Plastic waste is an ever-growing environmental issue that can feel overwhelming at times – what can one person do to impact such an enormous problem? Turns out, a lot more than you might think! Reducing your consumption of single-use plastic – and opting for more sustainable options – is perhaps the biggest change you can make. You may have already swapped your deodorant stick for a glass jar, but what about that plastic toothbrush in your bathroom?
PLASTIC TOOTHBRUSH POLLUTION
Like plastic straws, toothbrushes are a big part of the plastic waste problem. In the United States, over a billion toothbrushes — equal to 50 million pounds of waste — are discarded into landfills every year. That’s enough to circle the earth 4 times!
And what happens after plastic toothbrushes make it to the landfill? Because they’re typically made from various combinations of non-biodegradable materials like crude oil, rubber, and plastic, they take over 400 years to decompose. And during that long, drawn-out decomposition process, toxic chemicals are being released into the air.
Each of us will use 300 toothbrushes in our lifetime, or roughly 12 pounds worth of plastic pollutants. Surely we can do better!
SOLUTIONS AND ALTERNATIVES TO PLASTIC TOOTHBRUSHES
Making the switch from a plastic toothbrush to an environmentally-friendly alternative can help reduce this plastic waste problem.
Electric toothbrushes might seem like the obvious eco-friendly option because they outlast the disposable plastic kind, but the plastic brush head needs to be replaced every few months - meaning it ends up in the trash.
A popular solution is bamboo toothbrushes. Because bamboo is 99% biodegradable, and one of the fastest growing plants in the world, it’s a much more sustainable and earth-friendly way to brush those teeth. Added bonus - bamboo is also antimicrobial, which will help keep your toothbrush from growing bad bacteria.
But what about that plastic toothbrush you have now? Give it a new life and repurpose it for any number of things, like cleaning tile, polishing jewelry or tackling hard-to-remove clothing stains. At the very least, recycle it!