Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
If you’re starting your journey towards a zero waste lifestyle, one of the simplest swaps you can make in your sustainable bathroom is a bamboo toothbrush. Do you know all of the benefits of a bamboo toothbrush?
Conventional plastic toothbrushes may seem insignificant one by one, but they add up quickly to increase our plastic waste footprint. They’re non-recyclable, which means that they most often end up piling in the landfill.
Plastic toothbrushes are made from two materials – a polypropylene handle and nylon bristles (both plastics based on fossil fuels. Their production is very environmentally-damaging, but they’ll also keep polluting our planet for a long time after being discarded.
Toothbrushes aren’t just filling up landfills – increasing numbers of them are ending up in the ocean! As plastic toothbrushes will take hundreds of years to decompose, you can probably imagine we’re headed for an environmental catastrophe if we don’t make a change. In fact, by the year 2050, there is expected to be more plastic in the ocean than fish! Additionally, while the toothbrush does seem to be fully decomposed to the naked eye after a few hundred years, it still leaves microscopic plastic particles behind
Most of us will use around 300 plastic toothbrushes in our lifetime. This adds up to a lot of plastic we could simply eliminate by using bamboo toothbrushes instead.
Table of contents
Benefits of a bamboo toothbrush
Bamboo toothbrushes, contrary to plastic toothbrushes, have completely biodegradable handles as they’re made from natural materials. The bristles aren’t always biodegradable, but they’re easy to remove (refer to the latter section of this article for guidance on disposal).
The bamboo toothbrush won’t just biodegrade in the landfill – it can also be composted at home or simply buried into the ground and returned to the earth.
Bamboo has some wonderful antibacterial properties! Firstly, this means that the plant doesn’t need to be treated with any pesticides while it’s growing, which reduces water pollution in the area where it’s cultivated.
Additionally, this also makes bamboo the perfect material for an item such as a toothbrush, which you’ll want to keep sanitary at all times.
Thanks to the wonderful antibacterial properties of bamboo, the toothbrush also doesn’t have to be treated with any chemicals. The product itself is non-toxic and no chemicals need to be released in production either.
An easy swap
Lastly, what makes a bamboo toothbrush such a great eco-friendly alternative for your sustainable bathroom is how easy it is to switch to it. There’s no need to cultivate new complicated habits or get used to a completely new product.
A bamboo toothbrush works just like your old plastic toothbrush, but it’s much better for the environment.
How to choose the right bamboo toothbrush
After deciding to get a bamboo toothbrush next time you need one, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a bamboo toothbrush.
Avoid the big brands
As bamboo toothbrushes are becoming more popular, the big brands and corporations are also launching their own bamboo toothbrush collections. While it’s better than nothing, keep in mind that by buying a bamboo toothbrush from this company, you’re spending money that will likely go to support their other, much less sustainable products.
Instead, pick the brands focused on sustainability or small stores. You’ll also be able to find some on Etsy, which is a wonderful way to support small brands.
Skip animal hair bristles
Some bamboo toothbrushes have bristles made from pig hair. It’s obvious that this option isn’t very vegan-friendly, but there’s an additional concern related to this type of bristles.
That’s because pig hair is hollow, making it a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of microorganisms. To keep a bamboo toothbrush with pig bristles sanitary requires a lot of effort and time and even then, it can’t be sanitized perfectly.
How to dispose of a used bamboo toothbrush
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Once your bamboo toothbrush has come to the end of its lifespan, it’s time to think about how to properly dispose of it. It’s as simple as following these steps:
- Remove the bristles
This should be fairly easy to do with pliers, but if you don’t own any, you can also snap the head of the toothbrush off.
Add the bristles into recycling. Note that you’ll need to put them in a larger piece of plastic you’re throwing away, such as a bottle or product packaging, to ensure they’re truly recycled rather than falling through machinery.
- General Waste
If you opted for snapping the head off instead, throw it into general waste.
- Compost the handle
Add the handle into compost or bury it in the ground. You can also upcycle it to label the veg or herbs in your garden!