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Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint #4: Toothbrushes

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint #4: Toothbrushes

Following dentist’s advice, we’re recommended to replace our toothbrush every three months. That’s four toothbrushes a year per person, or over 300 in the course of an average lifetime. It’s estimated that 150 million plastic toothbrushes are discarded in the UK every year and because they are made up of plastic, nylon and rubber, they cannot be recycled.

The plastic they are made from won’t break down in our lifetime, or our children’s lifetime, or even our grandchildren’s lifetime. That’s not a legacy that we should be leaving behind.

Scientists are worried that coral reefs are being irreparably damaged by coming into contact with items, like toothbrushes, that are made from polypropylene. This is due to the bacteria that thrive on plastic surfaces and then float around the ocean on the current, spreading the devastating diseases rapidly between coral reefs.

Thankfully, there is now quite a wide range of natural, bamboo alternatives out there. The ones we have chosen are made by Hydrophil - a German company producing fairtrade, vegan toothbrushes made from sustainable bamboo and costor-oil bristles. The company is water-neutral, meaning that their products are made using only natural ingredients that don’t require artificial irrigation to grow. The colours they use don’t contain chemical additives and won’t leave any residue when composted.

To top it all off, Hydrophil have just launched the first-ever plant based bristles. Made from a renewable raw material (castor oil from seeds) they are 100% BPA-free and contain no petroleum. The raw material is used neither as food nor as animal feed, and its cultivation therefore does not compete with the cultivation areas for food.

This video shows you their bamboo toothbrush production process.

Hydrophil donate 10% of their profits to Viva con Agua; a water charity that provides access to clean drinking water for people living in the southern hemisphere.

It’s estimated that as many as a third of Brits now use electric toothbrushes and, as yet, there are no biodegradable electric toothbrushes. A recent US Kickstarter campaign for a battery-free, eco-friendly, biodegradable toothbrush powered by kinetic energy looks very interesting so perhaps it won’t be long until one comes on the market!

Have a read of our Battling Bathroom Bottles blog for more inspiration on how to ‘pass on plastic’ in the bathroom.

Bamboo toothbrush handles