Choose This Not That: Toothbrushes
In Australia, over 30 million plastic toothbrushes are used and disposed of by Australians each year, amounting to approximately 1,000 tonnes of landfill each year. In the United States it is estimated that over 850 million toothbrushes are discarded and end up in landfill every single year. Each of us will use and replace around 300 toothbrushes during our lifetime (4 toothbrushes per year). A single conventional toothbrush weighs approximately 18 grams (.63 oz.). So each of us will throw away about 12 pounds of plastic toothbrushes in our lifetime.
There are 6.8 billion people on the planet
Plastic toothbrush waste generated during our lifetime = 80 billion pounds.
Plastic toothbrushes are made from a combination of plastic (made from valuable crude oil), rubber, and nylon. None of these materials are biodegradable and therefore once they’re in landfill, they’re there to stay. The average life expectancy is about 75 years, after which they will break down and down until they’re small enough to wash away into our waterways and oceans.
Many plastic toothbrushes don’t make it to landfill at all and instead head straight for the ocean – they are on the list as one of the biggest culprits when it comes to ocean plastic pollution. From Arctic to Antarctic, from surface to sediment, in every marine environment where scientists have looked, they have found plastic. Other human-generated debris rots or rusts away, but plastics can persist for years, killing animals, polluting the environment and blighting coastlines. By some estimates, plastics comprise 50–80% of the litter in the oceans. “There are places where you don’t find plastic,” says Kara Lavender Law, an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. “But in terms of the different marine reservoirs, we’ve found plastic in all of them. We know it’s pervasive.”
Fortunately, awesome plastic-free alternatives are becoming widely available so that we can ditch plastic toothbrushes once and for all.
The best alternative toothbrush is a bamboo toothbrush such as the one from Go Bamboo. This toothbrush is fully compostable and biodegradable, and it needn’t go near a landfill as it can be disposed of in your compost bin or lawn.
More about the Go Bamboo toothbrush:
- Made from natural bamboo and recyclable nylon.
- Sealed with an edible wax.
- Features dual length, soft to medium bristles work a treat on your teeth.
- Available in adult and child size.
- Packaged in a sealed recycled cardboard box.
Make a simple product switch such as this and help fight in the global war on waste.