How to properly dispose of a bamboo toothbrush
Buying a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush means there is one less plastic toothbrush floating in the ocean or clogs the ground, but they still need to be disposed of or composted properly for maximum environmental friendliness.
Fortunately this is really easy to do and doesn't take time. This guide will show you how to properly dispose of your bamboo toothbrush, to make sure it disposes of and returns to earth as quickly as possible.
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO DISPOSING OF A BIODEGRADABLE BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH
A fresh, shiny toothbrush is much more effective for keeping your teeth shiny and fresh, perhaps mint-flavored, so it's important to change your toothbrush regularly.
Although we have tested our toothbrushes to make sure they last up to six months of use, the dentist's advice is to change your toothbrush every two months (which is why our packs contain six toothbrushes). It doesn't matter if you use a bamboo toothbrush or a plastic one: the bristles wear out and bacteria can build up, even though the bamboo handle is naturally antibacterial.
When replacing your toothbrush, it is important to properly dispose of the old one. That's how!
STEP 1: Recycle and reuse your toothbrush
You know the mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle. Once the toothbrush has served its primary purpose of cleaning your teeth, there are many ways you can squeeze a little more life out and use it. Just boil it in hot water for a few minutes first to disinfect it, and mark it somehow so you know it shouldn't be used on your teeth!
- Clean your bathroom. An old toothbrush is the perfect size and shape to reach all those hard-to-reach spots, like in the corners of the countertop, between tiles, inside plug holes or even inside the toilet.
- Maintain electrical devices. An old (dry!) Toothbrush is the perfect tool for cleaning dust between keys on a computer keyboard or for removing debris from the vents of a hair dryer or the filter of a vacuum cleaner.
- Clean kitchen utensils. Have you ever been bothered by all the garlic pulp stubbornly stuck inside your garlic crusher, bits of cheese entangled in your grater or bits of "stuff" clogging up your sieve? Keep an old toothbrush by the sink - it's the perfect tool for cleaning them.
- Scrub the sports equipment. Is mud trapped between the cleats of your soccer shoes or a dirty bicycle chain? Yes, an old toothbrush is great for cleaning them again.
- Make yard signs. Vuoi un modo per distinguere i tuoi peperoni dai tuoi pomodori e le tue carote dalle tue patate, senza usare la plastica? Basta scrivere il nome di ogni pianta su un vecchio spazzolino da denti di bambù e spingerlo nel terreno come comodo promemoria.
Do you have any other tips for reusing and recycling an old toothbrush? Let us know!
STEP 2: Remove the bristles
While our bristles are recyclable, they are also the only part of a bamboo toothbrush that isn't biodegradable (we're talking less than an ounce of material here, compared to a full plastic toothbrush).
Oral health and effective teeth cleaning are our No. 1, and so far there is no biodegradable fiber that does this for as long as we use DuPont bristles.This means that you have to remove the bristles and dispose of them separately from the toothbrush handle. There are two different methods to remove them:
- Pull them out with pliers (our preferred method)
- Detach the entire toothbrush head
The easiest way is to take them out with pliers. To make it as simple as possible, don't try to pull out too many bristles at once and use a gentle rolling action. This will pull out the bristles and small staples smoothly and cleanly.
The bristles can then end up in plastic recycling, but because they are so small and easily lost, we recommend that you first put them in another plastic item you are recycling, such as food packaging, bottle or carton, etc.
If you've managed to reduce your plastic consumption to the point that you rarely have suitable containers to get rid of, consider keeping a dedicated one until it's full or popping the bristles into something you find in your next trash. In extremis, you can dip them in a drop of glue to keep them all together.
STEP 3: Compost the bamboo toothbrush handle
The handle of your toothbrush is 100% biodegradable, but you still have to think about how to dispose of it to make sure it breaks down as quickly as possible.
We recommend putting it in your bio-waste bin to be disposed of in an industrial composter, where it will break down in a few weeks, but you can also put it in a home composter if you have one. Even if you throw it in your regular trash and the toothbrush ends up in landfill, it will still biodegrade in a few years.
Bamboo will completely break down over time, but it's a sturdy, rot-resistant material (which is why it's so great for making toothbrushes). The time it takes to biodegrade depends on the conditions: in or on the ground, hot and humid, or dry and cold.
How long does it take for a bamboo toothbrush to biodegrade?
- If you throw a bamboo toothbrush in your yard, it may take up to 5-10 years to completely dispose of.
- Buried horizontally in the ground, it will take about 3 years
- A home composter should take about 4-6 months (depending on the composition). You can speed it up by breaking the toothbrush into small pieces with a hammer or saw.
- An industrial composter should dispose of a toothbrush in a few weeks (they are much warmer and more active than any household composter).
SUMMARY: How to properly dispose of your bamboo toothbrush
- Reuse or recycle your toothbrush
- Remove the bristles with pliers and recycle
- Throw the bamboo handle into the organic waste bin
And this is all! When replacing your toothbrush, be sure to take good care of the new one to keep it in good condition for as long as possible. Mostly this means letting it dry properly, but we have some tips for taking care of your toothbrush, HERE
Do you have any questions or suggestions on how to reuse or better compost a bamboo toothbrush? Let us know!
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