The Plastic Toothbrush

Most of us remember to brush once or twice a day, but what happens to the toothbrush when it's beyond reuse? It's time to look at one of the simplest ways you can help reduce your household waste: moving away from plastic toothbrushes.

What a handful!

  • By mid-2018 the population of the UK reached an estimated 66.4 million [1]
  • Dentists generally recommend changing your toothbrush at least every three months, or after sickness.
  • A conservative estimate where only 50% of the UK population brushes their teeth and swaps toothbrushes every three months would equate to 133 million toothbrushes. Realistically, a lot more toothbrushes are used per year.
  • With an average weight of 20g that equates to 2.66 million kg of plastic waste - around 210 double decker busses.
  • Generally, plastic toothbrushes contain a complex mix of plastics making them hard to recycle. Even when they can be, plastic can generally only be recycled 2-3 times before it's quality is degraded to the point where it can no longer be used. Further, recycling processes often involve adding virgin plastic into the mix [2].
  • Popping the toothbrush in the bin means it will end up on rubbish dumps, leaching chemicals and causing harm to wildlife that ingest it. Think that's unlikely? It's estimated 90% of seabirds have plastic in their gut [3]. 

What other options do I have?

There are now many alternative options for plastic toothbrushes, but the most popular are brushes made from Moso bamboo - a very fast growing bamboo shoot that reaches it's maximum height within 2 years. We currently stock three high quality toothbrushes holding various certifications in our bathroom collection, which you can find here

OINK!

Some compostable toothbrushes use pig hair instead of plastic bristles. Whilst this does provide a 100% plastic free option, we opted not to supply these at Tecorra for two reasons: 

  • It's not cruelty free
  • Natural bristles retain moisture and can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and malodour

We push for plastic reduction but we will never provide alternatives that could negatively affect our customers health.

References

[2] Sedaghat, L., 2018. 7 things you didn't know about plastic (and recycling). https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2018/04/04/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-plastic-and-recycling/
[3] Wilcox, C., Van Sebille, E., Hardesty, B.D., 2015. Threat of plastic pollution to seabirds is global, pervasive, and increasing. https://www.pnas.org/content/112/38/11899

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