People can’t seem to agree on anything these days. However, there’s seems to be critical mass in declaring plastic pollution a negative force in the biosphere. The question that divides us is how to go about solving the issue. Our theory is to “buy as if nothing gets recycled” by opting for products like Bite Toothpaste.
Direct-to-consumer companies like Bite and Tru Earth are making it a bit easier to remove plastic from our daily routines. I purchased a bottle of Bite Toothpaste Bits to see 1) how well the product works and 2) if Bite delivers on its Earth-friendly claims.
Does Bite Toothpaste work?
Bite toothpaste comes in little pills called “bits” packaged in resuable/recyclable glass bottles. The instructions printed on the bottle are as follows:
Place one (1) bit in your mouth, bite down, brush with a wet toothbrush – twice a day, every day.
So, that’s what I did. The bit crushed easily between my teeth and mixed with my saliva and wet toothbrush to create a thin paste. Within moments I was brushing as usual. I didn’t have a big, silly grin on my face like the folks on Bite’s website; but I wasn’t frowning or gagging either. As mentioned, the paste was a little thinner than most, so if anything I was focused on making sure I didn’t drool any on my shirt.
Bite currently has four flavors: Fresh Mint, Activated Charcoal, Berry Twist and Autumn Spice. I purchased the Fresh Mint flavor, which tastes somewhere between the blandness of Tom’s of Maine Botanically Bright Spearmint and the “I want to swallow this it tastes so good” of Crest, Colgate and other big brands. It has a mild, pleasant mint kick that shouldn’t scare anyone away. In terms of abrasivity, Bite Mint and Charcoal score 43 and 24, respectively, on an RDA (radioactive dentin abrasion) scale of 0-250. Both flavors are in the lowest abrasion category.
For both of our sakes, I’m going to spare the before/after pictures of my teeth and mouth. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. My teeth felt clean and slippery, and my wife didn’t leave me when I “hawwwwed” in her face afterward.
Pros and cons
The one noticeable drawback is that Bite products do not contain fluoride, which is largely considered beneficial by the dental community. However, Bite seems well aware and claims to be working on a formula with fluoride.
One benefit that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere is that I won’t have to play the “squeeze every last drop of paste out of the tube” game with this product. Sometime later this month I’ll realize I only have a few bits left and order more.
A single order of 62 bits cost $16.71 ($12 for the product, $3.94 shipping and $1.78 for Uncle Sam). That boils down to 27 cents per bit, which is pretty expensive. However, a $30 four-month supply (248 bits) with free no-rush shipping boils down to 12 cents per bit. *Note: This option triggers an automatic subscription which can be cancelled any time.*
Is Bite Toothpaste Earth-friendly?
Bite checks more than a few Earth-friendly boxes, positioning itself as a zero-waste toothpaste option. Its formula boasts “100% gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free” ingredients, which are easily found on Bite’s website.
Bite really shines in terms of packaging and shipping. When they say plastic-free, they mean it. The bits are shipped in glass bottles with aluminum lids that can be recycled or reused. Refill orders are sent in home-compostable pouches. Smaller items are shipped in recyclable/compostable “kraft envelopes padded with post-consumer newspapers,” although you’ll have to peel the shipping label off before composting.
Even the cardboard boxes used for larger orders are sealed with paper tape instead of plastic.
Kudos for no-rush shipping
Now, for my favorite part. Bite minimizes its shipping emissions by refusing to offer rush shipping or setting up shop on Amazon! Instead, CEO and founder Lindsay McCormick did some research and realized that rush shipping sucks the Earth-friendliness out of online shopping. The video below explains this point very clearly. With that in mind, Bite relies largely on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver its products in fully packed trucks that are already headed toward its customers’ homes.
Imagine that, a CEO sacrificing speed of delivery for Earth-friendliness. McCormick readily admits that her products will take a little longer to arrive, but feels its worth reducing company’s carbon footprint. In my opinion, that’s evidence that Bite was born out of genuine environmental concerns and is therefore worth supporting, even if it costs a little extra.
And for the record, I ordered my package on December 17 and it arrived on December 24. In those seven days, Bite emailed me tips for managing my crippling pill-form-toothpaste withdrawals while my teeth rotted out of my face.
No! I used my current toothpaste for seven days and the world kept spinning – no big deal. Here’s a video explaining the carbon cost of rush shipping.
Feature photo by Sam Wigness.