If you are looking to reduce your plastic use or are working towards a plastic-free household then it is time to take a look at your toothbrush. If you have not given it a lot of thought then maybe I can encourage you to do so.
Your next choice of toothbrush should be a plastic-free toothbrush.
We buy a lot of toothbrushes and they never leave the planet.
Your dentist will have recommended that you change your toothbrush every 3 months. So four times a year you and your household are disposing of something that will never decompose and is not recycled.
Like me, and many, you may have extended your old plastic toothbrush’s life and re-purposed it for a frantic grout or around the tap cleaning spree. You may have used them to dye your hair and for crafting. Whatever you do to re-purpose your plastic toothbrush as a new tool you cannot keep all your old toothbrushes forever so it is going to have to be disposed of. Then your plastic toothbrush starts to be part of the plastic problem and that is why it is time to start making your choice on a new plastic-free toothbrush.
Until recently there was no way of recycling your toothbrush waste. I’d also like to remind you of the plastic packaging each of your plastic toothbrushes would have been sealed in. Product packaging is one of the biggest contributors to our waste epidemic. The only one I have heard of so far is where TerraCycle® and Colgate® have partnered to create a free recycling programme for all oral care products and packaging. Go here to investigate your nearest location or set one up for your community (You can change the country you are in if you are not in the UK). I have a discussion on that topic here. Plastic Toothbrush – now you can recycle it.
Your plastic toothbrush could end up somewhere foul.
No time for puns I edited fowl and foul several times. The thing is you may find your self overwhelmed with pictures of old toothbrushes and other plastic waste inside birds or of plastic toothbrushes being used as nesting material. If you want to remind yourself in the harshest way then this site is compiling and will continue to list some of the hard-hitting facts. See here for Plastic Facts. However, right now I don’t want to dwell on those issues but I do want to offer this simple fact.
Once the tool that used to keep your smile bright leaves your house it becomes a never ending addition to plastic pollution and that is not something to smile about. – Kay Patterson – noplasticbathroom.com
Why would I buy four toothbrushes?
At the moment it is hard to get hold of plastic-free toothbrushes so you may well be buying them online by necessity rather than just convenience. So be kind and get your full year supply in one delivery. Remember your dentist recommends you change your toothbrush every 3 months. For a rundown of your options for plastic-free toothbrush please see this article.
I wouldn’t be stockpiling them beyond that though as they are developing and improving. Don’t forget to keep repurposing your new old toothbrushes – they will still be good for eyebrows, cleaning and crafting and with bamboo yon may even be able to add in a bit of whittling.
The difference in a plastic-free toothbrush.
I wish I could be flippant and say the main difference is that it lacks the plastic! But I can’t! If you haven’t already I would suggest you read my article on greenwashing – What is greenwashing? – How to be a savvy green shopper – as there are several degrees of that occurring with bamboo toothbrushes in regards to some of the bristles and perhaps even the packaging.
At the moment there are degrees of none plastic toothbrushes with mainly the handle that can be considered biodegradable. There are issues with bristles and it is complicated. I will be creating a series of articles tagged Toothbrush Bristle check those out.
CALL TO ACTION – plastic-free toothbrush
It’s time to wade in and make a difference even if the choices are not perfect yet. This means you will influence the change needed to slow plastic pollution and that’s good.
You can help to drive the development of a truly good plastic-free toothbrush. So buy them, test them and feedback to the makers. You can even do it while you still have some plastic ones lurking in your bathroom cupboard.
Don’t forget when you make changes to your shopping habits to tell your old favourite company why you are doing so. Tell your normal supplier of plastic toothbrushes that it’s time they put some work into keeping you as a customer and they need not be part of our global problem.
In the meantime, if there is no toothbrush drop off point near you. Are you able to get involved to arrange one? TerraCycle® and Colgate® have partnered to create a free recycling programme for all oral care products and packaging. Go here to see.
Keep on smiling and try to make a difference.