I recently saw an advertisement that said there are 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes produced annually with each brush lasting about 1000 years. I saw a second piece, which said that over 80 million pounds of toothbrushes are thrown into North American landfills each year. Please note, while I could not track down the reviewed sources of these statements and can not vouch for their accuracy, it definitely makes me think about waste and what we consider it to be.
I have always used a toothbrush, one of those things that you are told to keep for a couple of months and then throw out and replace with a new one, and I most likely always will. I am 22 years old, have used about 6 toothbrushes per year, and started my Zero Waste journey at 21 (I stopped using plastic toothbrushes), which means I have contributed almost 130 pieces of seemingly never degrading plastic waste JUST to brush my teeth. This number is probably much higher if I consider any time I forgot a toothbrush and had to buy a new one, or bought a brush that was travel sized and used it for about a week. This is not even mentioning the toothpaste tubes!! The fact of it is, brushing your teeth produces a LOT of non-recyclable waste.
So we are doomed and have to use plastic toothbrushes forever. Right? Nope! I said above that I stopped using plastic toothbrushes. YES! About one year ago I invested in my first compostable toothbrush (there are many different brands). Not only are many of them biodegradable, sustainable, and renewable, their packaging is too! (I haven’t been able to find a solution to the nylon bristles). Wishing for totally compostable boar hair toothbrush bristles. Sigh. Well, here are some brands I have tested out…
They look sooooo much nicer than plastic toothbrushes! When you are done you can use them for a multitude of things! Here is one of mine being used to keep my avocado tree standing tall!