Why you should carePlanet harmful toothbrushes are as bad for you as gingivitis.
By Latha Rao
We’re told by our dentists to brush and floss after every meal to maintain our oral health. And we do. But, what happens to all those toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss? Most of us just throw them in the trash and never think about them again. Your average American uses and throws away over 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime, leading to billions of toothbrushes finding their way in our landfills.
Yep, we’re talking about the waste we create. Unfortunately, these items are usually made from plastic and they don’t get recycled or upcycled. With time stuck in the landfill, these plastic waste contribute to harmful methane or greenhouse gas emissions that get into our environment. Well, we can’t stop brushing our teeth, but we can choose better alternatives to plastic handle toothbrushes and floss.
#1 Recycle your toothpaste tube
Tom’s of Maine, Gold Sustainability Medal & Gold Giveback Medal
Often times your tube can be recycled with your municipal recycling center. If you check and it can’t go into your recycling bin, no worries, you can collect them and send to Terracycle – an innovative recycling center. A wonderful brand working on closing the loop is Tom’s of Maine, who partners with Terracycle to take back and recycle your toothpaste tubes. In addition, they minimize environmental impacts by using recyclable and plant based materials, sustainable production and transportation practices. Even more, they give back 10% of sales to support health, education and nature. Whew!
#2 Switch Out Your Toothbrushes
Mama P, Bronze Sustainability Medal & Platinum Giveback Medal
Switch to biodegradable toothbrushes made from materials like bamboo, which is a more sustainable choice because of its fast growth and renewable properties. We have a bit of a thing for MamaP because the founder is one of those sustainable passionistas. Mama P designed unique bamboo toothbrushes that comes in plastic-free packaging. You’ll have to recycle the bristles, which are made out of nylon, but it’s a cinch to break off the head and place it in the recycle bin. They also partner with Terracycle and your brushes can be sent in for recycling along with your toothpaste tube. We love the many different causes supported by each color on the toothbrush handle, such as ocean conversation, mental wellness, bees, gender equality, and more. Pick a color and support a cause you care about!
#3 Switch to a water flosser
I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t those also made out of plastic. Yep. But, these flossers last longer and water use means not using plastic floss and then throwing them out daily. In case you are wondering, like our founder did, water flossers work just as well as dental floss.
Again, we focus on better choices, because the best choice might not be…well an option we can or want to do. For example, the best choice for a floss is a toothpick or a single hair from a horse’s tail. Since you won’t find me, and many others, using horse’s tail to floss, I’m sticking to a water flosser or biodegradable floss.
#4 Switch to Biodegradable Floss
Dental Lace, Bronze Sustainability Medal
So you’re not sold on the water flosser, another better choice is using biodegradable floss, which is oftentimes made from silk. For our lovely vegans, there is a version for you too. These silk or plant based dental floss come in a refillable glass container, and refills come wrapped in plant based biodegradable cellophane, and packaged in post-consumer paperboard. All this so we leave no-trace after use.
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