Cocofloss is branded to be ‘not your ordinary floss’ and I may have to agree. They offer floss refills, have innovative technology that can remove plaque like no other, participate in environmental funding, but still have a long way to go in terms of sustainability and ethics. Cocofloss partners with Wildlife Conservation Network to keep healthy habitats for humans and animals. This specific floss set includes a $2 donation to benefit the Global Penguin Society. I appreciate the effort Cocofloss makes in selling different themed sets to benefit some portion of the environment, but I do believe they could be doing more in terms of their materials. Compostable packaging has become increasingly popular so there is no doubt this is possible. When it comes to the actual floss, they could venture into experimenting with sustainable alternatives which would not only benefit them from a marketing stance, but simply the environment as well. They lack transparency in laying out specific details like who makes their product and how it’s made, which is important to note. Overall, Cocofloss has some wins in some areas while needs improvement in others.
The actual floss is made of polyester thread, which can be recyclable. Polyester is a synthetic material that is essentially a plastic, which means it is not biodegradable and was not produced in a natural way, often derived from petroleum. It is not recyclable because the floss is waxed with coconut oil, essential oils, and aromas. Their aromas are also made from synthetic and natural ingredients, making them not all natural. They are in compliance with European regulations on fragrance allergens and meet the International Fragrance Association Standards, but this is the bare minimum as this should already be an automatic requirement for all products. The floss container is plastic and made of polypropylene, which is recyclable in a recycling plant. Already, the actual product materials are very unsustainable as they are both made of plastic. However, floss is meant to be disposable which can’t really be worked around so trying to use an alternative material, like recycled nylon or polyester would have been a cool innovation to introduce in the industry and prevent any more new plastic from being made and wasted. Their boxed packaging is made of 100% recycled paper fibers, which can be recycled with other paper materials.
Cocofloss is Leaping Bunny certified, which is the most trusted cruelty free certification for non animal products. It ensures that Cocofloss does not participate in any procedures that test on animals throughout the product development, ingredient suppliers, or in laboratories. Cocofloss is also vegan because it does not use beeswax. An important thing about Cocofloss’ products is that it is PFAS free, which means the polyester fibers do not contain any PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances). This is major because exposure to PFAS from products like, nonstick pans, water resistant clothing, fast food packaging, and teflon based flosses (Glide) are linked to diseases. Although the levels of PFAS may be small, the accumulation of them in our bodies can be harmful since they do not biodegrade. I applaud Cocofloss for incorporating this element in their product as this not only protects the consumers’ health, but minimizing the amount of chemicals in a product automatically benefits the environment.
Nonetheless, Cocofloss provides no information as to how their product is actually made. This is concerning considering how they emphasize their floss is cruelty free, PFAS and toxin free, and vegan. If they care enough to ensure their product’s appearance is made to seem like they care about the wellbeing of animals and their consumers, I would like to see the same respect for their workers. Since the product is almost entirely made from plastics and synthetic materials, I assume they are produced in a plastic factory that uses fossil fuels. This is obviously not great, but I do have to acknowledge that we can’t really escape this as it is the industry norm for floss. Cocofloss does offer floss refills that come in compostable packaging to reduce single use plastics (being the floss container), so that’s a bonus. Floss is meant to be made out of a sturdy material and needs to be disposable in order to maintain proper hygiene. I just believe there could be alternatives that can be tested to make it at least slightly more sustainable (like trying recycled materials for the floss and at least a compostable container), which Cocofloss does not attempt to do. Realistically, they probably could when they have already ventured into being a more ‘eco-friendly’ and safe alternative to regular floss. Although Cocofloss is beginning the path of being more sustainable with their materials, they lack the transparency of telling their consumers specific information that is needed to make an informed environmentally conscious purchase.
Cocofloss discloses their floss is made at an Italian family owned factory. They share a story as to how the owners met and run the company with their adult children, but that’s all there is. They do not include any worker standards, their working conditions, or whether they are being paid a livable wage. Being in Italy is supposed to indicate that they have the highest quality and safe ingredients, but if there is no specific details being disclosed as to how they measure something as ‘high quality’ or as to what standards the ingredients are ‘safe’, I personally find it meaningless.