Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday's 3Rs -- Toothbrush issues

Photo by Petr Kratochvil
The American Dental Association recommends we replace our toothbrushes every 3 months. I don't know about you, but I fail miserably on that one. But when it is time to replace my toothbrush, I've always just tossed it in the trash. I never thought about an alternative.

Well, I won't be doing that anymore. From what I read, 50 million pounds of toothbrushes end up in landfills in the U.S. annually. I must admit, I find that number a bit hard to believe. But the bottom line is, they do produce a lot of needless waste. Most toothbrushes are made from #5 plastic, so if your curbside recycling program accepts #5, then just toss it in your recycling bin. That's what I'll be doing. Still, it seems awfully wasteful to keep replacing those toothbrushes, so I looked into some other options. Here they are:
  • Quit brushing your teeth. It's not smart, but it is an option!
  • Buy a toothbrush made from recycled materials, like the Source toothbrush, by Radius, with handles made out of recycled flax, wood, or ... get this ... U. S. Treasury bills!! That's one way to make your money work for you! Or check out the Preserve toothbrush, made from recycled Stonyfield Yogurt containers. How cool is that?! Preserve offers a toothbrush subscription program where they send you a new toothbrush according to a schedule you set up. When you get your new toothbrush, you also get a mailer to send your old one back for recycling. This is a win-win situation, folks! 
  • Buy a toothbrush with a replaceable head.
    • The Radius Source toothbrush features replaceable heads, which reduces 93% of toothbrush waste. And you can pick one up at your local Wegman's, Vitamin Shoppe, Target, Loblaw's or Whole Foods stores.
    • Eco-DenT is another source for replaceable heads and you can find them in most retail locations (at least, that's what they say!)
      Norwex Silver-Care
    • Norwex offers an amazing toothbrush with replaceable heads. While it is a bit more costly, each head lasts for 6 months! I'm going to buy one of these for myself and am looking forward to finding out if it is as good as it sounds. The bristles are made with silver-infused microfiber, which means the toothbrush self-sanitizes within a matter of hours after you brush your teeth. This means you won't keep re-infecting yourself if you're sick. And from what I read, it also means healthier gums and fresher breath. I'm all about that!
  • Get a subscription -- a toothbrush subscription! Preserve offers a toothbrush subscription program where they send you a new toothbrush according to a schedule you set up. When you get your new toothbrush, you also get a mailer to send your old one back for recycling. This is a win-win situation, folks! Just think, maybe someday your very own toothbrush will end up back in your home in a recycled product!
Oh, and don't forget the many other uses for a worn out toothbrush, like a grout scrubber, jewelry cleaner, and back scratcher. No sense getting rid of something until you've gleaned every bit of use out of it, right?

Well, you got a bit more than you bargained for with today's 3Rs! What started out as a "what to do with your used toothbrush," became a plug for various products. But after doing the research, I just had to share. This is just one more way we can all do our part for the environment.

Keeping it out of the landfill,



  1. These are fabulous ideas and products! I have to look into the recycled ones. I think my husband would love the recycled Treasury bills ones!!!

  2. Thanks, Liz. I ordered a Norwex toothbrush last night.

  3. Jennifer CormierJuly 1, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    I've used old tooth brushes for art for pre-school children and young children. They are also great for science blood spatter projects.


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