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What does circular mean in the oral healthcare industry?

August 17, 2020

Manufacturing more durable products that can be repaired and easily recycled is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st Century. And this is no different for the oral healthcare industry.

An appropriate design and business model can help to reduce a product’s environmental impact in all stages of its life: from extraction of the raw materials, transportation, manufacturing, distribution and use until the end of its utility when it is discarded.

Raw materials

There are two circular applications that can be applied to the oral healthcare industry. The first consists of using natural raw materials instead of materials made from oil. For example:

  • Producing biopolymers from sugarcane rather than petroleum
  • Limiting use of plastic where feasible, for example dental floss in glass jars rather than plastic tubes
  • Use of stainless steel impression trays, prophy cups, and suction tips
  • Using biodegradable bags as barriers instead of plastic. These bags are made from natural materials such as vegetable starches which break down in the environment easier than plastics


The second application is geared toward a recycling-focused business model, or one that needs to use less material without decreasing functionality. For instance:

  • In clinics, carrying out appropriate waste segregation to ensure uncontaminated plastic doesn’t go into the clinical waste stream
  • Sending used products to specialist recycling facilities to be correctly broken down and turned into new products
  • Educating consumers. Almost 90 percent of people claim to regularly recycle in the kitchen, buthalf of us say we simply throw our bathroom waste straight in the bin.

Shampoo and shower gel bottles are easy to recycle, but smaller items like toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes contain a complex mix of materials that makes this far harder. At Floe, our circular model prioritises sustainable practices and minimising wastage. By subscribing, you can make this positive change at no added cost or inconvenience.

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