You know the end has come when you pick up your aged toothbrush one morning and your olefactory senses are insulted by that weird musty odour emanating from your toothbrush. The bent bristles poking out sideways from the head catch your eye and tell you clearly, "It's time to move on!" But when a plain old plastic toothbrush dies the only place it can end up is six feet under. Without even thinking about it, you toss it in the bin and grab a new one. In the back of your head you know that dead toothbrush is off to the landfill and deep down you wonder if things could be different.
Unfortunately, plastic toothbrushes cannot be recycled and billions every year end up in landfills all around the world. The average Kiwi uses their toothbrush for approximately two to three months and then throws it away. This adds up to four to six per year, per person. Multiply this number by the population of New Zealand and you get tens of millions of toothbrushes being thrown away by New Zealanders every year, let alone the rest of the world. This has a huge environmental impact as the amount of plastic waste continues to grow.
On the other hand, the death of a bamboo toothbrush is drastically different. Brusht Bamboo toothbrushes have a handle made out of sustainable and biodegradable bamboo which means the handles are fully compostable. When you have finished using your bamboo toothbrush, the handle can be thrown in the compost or garden to decompose over time.
Nylon bristles are recommended by dentists all around the world as the best option for brushing your teeth, however they are not yet recyclable. This means that our nylon bristles need to be removed before the toothbrush goes in the compost. For now, the bristles must end up in landfill, however they make up less then 5% of the overall mass of the toothbrush.
1. Remove the Bristles
By using pliers you can remove the bristles within minutes. You simply close the plier head around the bristles and give them a little tug. The nylon bristles will pull away from the toothbrush with ease.
2. Collect the Bristles
As you remove the bristles you need to collect these in a container. You will be surprised by the small amount of nylon bristles that are in a toothbrush - only one teaspoon to be exact.
3. Dispose of Bristles
The nylon bristles then need to be disposed of in your usual rubbish bin as they are unable to be recycled.
4. Place the Bamboo in the Compost
Now all you have left is a piece of fully biodegradable bamboo. You can toss the toothbrush handle into your compost or garden. It will break down over time as it is just a piece of bamboo.