It is estimated that in the US alone, there are more than 1 billion plastic toothbrushes thrown out into the landfill each year, many of which end up in our oceans, killing vital marine life.
Since plastic toothbrushes can’t generally be recycled, there’s not much else to do with this pesky plastic product other than disposing of it in a landfill bin when you’re done with it.
Luckily, there is a new and better alternative out there: the bamboo toothbrush.
Swapping out your regular plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush may be one of the easiest ways you can reduce your plastic use and lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
Bamboo toothbrushes have just recently become extremely popular and are all over the public market, making it easier than ever to make this #zerowasteswap.
However, it’s important to realize that not all bamboo toothbrushes are made the same. And in order for it to truly make a difference, we of course need to know how to properly dispose of one…
When I first heard about bamboo toothbrushes hitting the market, I thought it was a fairly simple and straightforward concept. Bamboo = compostable.
Therefore, bamboo toothbrush = compostable.
Turns out, that’s not entirely true.
Although the bamboo handles are 100% biodegradable, the bristles are not.
Once I found this out, I started to do some digging.
The Toothbrush Truth
Before the 1930s, when plastic was nearly inexistent, toothbrush bristles were made out of boars hair. But since then, we have made bristles out of synthetic polymers called nylon.
There are two different types of nylon. Nylon 4 and nylon 6.
- Nylon-4 is a petroleum-based product that has been shown to biodegrade in activated sludge.
- Nylon-6 is another type of man-made synthetic fiber that cannot biodegrade.
Unfortunately, there are no plastic free toothbrushes on the market made with Nylon-4 bristles. Therefore, if you do want to compost your bamboo toothbrush, you must take the bristles out first. Which can simply be done by using pliers. (But still a pain, honestly).
There is a completely compostable toothbrush available, but it is made with pig hair, a by-product of the Chinese meat market. If you are not vegan, then this might be a good option for you. However, I personally don’t like to use/consume animal by-products, especially if coming from a country whose animal treatment I am unfamiliar with.
In this list, I am going to go over some of the best bamboo toothbrushes that I have seen so far and rate them accordingly. So if you are looking for a good bamboo toothbrush that is eco-friendly and transparent with their products, then this is the right post for you.
Let’s get started.
My Top Products
The handle: 100% organic and compostable bamboo.
The bristles: Plant-based bristles made out of 62% Castor Bean Oil and 38% nylon, making it the best available option on the market right now.
The packaging: Recyclable box and compostable wrapper (they have recently stated that they are going to forego the compostable wrapper and just use the box!)
Price: 4-pack for $16.99 on Amazon
My Rating: 9.5 out of 10
This is probably the most eco-friendly toothbrush on the market right now. Although it’s bristles are not 100% compostable, they are plant-based, which means that it is using far less plastic than any other regular bristles.
2. Better Earth
The handle: 100% bamboo
The bristles: BPA-free nylon
The packaging: Recyclable box
Price: 4-pack for $13.96 on Amazon
My Rating: 9.0 out of 10
Bonus: This toothbrush pack comes with a free bamboo toothbrush holder with a drain hole at the bottom, which is perfect since it’s always best to let your toothbrush air dry. Also, this company PLANTS A TREE in an area affected by deforestation every time a toothbrush is purchased. This company is awesome.
3. Brush Naked
The handle: 100% bamboo
The bristles: BPA-free DuPont nylon
The packaging: Recyclable box and compostable wrapper
Price: 4-pack for 19.99 or 1 for $4.99 on Amazon
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Bonus: If you order directly from their website, you can choose to have it sent without the box!
Bamboo = Less Waste
Even though you cannot compost the bristles, bamboo toothbrushes are still SO much less wasteful than regular toothbrushes.
This is just a short list of a few bamboo toothbrush companies that I believe hold the most value and are the most environmentally-friendly.
Of course there are many other companies out there selling similar products, but they are not always transparent. A lot of them state that their toothbrush is “100% compostable”, which is very misleading, considering the bristles cannot be composted.
That is why I prefer to buy from brands like Brush with Bamboo that are ethical and transparent with their products.
No toothbrush on the market right now is perfect, but I believe the three companies I listed are as close as it gets for now.
How Do I Discard My Bamboo Toothbrush?
Once your bamboo toothbrush’s life has come to an end, you will need to ply out the bristles. I haven’t yet done this with my toothbrush yet (I usually keep mine for a long time before switching to a new one.. oops), but I am assuming it will take at least a solid 5 minutes to get them all out. I’ll keep you posted on this process as soon as I get to that point.
Once the bristles are out (and tossed away in your trash bin), you can simply toss the bamboo handle into your green yard waste bin for composting!
However, bamboo is a very durable wood, and the toothbrush can be used for other things such as a household cleaning brush. It can also be stuck in the ground (without the bristles) to be used as a cute wooden garden stake!
Either way, you will be reducing your overall waste and keeping harmful and unnecessary plastics out of our landfills and oceans.
Has anyone else made the switch to a bamboo toothbrush?