The disposable toothbrush: is there a better way?

By Lorrin Windahl.

It’s amazing, and somewhat shameful, that I brush my teeth twice a day and only recently stopped to consider the environmental impact of my bi-daily brushing. I buy a toothbrush from the supermarket, which lasts probably several months (I’m a bit slow to realize it is worn out), and then I throw the whole toothbrush in the bin. But it’s only the bristles that are worn out. The rest of the brush is still good. Surely, there is a more sustainable alternative. Perhaps replaceable heads like on electric toothbrushes?

After a little research I found that there are a lot of more environmentally friendly options out there. Which is good news yeah? But the bad news is that they aren’t as readily available as just going to your local supermarket (unless of course, it’s a small eco-friendly one). Unfortunately, they are a little harder to source than that. Hopefully though, by creating more demand for them we can make them more mainstream.

So, next time you are in the supermarket aisle looking at the large selection of disposable plastic toothbrushes, perhaps hold off and see if you can source a more sustainable one. Here’s a few alternatives to start you off.

The Bogo Brush is made of bamboo which is both renewable and biodegradable. The company also offers a buy one, give one scheme so that one toothbrush goes to you and the other to someone in need.

The Bogo Brush uses bamboo as its base material.

The Bogo Brush uses bamboo as its base material.

The Source toothbrush, by Radius, is offered in three recycled material choices – wood, flax and dollar bills. The heads are also replaceable which adds to their green credentials.

sourcetoothbrush1

The Source toothbrush comes in three different recycled handle materials and with a replaceable head.

The Preserve toothbrush is made from recycled yoghurt cups. The company also offers a closed loop cycle so the toothbrushes don’t end up in landfill. The packaging doubles as a prepaid envelope so that the brush can be sent back to the manufacturer at the end of its useful life. Unfortunately the return scheme is only available to consumers in the US.

The preserve toothbrush is offered with a recycling scheme so that when the toothbrush is ready top throw away it can be easily sent back to the manufacturer.

Preserve’s toothbrush is offered with a recycling scheme so that when the toothbrush is ready to throw away it can be sent back to the manufacturer.

The Environmental ToothBrush is a simple, cost-effective alternative to disposable plastic brushes. Made from bamboo it biodegrades at the end of its useful life.

The Environmental Toothbrush is made of bamboo.

The Environmental Toothbrush is made of bamboo.

Perhaps a more futuristic alternative is the Soladey J3X toothbrush. It uses solar technology to power negative ions that help destabilize plaque, tartar and bacteria. No more messy toothpaste. The brushes come with a replaceable head and require only small amounts of light (similar to solar calculators) to power the brush.

The Soladey-J3X toothbrooth uses solar power to create a chemical reaction which cleans your teeth.

The Soladey-J3X toothbrush uses solar power to charge negative ions which help to clean your teeth.

3 Comments on “The disposable toothbrush: is there a better way?

  1. Pingback: Brushing Teeth – Sustainably | Prasad Modak's Blog

  2. Great article, I recently bought a bamboo brush but found the bristles only lasted a few weeks of use. More recently my dentist recommended I get a Philips sonar clean electric brush. In a way it’s a more sustainable product. The only consumable element is the brush head. It would be nice if they had a loop recycling system for the heads..

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    • Thanks for the comment Alexander. I agree, it would be fantastic if the big manufacturers had closed loop systems in place – especially considering the volumes that they currently sell at.

      Like

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