Pärla – protecting teeth and protecting the environment
Dr Simon Chard, Dr Rhona Eskander and Dr Adarsh Thanki have created an eco-friendly solution to the plastic crisis of toothpaste tubes.
After being long-time ambassadors for some of the biggest global toothpaste brands, they felt it was time to make a change.
‘As dentists, we believe toothpaste should first and foremost protect people’s smiles but not harm people, animals or our planet in the process. That’s why we created Pärla – to radically disrupt the toothpaste industry with clean, effective ingredients and sustainable packaging’ – Simon, Rhona and Adarsh, Pärla founders.
The three founder dentists are friends who came together on Pärla with a unified passion for dentistry, the planet and climate change.
After being made aware of the devastating impact of single-use plastic on the ocean, they wanted to do something to reduce the plastic and environmental impact in dentistry. This lead them onto toothpaste tubes.
Alarmingly, it’s currently estimated that around 1.5 billion tubes go into landfill or the ocean each year. Further to this they found that most toothpaste tubes are single use and made of non-recyclable plastic. Each tube takes around 500 years to decompose.
Protecting your teeth and the environment
That means that almost every tube ever made still exists somewhere on our planet. Armed with these facts, they went on a journey to create something different – to create Pärla toothpaste tabs.
Their core message is ‘designed by dentists to be good for you and the planet’. Their aim was to create and package a product sustainably and include clean ingredients. But most importantly make it effective in protecting teeth from dental disease.
They had seen many other ‘stylish’ and ‘eco-friendly’ toothpastes popping up. They were good for the environment and looked great on the bathroom shelf. However, they were all lacking vital ingredients, especially fluoride.
Although an unpopular decision with many – due to fluoride’s bad press – the founders knew fluoride had to be in the tabs to reduce decay risk for these customers.
Reusable and sustainable
The founders also wanted the toothpaste to have ingredients that were ethically sourced, as natural as possible and free of any unnecessary preservatives/stabilisers. For this reason, they worked hard to ensure the ingredients were SLS free, palm oil free, gluten free, vegan and animal cruelty free.
Pärla are unique in the toothpaste industry. They are completely plastic free in all their packaging from start to finish. This lead them to making toothpaste tablets; dehydrated toothpaste in a tablet form that meant they could do away with the single-use tube all together!
The aim was to go one step further than just being recyclable and be reusable. The reason for this is we know recycling a toothpaste tube is difficult. Even with recyclable tubes the tip has to be cut off and the tube rinsed out of any excess. Only then can it be recycled.
This means that a lot of people will not bother with the process. Therefore leading to more waste going into landfill.
Chew and hydrate
The dehydrated toothpaste tabs are made in the UK. They come in a reusable glass jar with an aluminium lid, with refills in plant-based compostable bags.
To use the tabs simply chew a Pärla tab for five seconds, hydrate the brush and then brush as normal. The tabs will breakdown and once activated by the brushing, will convert to a paste in your mouth.
It is available to purchase in single-month jars (62 tabs) at £6.95 from www.parlatoothpastetabs.com. Alternatively, they can be bought from dental practices or hygienists in practice and from retailers.
The most wallet friendly and eco-friendly solution though is through a subscription online. Refills arrive through the letterbox, which can simply be poured from the bag into the reusable jar.
Resonates with clinicians
With the majority of the public making their toothpaste purchasing decision after receiving advice from their dentist or hygienist/therapist, having the profession on board was very important. Dr Simon says: ‘We have been so amazed and grateful for the positive response from the profession worldwide so far.
‘We have had dentists and hygienists buy Pärla for their clinics from all corners of the globe; from South Africa to Trinidad and Tobago. It makes us incredibly proud that it really resonates with our fellow clinicians and they want to share the mission with their patients.’
The Pärla team feel they are the toothpaste brand for the next generation of dentists. They have focused heavily on communication on social media as well as building strong relationships with the student community.
‘We know if enough people can make #onesmallchange away from a plastic toothpaste tube, then we can make a massive difference to the planet. This is our mission. It’s been an incredible journey with Pärla so far and we cant wait to see where it takes us!’
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