Leave No Trace is, and should always be, a high priority to anyone who considers themselves a true outdoors-man. Just recently, a steely eyed reader brought up the question; Is toothpaste really Leave No Trace? Or should we all abandon our teeth for the call of the wild. Well, I decided to look into it.
According the the good ol’ folks at LNT.org, it certainly is. At least in small doses and under the correct circumstances.
Introducing, the “Eco Spray”: It’s a technique that minimizes the impact of toothpaste on the environment. Now, stay with me here. I’m going to walk you through a breakdown, and It’s complicated.
First, use very little toothpaste when brushing. A pea sized amount should be plenty.
Next, make sure you’re away from trails, camp, and water sources. Picking a nice dirt spot where nothing is growing is a good bet.
Now, go ahead and brush those teeth.
Now, here is the tricky part. Build up a fiery energy from deep within, level up, and spew that toothpaste saliva goulash as far and wide as you can. That’s right, let it rip. Like an angry cobra taking on a herd of honey badgers, eject a wide spray of minty freshness. That’s it. O.K. Perhaps not that complicated, but it works.
The idea here is that spreading the toothpaste into a light spray into the wilderness will minimize the impact to a LNT friendly level by the simple concept of dilution. Evenly dispersing the toothpaste, especially in such small amounts, will bring the concentration down to a level that will have, realistically, no affect on the environment at all. Thankfully, many of the ingredients are already found in nature in one form or another. The only thing you should avoid would be a toothpaste with “beads” or “scrubbers” in them, which are actually tiny beads of plastic that will not break down. This is true for soaps and such and shampoos as well.
For more information and a nice tutorial video, check out LNT.org below.