  • compostable floss picks (here)
  • compostable floss (here)
  • THIS toothbrush stick (here)
~katie, guest blogger
photo credit - jonathan rausseo


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