September 13, 2013

Clean Teeth, Dirty Planet.


I recently saw an advertisement that said there are 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes produced annually with each brush lasting about 1000 years. I saw a second piece, which said that over 80 million pounds of toothbrushes are thrown into North American landfills each year. Please note, while I could not track down the reviewed sources of these statements and can not vouch for their accuracy, it definitely makes me think about waste and what we consider it to be.

I have always used a toothbrush, one of those things that you are told to keep for a couple of months and then throw out and replace with a new one, and I most likely always will. I am 22 years old, have used about 6 toothbrushes per year, and started my Zero Waste journey at 21 (I stopped using plastic toothbrushes), which means I have contributed almost 130 pieces of seemingly never degrading plastic waste JUST to brush my teeth. This number is probably much higher if I consider any time I forgot a toothbrush and had to buy a new one, or bought a brush that was travel sized and used it for about a week. This is not even mentioning the toothpaste tubes!! The fact of it is, brushing your teeth produces a LOT of non-recyclable waste.

So we are doomed and have to use plastic toothbrushes forever. Right? Nope! I said above that I stopped using plastic toothbrushes. YES! About one year ago I invested in my first compostable toothbrush (there are many different brands). Not only are many of them biodegradable, sustainable, and renewable, their packaging is too! (I haven't been able to find a solution to the nylon bristles). Wishing for totally compostable boar hair toothbrush bristles. Sigh. Well, here are some brands I have tested out...
They look sooooo much nicer than plastic toothbrushes! When you are done you can use them for a multitude of things! Here is one of mine being used to keep my avocado tree standing tall!

18 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I tried a wooden toothbrush with boar bristles, and the boar bristles would shed into my teeth. (Blech, ick, ptui!)

    Once my dentist insisted for the sake of my gums I get an electronic toothbrush, I went with that. Do I feel guilty? Yes. But I just wanted to stop being yelled at!

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    1. So sad that you had bristly teeth, I definitely don't want that!:( What brand did you use?

      Lauren

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  3. I love my bamboo toothbrush! So much better than the plastic ones I would throw away! It's little items like these that add up to a whole lot of waste.

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    1. I love mine tooo!! I met the founders a couple of months ago and they are amazing :) The toothbrush that is in the plant in this picture is almost completely broken down, just from sitting in a houseplant, how cool!!

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  4. Have considered a Bamboo toothbrush but am curious as to how hard/soft they compare to everyday toothbrushes. What are people's experiences with them? I'm esp interested to hear from anyone getting one from an Aussie seller as that is where I'm from and prefer to buy local when I can.

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  7. Have you ever heard of miswaks? pretty awesome stuff! used by muslims for centuries!

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miswak



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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing! I have heard of Neem sticks, used in India. My great-grandmother in rural USA used hickory sticks.

      Can one purchase miswaks in the US?

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  8. @alden wicker, I love electric toothbrushes because they scrub harder than I ever could. Ironically, they do reach those tough to reach places. Often times I can get my teeth clean, but I am left wondering if I scrubbed my gums well enough. The electric toothbrush alleviates those fears.
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  12. Brushing teeth two times a day can ensure good dental health but it is also vital to have regular dental checkups. I visit my professional dentist Manhattan Beach twice in six months for checkups and always follow his instructions. That is why I have very healthy white teeth.

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Thank you for your comment! <3 -Lauren

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