In the United States alone it is estimated that over 850 million toothbrushes are discarded, ending up in a landfill every single year. In Australia, the number is over 30 million, creating 1000 tonnes of landfill each year.
Apparently, us Kiwis aren’t doing a lot better either. In New Zealand, approximately 252,000 tonnes of plastic waste ends up in a landfill.
But that’s not even the most shocking part. Most toothbrushes are made from a combination of plastic (made from crude oil) and rubber for the handpiece, nylon for the bristles, and a mix of plastic and cardboard for the packaging. Currently, none of these items are biodegradable, so they will remain in landfills indefinitely. If they don’t end their life there, they’ll most likely end up in our oceans and washed up on our beaches or consumed by marine life. If they are burned, they release a combination of toxic and greenhouse gases.
We may be a nation of ‘she’ll be rights’ but it seems the issue of plastic waste, especially oral waste, isn’t something that can be fixed by a few mumbled stoic encouragements. The problem is a serious one that needs our attention now.
So what’s the alternative?
We need to start brushing with a more planet-friendly alternative.
New Zealand’s leading brand in sustainability, ecostore, has launched a new oral care range: toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash. It’s the sort of stuff you could eat, made from naturally derived ingredients and free from SLS, triclosan, and parabens. And, they’re eco-friendly, so gone are the days of these bathroom essentials ending their lives in landfills. Ecostore’s toothbrushes are sustainably produced with a handle that is 99% made from plants and, along with the rest of their oral range, are completely recyclable through ecostore’s own recycling programme. Ecostore, realising that most oral care products are not recyclable through normal recycling collection, knew there had to be a better way, and so the recycling programme was created. You don’t even have to do any of the hard work, all it takes is downloading a postage label from their website and popping it in the post – ecostore will sort the recycling for you. In a nutshell, ecostore may be the answer to the oral waste epidemic.
Other than choosing your tools wisely, there are a few other things you can do to better look after the planet:
- While brushing, turn off the tap! Running the tap while brushing your teeth isn’t a harmless habit – it can be a serious waste of water.
- When possible, use other eco-friendly products – like floss and tongue scrapers.
- Simplify your life so you only use products that you need – reducing your waste as much as possible.