Food & Drink

Plastic free, sugar free mints – freshen up without compromise

Are you a dental floss addict? Or a self-crowned Queen/King of Mints? Do you always have a supply at the ready? You never know when you might need them, especially at work. Aside from being a quick fix for garlicky or stale breath when you’re in close range of co-workers and clients, mints are also nice to have as a mini-snack throughout the day.  

Chewing gum has its place too but, depending on what you do and who you’re with, it’s not always a great look. Especially if you work in a stuffy industry. Gum is terribly tricky to get rid of in a hurry. You know when you press it up to the roof of your mouth so you can speak vaguely eloquently? Or even worse, when there’s no other option but to swallow it!

It’s no secret that plastic is rife in mainstream mint and gum packaging. Those infamous single dispensing plastic boxes and metal tins covered in a plastic outer layer. And, of course, the basic tubes of mints and packs of gum all wrapped up tightly in plasticky foil. Yes, the P-word is just everywhere. AGAIN! Thankfully some producers have recently seen the light and change is starting to happen.

Mints

For good eco-friendly mints, I’ve swapped to Peppersmith. These come in handy little boxes made out of 100% FSC-approved card.  All protective outer plastic seals have been ditched. Hooray!

You might think sugar-free mints taste a bit soapy and artificial. I promise these aren’t like that. They come in three flavours:

  • English Peppermint
  • Sicilian Lemon
  • Extra Strong Eucalyptus

I like the last one the best but all of them are good. If you like a zingy mint, I think you’ll be impressed. The key ingredient in Peppersmith mints is xylitol derived from plants and tree bark so nothing toxic.

Peppersmith was founded by two former employees of Innocent about ten years ago. Its products are available in lots of mainstream shops such as Holland & Barrett and Waitrose as well as online from its website (with free UK delivery). Peppersmith also has a mint subscription service.  So if you eat a lot of mints and don’t want to get caught short, this might be worth a try.

Chewing gum

Did you know that chewing gum itself is often made of plastic? Polymers – the same as those in tyres. Shocking, isn’t it? If you’re interested in finding out more, check out this short article from BBC Science Focus magazine.

For a plastic-free (inside and out), plant-based alternative to mainstream brands, I like Chewsy. Chewsy was invented after its founder was getting headaches from chewing mainstream gum. Not surprising given the tyre-link, eh?

It’s made entirely from plant materials with no “plastic base” and comes in four flavours: Peppermint, Cinnamon, Spearmint and Lemon. Again, the key ingredient in xylitol.

As Chewsy gum is 100% biodegradable, it’s not going to harm the planet. Like Peppersmith products, Chewsy comes in a fully recyclable card box. It’s not as widely stocked in shops as Peppersmith but you can easily find it online if you’re keen to try it. 

A final word on xylitol

Both Peppersmith and Chewsy refer to xylitol being good for teeth as a further selling point. Peppersmith is particularly vocal about that on its website. I’ve not read anything to make me think the dental health claims aren’t valid so that’s another plus point here.

But to balance that out, you can potentially have too much of a good thing. In some people, excess xylitol can have a laxative effect.  This is definitely worth bearing in mind if you’ve not had xylitol-containing products before. I think you’d only have issues if you really went to town on the amount you were having. Like, entire packets every day – so please don’t let this put you off.

I hope you feel inspired to try these eco mint and gum options if you haven’t already. Please do comment below if you have or if you like any other greener options out there. 

Peppersmith mints from £1.38 for a single pack, available in many mainstream shops and also online. Chewsy gum, £1.39 for a single pack, available from online stockists such as www.peacewiththewild.co.uk

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