Plastic bags take 20 years to decompose.
Add another 480 years and that’s how long it takes for your toothbrush.
3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide every year and most of them end up in landfills or flow into rivers and oceans and get washed up to shore, endangering marine life and polluting our waters.
Each of us, on average, would use 300 toothbrushes in a lifetime.
Of these, 80% are estimated to enter our oceans.
The common toothbrush is made up of a polypropylene plastic handle and nylon bristles. Furthermore, most toothbrushes come in plastic packages and these plastic products are not biodegradable. When incinerated, it releases tons of toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases, worsening the impacts of global warming.
If this doesn’t sound bad enough to you, it has also been predicted that by 2050, there would be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
Can you imagine fishing in the ocean, and all that you find is plastic?
Feeling guilty and want to help?
There are many ways we can each do our part to reduce plastic waste in our oceans! First of all, if you are currently using plastic toothbrushes, do not simply dispose of them after use. You could always extend its product life by using it to clean and scrub small items in the house or use it as an art supply.
Swap Plastic with Bamboo
Secondly, switch to more environmentally friendly bamboo toothbrushes! Bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable and bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, which means that it acts as a natural protection against bacteria.
However, bamboo toothbrushes need more care! Dr Eddie Coyle recommended to “rinse the bristles for 30 seconds to wash away remaining toothpaste or food debris, and avoid leaving your toothbrush in a warm, damp case or holder as this encourages the growth of microorganisms.” Taking better care of your toothbrushes might also allow it to be used longer.
Bamboo toothbrushes are relatively new to the market. Hence, there are no frills or performance technology such as rubber grips or tongue scrapers.
Before purchasing the toothbrush, or in fact, any product, we should also check if the packaging is biodegradable as it shows that the company has made an effort and is genuine about supporting sustainable lifestyles.
Another point to note is the material of the bristles. Some bristles are made with stronger nylon which are not biodegradable. Thus, you would have to pluck them out with pliers and dispose of them with the rest of the non-recyclables after use.
As for the bamboo handle, all you have to do is to throw it in a composting or organic container and it would be decomposed in a few months. If you didn’t already know, growing your own edible garden is an up and coming trend. Thus, you could also use the bamboo handle to label your very own vegetables!
4 Places Where You Can Find Bamboo Toothbrushes
1. Neis Haus
Started in 2014, Neis Haus is a distributor for specially curated eco-friendly, sustainable and toxin-free products, that are made by responsible suppliers. Neis Haus carries numerous brands and is also the exclusive distributor in Singapore for brands such as Environmental Toothbrush and MiEco, that provides bamboo toothbrushes.
2. The Sustainability Project
Distributor of GotWood bamboo toothbrushes! Their toothbrushes are made up of nylon bristles and a bamboo handle from Mao Bamboo. Mao Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. Its rapid rejuvenation and strong durability allows it to act as an endless and sustainable resource.
3. Human Nature
Human Nature takes their responsibility of being nature’s stewards very seriously and carefully deliberates the impact of all business decisions on the environment. They undergo thorough research on the raw materials and processes to ensure that their environmental and safety principles are adhered to. As for their cruelty-free bamboo toothbrushes, Human Nature also gives you a rare choice of choosing between soft or medium bristles.
4. The Clean Attempt
To empower people to live low-waste lifestyles, The Clean Attempt meticulously chooses affordably-priced products that are procured, produced and delivered in the most sustainable way possible, looking into each and every stage of the production process. Their (Out)Standing Bamboo Toothbrushes comes in 4 different colours, perfect for a family of 4! It is not only sustainable, but stylish as well. Furthermore, it has a self-standing broad-base which aids in the quick drying process.
Note: Not sponsored and brands are listed in no particular order