What is a sustainable alternative to plastic toothbrushes?

by Emily Carlstrom

Over the last year, we've been asked by friends, family and complete strangers how to live life a little more sustainably and our tips and tricks in keeping our waste minimal. We thought it was time that we shared more on our blog about some of the ways in which we have managed to cut huge sources of waste from our life! 

A simple switch that everyone can make today is to swap out the plastic toothbrush (you know - the ones you buy at the Supermarket that are plastic and come wrapped in plastic) for a biodegradable option - such as a bamboo toothbrush.

Plastic toothbrush

Let's take a look at our current plastic toothbrush habit and the effect it's having on our environment. In the US, is it estimated that 850 million plastic toothbrushes are used and discarded every year. In Australia, over 30 million plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year - that equates to 1000 tonnes of waste!

Once discarded, these toothbrushes are not just being sent to landfill, they're also ending up in our oceans and being ingested by wildlife.

Bird ingesting plastic

It's images like the one above that motivate us to continue to educate people on the damaging effects that their daily plastic habits are having on the planet.

BUT, it's not all doom and gloom - more and more people are becoming aware and making positive changes and you can too! It's simple swaps, such as a plastic toothbrush for a biodegradable one, that make a difference. 

Bamboo toothbrush

Here are some of the frequently asked questions surrounding our eco bamboo toothbrushes.

Are bamboo toothbrush bristles biodegradable?

There are currently three types of bristles used in bamboo toothbrushes - Nylon,  Boar and Biodegradable Vegan bristles.

  1. Boar (pig) bristles are 100% biodegradable, however they're often obtained as by-products of the Chinese meat market and can pose serious ethical questions regarding treatment of animals.
  2. Biodegradable vegan bristles are made from derivatives of castor oil. They are 100% biodegradable, however the bristles start breaking down within 10-14 days of use making them poor value for our customers.
  3. Nylon bristles. After much research and sample testing Kappi opted for Nylon bristles for their durability, value and the fact that they're vegan. We recommend snapping the head off your old toothbrush and composting the handle when it's time to change.

 How long does each Kappi bamboo toothbrush last?

Dentists recommend swapping toothbrushes every 2-3 months. After sample testing, we recommend swapping out our bamboo toothbrushes every 3 months. A handy hint to improve the life of your toothbrush is to leave it soaking overnight in a glass of white vinegar every month or so. This freshens the bristles and removes most of the accumulated bacteria.

 Bamboo toothbrush

So, remember when looking for a biodegradable toothbrush to check what the bristles are made from (and how to properly dispose of them), how long they'll last and that the handle is biodegradable!

Click here to check out our Eco Bamboo Toothbrushes. 

We'd love to hear from you - let us know in the comments what other areas in your like you're struggling to reduce your waste and we'll try to write a post about it! 

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