Hatch Communication
Earthly Toothpaste Tablets: A breath of fresh air!

Young entrepreneur sets out to revolutionise how South Africans care for their teeth and the environment

We’ve all heard of companies that want to make a difference. What’s unusual is
a company that wants to make a difference for everyone. A company producing something in South Africa that makes social and environmental change possible for the mainstream market, but also makes it both easy and affordable for the everyday person to make more environmentally-friendly choices about the products they buy.

What’s even more unusual is a company that does so, but continues giving back while retaining their values and integrity at every level of their business. Which is exactly what Earthly Co., South Africa’s first producer of toothpaste tablets, is doing. And it’s all thanks to their 28-year-old founder and CEO, Daniël van Zyl.

Toothpaste tablets? Yes. Let’s reverse a little.

Earthly’s Toothpaste Tablets are a toothpaste formula made without water that’s been pressed into a tablet-like form. To use them, pop a tablet into your mouth and bite down, letting your saliva help break it down into a paste. Then brush using a toothbrush. That’s it!

Daniël, a mechanical engineer graduate from the University of Stellenbosch with a head for problem solving and business, was looking for a new business idea. But not just any business. It had to be something that could change the way the world operates, and that would fix a lot of the wrongs he was seeing and reading about every day. That’s when he stumbled upon toothpaste tablets. And once he found it, he couldn’t get it out of his mind.


The harsh realities of regular toothpaste – a household staple most people don’t even think twice about – astonished Daniël. For example, he discovered that regular toothpaste consists of up to 40% water. In a world where water is a finite resource and where most underprivileged communities don’t even have access to clean water, that didn’t sit right with him.

Amongst other ingredients, traditional toothpaste contains glycerine and colourants that are harmful to sealife when they end up in the ocean. Packaged in plastic tubes, it is estimated that tens of millions of toothpaste tubes end up in South Africa’s landfills and oceans every month. For the most part, South Africa’s toothpaste is imported, which also means that hardly anyone is reaping the benefit of being trained, skilled or employed to make or create oral hygiene products in an industry worth almost R4.4 billion annually.

The average basket size of a lower income family in South Africa is R45 per week – and that does not include toothpaste. According to the World Health Organisation it is estimated that approximately 400 million people in Africa suffered from some form of oral disease in 2017*. Gum disease has adverse effects on quality of life, and in extreme cases causing malnourishment in children – not because they don’t have food, but because their gums are in too much pain to eat.

In a world where a dire environmental situation is pressing down on us, where most products are aimed at the top 1% of consumers, and where children go to bed hungry and don’t have access to quality dental care or hygiene, this soft-spoken, idealistic millennial couldn’t look the other way.

When Daniël discovered the toothpaste tablets abroad, he was so interested and excited about its potential in South Africa and initially tried to import them. But it turned out the company that manufactured them had no plans to distribute to Africa.

Not deterred by the setback, he decided to put on his engineering hat and develop a proudly South African version of the toothpaste tablet using mainly locally sourced ingredients.
To save costs he moved back into his mom’s house and started with a manual tablet press in his room. The tablets then overflowed into the living room and once the boxes reached the ceiling he was forced into the garage. It was only after his mom’s car moved from the driveway to the street that she put her foot down. “I think she was just hoping that my ambition wouldn’t blow up in my face,” he says, chuckling.

Today, Daniël heads up Earthly Co. and his business is ready to roll Earthly Toothpaste Tablets out into the mainstream market in a way that few products do.

In addition to being a water-free formula and containing no ingredients that can be harmful to the environment, this is what you must know about Earthly Toothpaste Tablets:

  • Plastic-free, zero-waste and eco-friendly, these toothpaste tablets are the sustainableoral care solution you’ve been looking for. The packaging is 100% reusable andrecyclable in perpetuity as it contains only glass, aluminium and paper.
  • They deliver the same oral health benefits as traditional toothpastes found in tubes, butwithout messing with Mother Earth.
  • The product is 100% manufactured in South Africa. Even the charcoal in the CharcoalWhitening range is made from crushed macadamia shells that is a local by-product, instead of palm oil leaves, which is the main source for the charcoal in other toothpaste brands.
  • You know exactly how long your toothpaste tablets will last. Each bottle contains exactly 45 days’ worth of brushing twice a day. Your traditional toothpaste tube lasts on average 28 days.
  • The product is fully certified by South Africa’s National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS). Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means, just know that most other toothpastes in South Africa are not.

For every bottle sold Earthly Co. donates R2,00 to the 500kperday initiative (which is enough for one meal package) as well as a toothpaste tablet. Run by Outside the Bowl Africa (a non-profit producing highly nutritious meals that provide 85% of required daily nutrition as certified and endorsed by the World Food Bank) the 500kperday initiative aims to provide meals to 500 000 kids each and every day.

“Dental healthcare should be a basic right, not a privilege,” says Dan, as his colleagues affectionately call him. “We’re totally committed to ensuring that especially the children of our continent can have access to that. And if we can play a role in helping consumers make better choices to minimise their impact on the environment, then we’ve succeeded. Ultimately we want to revolutionise how people use and perceive toothpaste… and we’re going to do that one pea-sized bite at a time.”

Earthly Toothpaste Tablets are available in five ranges:

  1. All Round Protection in Cool Mint
  2. Herbal Protection in Fresh Mint
  3. Kids All Round Protection in Strawberry
  4. Charcoal Whitening in Cool Mint
  5. Sensitivity Prevention in Fresh Mint

Earthly Toothpaste Tablets will be available online and in a store near you soon.


Faithful to Nature