General advice from dentist is to change your toothbrush every 3 months. That’s 4 new toothbrushes a year, and if we calculate the equivalent over 25 years, 100 plastic toothbrushes from just one human. Considering there are 8 million people in London, that’s 32 million plastic toothbrushes going into landfill from the population of London alone. Plastic toothbrushes are not recyclable, and are unnecessary when you can use a bamboo one.
Mine is by f.e.t.e, which feature cute coloured designs but there are so many on the market. They do exactly the same as any other manual toothbrush does, but the handle is biodegradable so do not contribute to landfill. I found my teeth felt just as clean as when using a plastic toothbrush- the bristles haven’t really changed so you aren’t even changing the way you brush your teeth, only what you are holding onto to do so.
My only gripe is that in general the bristles are made of a synthetic substance, so aren’t biodegradable, but changing the handle is at least an improvement to a fully plastic product. I have found some which use pig hair as bristles, but as I don’t use animal products I struggle with that one. However if you eat do eat meat then this may be the one for you! I know there is also a brand called preserve who create toothbrushes from recycled yoghurt pots, but I believe it is an American brand so the shipping is really expensive to the UK. If you are based in the US it might be worth having a look at these.
Once you are done with your toothbrush, (plastic ones included) don’t throw it away! It’s a great cleaning tool for hard to get to corners of the house (sinks, taps, plugholes), great for cleaning shoes and the cracks between the tiles. There’s always a use for them! I always have a few sitting under the sink waiting to be used for cleaning.
F.e.t.e Bamboo toothbrush
Other bamboo toothbrush brands (cheaper)
Pig hair bristle toothbrush
*To be clear and transparent, I do have an electric toothbrush from pre-conscious consumer days. As it still works perfectly, I will continue to use this until it no longer works, and then transition completely over to bamboo toothbrushes. I bought this f.e.t.e one specifically for when I went travelling earlier this year, and use it now in rotation with my electric toothbrush. I see no use in throwing away perfectly working items to try and achieve a completely Zero Waste lifestyle, as that is in itself wasteful.*