Photo/Illutration A paper sheet to keep teeth clean, which has been made available for hotel operators, should be inserted into a toothbrush. (Provided by Howa Corp.)

NAGOYA--Restaurant designer Howa Corp. is on a mission to help people go green after developing a paper material here that can be used instead of toothpaste in a tube.

The company started accepting orders in April for its plastic-reducing teeth cleaner for use as a hotel amenity. The product is expected to be delivered to establishments in Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures.

Accommodation facility operators are showing interest in the substitute for toothpaste tubes after a law took effect April 1 urging businesses to reduce disposable plastics they use.

Howa developed a paper-based item for brushing teeth using technology from a medical agent maker. The brainchild of Howa uses 98 percent less plastic than toothpaste in tubes.

Measuring 16 millimeters by 23 mm, the thin strip is designed to be inserted into a toothbrush. It reacts to saliva and foam, then users brush their teeth as usual. 

Rinsing out one's mouth is enough to finish brushing since the sheet dissolves in the mouth.

Howa developed a toothbrush two years ago fashioned from bamboo, with its sales topping 1 million units. Representatives of Howa said combining the paper cleaner with the brush will help further reduce the volume of plastic waste.

The paper strip will be available for individual consumers as well. Howa anticipates putting it on sale from May 11 at 10 outlets of Sugi Pharmacy in Aichi Prefecture and the Kansai region in western Japan.