For many years, plastic toothbrushes have been used and the main focus was on how to brush the teeth, for how long or which technique to use.  We were always led to try new toothbrushes in order to improve our oral health. Since the 70´s, endless toothbrush designs appeared, with different colours, sizes, handle shapes and bristle designs[1] to help us to clean the teeth even better.

When did Toothbrushes appear?

Brushing the teeth is not a modern habit. Ancient Egyptians, aprox. 3000 B.C. used to make toothbrushes from twigs and leaves.[1] By the 15th century, the had Chinese designed a toothbrush with a handle made from bone or bamboo and hair pig bristles[2].  Nowadays, there is at least one brand that sells toothbrushes with hair pig bristles but it is considered by many as controversial.

Toothbrush design was more sustainable and eco-friendly back then. Nowadays, every year, billions of non-biodegradable plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills and the oceans.

Want to know more about the impact of plastic? More info can be found in another blog post here.

Is recycling plastic toothbrushes an option?

In a society so attached to plastic and toxic materials, you have the right to choose better solutions. Unfortunately recycling plastic toothbrushes is not the answer as toothbrushes are “one of the most complicated items”[3] for recycling because of the different components they are made of. Nylon bristles, plastic handle & metal staples (that holds the bristles in place). Each component needs to be separated before recycling[3].

What is the alternative?

3 years ago, I started to use an alternative toothbrush, more sustainable, with a bamboo handle. I couldn´t be happier about it!

Brushwithbambuu Impact of Plastic Toothbrushes Mind The Trash
Brush With Bambuu Toothbrush

The bristles of the bamboo toothbrushes were always an issue though. Till recently, most toothbrushes had nylon bristles, as there was no vegan alternative to them.

Nylon is non-biodegradable and, to manufacture it, it creates nitrous oxide (N2O) that is “a gas that contributes to ozone destruction and the warming of the atmosphere”[4]. There is also concern regarding N2O’s lifetime in the atmosphere. According to a report from November 1998, by AEA Technology Environment for DGXI, it is estimated to be 120 years. For comparison, Gas Methane, has a much shorter lifetime of 12.2 years[5].

Fortunately, nowadays there is a more eco-friendly solution created by Brush with Bamboo.

How this toothbrush differs from others in the market

Brush With Bamboo has recently released a toothbrush with bristles that are made of 62% Castor Bean Oil and only 38% plastic. “This is the latest and advanced biobased bristle in the world today”[6].

The handle is biodegradable and the bristles can be recycled. So, once your toothbrush is not in shape to be used, just remove the bristles with the help of a pliers and put them in the recycle bin. You can also reuse the handle by putting it in a vase to identify what you have planted or use the entire brush, with bristles, to help you remove remaining’s of food on your cheese grader or clean joints between tiles.

Brushwithbambuu Ideas Mind The trash
Brush With Bambuu Reuse Ideas

This is a simple and small change that you can make that will help you on this journey for a more sustainable lifestyle.

If you want to purchase your toothbrush and get rid of your plastic toothbrush, visit our online shop here.

More information about Brush With Bamboo Toothbrush can be found on their official site here.

[1] “Toothbrush”

[2] “Who invented the toothbrush and when was it invented?”

[3] Recycling Mystery: Toothbrushes & Toothpaste Tubes”

[4] “SCIENCE WATCH; The Nylon Effect”

[5] “Options to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions (Final Report)”

[6] “About The Brush”

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