Here’s a scary thing to think about: traditional plastic toothbrushes take nearly 400 years to decompose. Considering the first plastic toothbrush was manufactured in 1938, that means every plastic toothbrush ever made still exists on our planet. Yikes!
Bamboo eco friendly toothbrushes are a much kinder alternative for the earth, especially when you’re committed to disposing of them properly. We get a lot of questions about how to responsibly dispose of your bamboo eco friendly toothbrush, so we put together this simple guide. The good news is, it’s a very simple process. The better news is, following these steps will ensure the toothbrush efficiently returns to the soil and has the least possible environmental impact
Step 1: Use exactly as much as you need
The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 months, and we’re certainly not here to argue with that. That’s why we developed our Eco Friendly Value Pack with four toothbrushes. Think of it as your year supply! Using this logic, you can ensure you’re using the exact right amount of materials for good oral hygiene without a single product more.
Once you’ve spent 3 months with your toothbrush; it’s time to part ways. The following steps are a few safe ways to dispose of your bamboo eco friendly toothbrush.
Step 2: Safely recycle the bristles
TreeBird’s toothbrushes are 100% safe for the environment, but they are not 100% compostable. We use nylon-6 bristles, because they’re a good choice for your long term oral health. Unfortunately, we still haven’t figured out a way to make bristles out of bamboo (we really would if we could!), and no one else in the industry has. On the plus side, at least the bristles use a mere fraction of material compared to traditional toothbrushes.
While our bristles aren’t compostable, they are safely recyclable! You just have to dispose of them separately from your toothbrush handle. This is as easy as removing the bristles with a pair of pliers (pro tip: don’t try to remove too many at once) or snapping the head of your bamboo eco friendly toothbrush.
Since the bristles are so tiny and can get lost, we recommend recycling them in another item you already plan to recycle (i.e. leftover food packaging). Some of our customers like to collect the bristles in one container over a few years, so they can recycle as much as they possibly can at once.
Step 3: Compost your bamboo eco friendly toothbrush handle
One of our favorite bamboo toothbrush benefits is that the handle is 100% compostable and can be safely composted using a variety of tactics.
If you have access to a bio-waste bin, this is the quickest and most effective solution. When taken to an industrial composting facility, the toothbrush handle can break down in as quickly as just a few short weeks.
Your home composter is the second best choice. It should take about half a year for your handle to decompose using this strategy, but you can shorten that processes by breaking up the handle into smaller pieces.
In your home garden, the toothbrush will take anywhere from 5 to 10 years to decompose, but that’s still a lot better than the 400 years it takes a plastic toothbrush!
Step 4: Find ways to reuse your bamboo eco friendly toothbrush
One of the most incredible bamboo toothbrush benefits is how easily it can be upcycled. Once you’ve sanitized your old toothbrush in boiling water, you can find a variety of uses for it around the house. Just be sure to mark it with a little doodle (a flower?), so you don’t mistaken it for your daily toothbrush.
Your old, sanitized toothbrush can now be used to clean the grout around your bathroom, kitchen (it will work wonders on your grater), or around the garage. Here at TreeBird, when we’re done with a long day of writing sustainability blog posts, we like to use an old toothbrush to clean off the keys of our laptops. Your old bamboo toothbrushes are also safe for cleaning a variety of household electronics, such as your vacuum cleaner, dryer filter, or hairdryer.
At the end of the day, responsibly disposing of your bamboo eco friendly toothbrush isn’t all that difficult. Simply remove and recycle the bristles, then compost the rest.
And you know what? If that sounds too complicated, the truth is, if you toss your bamboo eco friendly toothbrush in your regular trash bin, it’ll just take a few years to decompose in a landfill. That’s not that bad compared to the plastic alternative, so don’t let the little extra effort sway you from making the switch. Remember: when it comes to sustainability, it’s not about perfection. It’s about the small choices you make everyday.