So this is the first in my plastic swap series looking at things that I’ve swapped out for non-plastic alternatives. I’ll pledge to try out the swap for a month and let you know how I get on and if I plan to keep the swap or drop the swap.
Swap – Toothbrush
over 3.5 billion toothbrushes are thrown away in the US every year, this amounts to over 1000 tones of polypropylene plastic and nylon going into landfill!
In New Zealand they’ve even got a Toothbrush wall – it’s not just a joke on Flight of the Concords! It was started as a bit of fun, but it does highlight the huge number of plastic toothbrushes that are thrown away.
Bamboo is a natural cellulose fibre which is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. The fast growing plant is easily renewable so helps avoid further deforestation. Most bamboo toothbrush brands are packages in card so this is bio-degradable too, they retail at around £3 in the UK. The bamboo handle is compostable and the nylon bristles are apparently recyclable although I’m not sure how you’d remove them to put them in the recycling with getting them everywhere!
Another option is the bio-brush. German based Life without Plastic ( @LifeWoutPlastic ) designed a brush with bristles made from pig hair with a handle sculpted from sustainably harvested beech wood. It is the only plastic free toothbrush on the market. Sounds ok but I’m not keen on putting pigs hair in my mouth!
So Bamboo it is…
Bamboo from the Just Shop in St.Martins Square, Leicester, because it’s convenient.
Getting used to the feel of a bamboo toothbrush is the major hurdle. After a few days I was fine with it although it does make my tongue tingle a bit! My husband Matt, on the other hand, was not keen. It was a bit like nails on a chalk board to him.
The bristles feel like a plastic toothbrush’s. One thing to note is that you don’t get the springiness I the handle like you do on some plastic brushes so you have to be careful not to brush too hard- as you can see I am a hard brusher!
The other thing to watch out for is mildew and mould. I find this can happen with plastic but comes off more easily. With bamboo, once the mould is set in it’s going nowhere.
The brush is also now showing signs of degrading – which, in a way, is reassuring as it shows it will break down after use!
Swap or drop?
Think I’ll stick with this one, it’s an easy swap. Once you get used the wood-in-mouth thing!