Before we look at the many reasons why bamboo toothbrushes are better for the environment, let's understand what they are exactly.
What is a Bamboo Toothbrush?
To put it simply, a bamboo toothbrush is a manual toothbrush with a long handle and bristles, but is made from bamboo - a more sustainable and eco-friendly material than plastic. The bristles of the bamboo toothbrush can be from a range of different materials, such as bamboo fibres or biodegradable nylon-4.
Interestingly, bamboo toothbrushes are one of the oldest types of toothbrushes, with the earliest models of toothbrushes originating in China using bamboo and other natural materials, such as boar's hair for the bristles. Some manufacturers to this day still use boar's hair or infuse the bristles with activated charcoal.
Now we have a good understanding of what they are, let’s look at their positive impact on the environment in more detail.
Here are four reasons why bamboo toothbrushes are better for the environment compared to plastic brushes
1. They are Biodegradable & Plastic Free
The main reason why bamboo toothbrushes have gained popularity over the years is due to the fact they are biodegradable and plastic free. Due to their natural material, the bamboo handle can break down over time via natural processes, returning to the soil as organic matter. This completely eliminates the issue of plastic waste that comes with using single-use plastic toothbrushes.
Bamboo toothbrushes can take as little as 3 to 6 months to decompose fully, but of course this figure depends on a number of factors such as atmosphere, soil humidity, temperature and the type of composter used.
Even if it takes a couple of years for a bamboo toothbrush to decompose, this is still a significant improvement from plastic toothbrushes, which can take over 500 years to decompose — contributing to harmful plastic pollution.
So, how do you properly compost a bamboo toothbrush? Firstly, you need to remove the bristles with a pair of pliers. If you haven’t got any pliers to hand, you can just snap the head of the toothbrush off. To do this, grab the toothbrush head with one hand, and bend the handle in the other direction. Add the bristles in your plastic recycling bin as these are made from nylon.
Once the toothbrush is free from any bristles, you can add the handle to your home composter or bury it in your garden soil. If you haven’t got a composter or garden, you can put the handle in your regular bin, but note this does take much longer to biodegrade.
2. They are Sustainable
Bamboo toothbrushes are considered a sustainable alternative to their plastic counterparts for a number of reasons.
Firstly, bamboo is a renewable resource that grows rapidly, reaching maturity within only a few years. This fast regrowth of bamboo makes it a sustainable alternative to materials like plastic, which are derived from fossil fuels and have limited availability. Once it’s gone, it’s gone!
The production process of bamboo toothbrushes is also much more sustainable and has a much lower environmental impact than plastic toothbrushes. This is because bamboo is typically harvested using organic farming practices without the need for pesticides or fertilisers. The process is more water-efficient compared to other crops as it requires much less water. Bamboo also has a high yield per acre, meaning it can produce more material in the same amount of space compared to other plants.
Bamboo toothbrushes can also contribute to sustainable development in lower economically developed countries by supporting local economies in areas where bamboo is grown.
3. They Can be Reused
Bamboo toothbrushes are also environmentally friendly as they can be reused for other duties once they have been used for their intended purpose.
Here are just a few examples of how you can use reuse bamboo toothbrushes:
- Cleaning brush - This one is probably the most popular! Instead of chucking out your old toothbrush, use it to get into those hard-to-reach places around your home. Use them for grubby kitchen tiles, bathroom corners and the edges around your tap... your home will be sparkling clean in no time.
- Nail brush - Your bamboo toothbrush could also be used as a nail brush for those stubborn under the nail dirt.
- Get creative - Unused toothbrushes also make great tools for arts and crafts. Why not create a toothbrush photo frame, or make mini goal posts for finger football? You can really push your imagination to its limits here!
- Garden markers - One thing you might not have ever considered is using your bamboo toothbrush handle as plant markers in your garden. You’ll never mix up your seeds and herbs again!
4. Lower Carbon Footprint
Finally, bamboo has a much lower carbon footprint than many other materials. This is because bamboo plants are able to absorb more carbon dioxide and produce more oxygen compared to other plants, making them great for climate mitigation. What’s more, bamboo toothbrushes require much less energy and resources for processing and manufacturing compared to that of plastic toothbrushes. .
Other Benefits of Using a Bamboo Toothbrush
As well as the positive environmental impact, there are a handful of other benefits of switching to a bamboo toothbrush, such as being better for your health, they are super hygienic/sanitary and are just as effective at brushing your teeth than conventional plastic toothbrushes.
They are BPA-free - Most toothbrushes are made from single-use plastic containing nasty chemicals like BPA. Recent research suggests that BPA exposure may lead to a number of health problems such as potential infertility, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. By opting for a bamboo toothbrush you are eliminating this risk to your health.
They are super hygienic - Did you know that bamboo has naturally antibacterial properties? This means that it reduces the presence of microbes, such as bacteria and mould. To ensure your bamboo toothbrush remains as hygienic as possible, rinse the bristles and use a clean towel to remove excess water between uses. You should also store your toothbrush in a container with drainage holes.
- They are just as effective at brushing - bamboo toothbrushes are also just as effective at cleaning your teeth and easy-to-use than any manual toothbrush on the market, as long as you brush properly.
Certainly worth the investment if you ask us!
🪥Brush Fresh Co. is founded and run by a group of UK-based dentists, who specialise in environmentally-friendly and sustainable dental products. From biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes to zero waste toothbrush tablets, our product range has been designed to put both your dental health and the environment first. For more information and dental care advice, head over to our blog page or get in contact with us here.