Guess which multinational consumer good company has manufactured the recycled toothbrush recently? The first toothbrush 100 percent made from recycled plastic has been launched in France, manufactured by Unilever. The aim of the company is based on Zero plastic, less plastic, better plastic. Your brush is an essential tool in your life; you use it after getting up from bed, before going to bed, sometimes after deserts, sometimes after spicy lunch, and even when you go out for a party or meeting. Have you ever thought about how much burden we are putting on your toothbrush? And so it decays soon.
For this reason, we have to change our toothbrush every quarter as we file our quarterly returns of the company. Lots of laughter! And throwing so many toothbrushes is truly a waste, so what is the solution? The recycling of toothbrushes. We will learn are plastic toothbrushes recyclable? If yes, how do we recycle them?
Are plastic toothbrushes recyclable?
The answer is a little bit descriptive, the toothbrushes are not recyclable because of the composite plastic used to create them, and that does not break them apart completely and efficiently. The chunks get stuck into the machinery. Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose, and they remain in landfills for an indefinite period. Plastic toothbrushes stain the landfills with their presence. As they settle into the landfill, they release chemicals into the air that makes the environment toxic. This results in even more damage and danger to the environment. So they are required to decompose properly and recycle. The toothbrushes we use has become a part of the plastic crisis.
How to recycle toothbrushes?
As per the American dental association recommendations, we must change our toothbrushes every three or four months. Moreover, it depends on our oral healthcare. But it’s terrible news for the environment as toothbrushes are made up of hard plastic and nylon bristles, packed in plastic bags. Few manufacturers have found a way to recycle the old toothbrushes back into a useable product. For instance, Colgate has a tie-up with TerraCycle to recycle the unwanted toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, dental floss containers, etc. for the process, one has to mail at the TerraCycle mail address using the instructions given on the website. Even the company named Preserve produces new consumer goods, including toothbrushes, out of recycled ones.
Recycle of electric toothbrushes
Electric toothbrushes contain Rechargeable Batteries, which are required to recycle. Rechargeable Batteries contain heavy metals like nickel, zinc, and cadmium that can be very damaging to the environment and human health. Many companies provide the facility to recycle electric toothbrushes even.
Can I recycle my toothbrush?
The answer is Yes, the toothbrush is a complicated item that we collect for recycling as they are made up of three different materials. One is a plastic handle, the other is the soft bristles, and the third is a metal staple that holds the bristles in place. When these different components are separated from the toothbrush, metals are processed through standard recycling. The soft nylon and plastic components are shredded, cleaned, and pelletized for use in manufacturing items ranging from every small and large item.
Old and worn toothbrushes can be used as an alternative tool for many odd jobs around the house. Toothbrushes are great for cleaning the following:
- Shoes – polishing, scrubbing off dirt and debris
- Showers and bathrooms
- Spots around the house like on floors, tiles.
- Car wheels
- Animal cleaning/pedicures
- Tile grout
Sustainable Alternatives of plastic or electronic toothbrushes
The good news is that we have plenty of sustainable alternatives that can be opted with or standard toothbrushes. There are many eco-conscious companies at the moment, creating some eco-friendly toothbrushes. Like here, we can discuss some of the types of environment-friendly toothbrushes as :
- Electric toothbrushes are used nowadays, and they are more sustainable than our standard brush. The plastic head is needed to be replaced, meaning less waste. However, we can’t accept electric toothbrush heads for recycling.
- Bamboo Brush: The humble bamboo brush has become very suitable for the environment and human teeth and also helpful in sustainable dental care. Industries can go for paper or cardboard packaging of toothbrushes to ensure that packing will also be environmentally-friendly. Most bamboo toothbrushes are fully biodegradable, and our dental habits must not adversely affect the planet.
- Wooden Toothbrushes: We can also use wooden toothbrushes as they are very eco-friendly. These are some of the simple and sustainable alternatives to plastic toothbrushes and are great for the environment.
- Aluminum Toothbrushes: There is a great range of aluminum toothbrushes now on the market that is 100 percent recyclable. Many of these brushes are also antibacterial to ensure oral health.
- Preserve Toothbrushes: Preserve toothbrushes are made from recycled plastics and eco-friendly. We can find it in our local health food store to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Pig Hair Bristles: Even the bristles in your brush can have an impact on the environment. Standard brushes mostly contain nylon bristles, which is a synthetic material. Traditionally, pig hair bristles are used in toothbrushes and have now seen popular in the market. Many brushes containing pig hair bristles are fully compostable and recyclable.
- Charcoal Bristles: Charcoal dental products offer a sustainable alternative to teeth whitening and oral health care. Charcoal compounds are known to whitening the teeth without causing damage to teeth and gums caused by peroxide-based treatments. Charcoal is a naturally occurring compound that has no impact on the environment.