When I first heard about bamboo toothbrushes hitting the market, I thought it was a fairly simple and straightforward concept. Bamboo = compostable.
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 packaging: Recyclable box and compostable wrapper.
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
Overall, bamboo toothbrushes are much less wasteful than plastic 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.
I’ve Got a Bamboo Toothbrush… Now What?
If you choose to buy a bamboo toothbrush, which I highly recommend, then you can use it for up to 3 months (I usually go a bit longer before switching it out for a new one).
But, what do you do with it once you are done?
Unfortunately the bristles do have to be landfilled, so if you want to compost your bamboo, then you will have to tear out the bristles with a plier beforehand.
However, bamboo is a very durable wood, and the toothbrush can be used for other things such as a household cleaning brush or (once the bristles are out) can be stuck in the ground for a wooden garden stake.
As for the packaging…
The only thing I don’t really like about the packaging is that it is in a wrapper instead of just a box.
The wrappers are compostable, but not every city/town has the necessary facility to take compostable ware. Before throwing away any compostable wrappers in your green waste bin, check to see if your city has a facility that will accept them through the site findacomposter.com.
As for the box it comes in, that can either be put in your recycling or green waste bin.
Overall, you will be reducing your waste with this simple swap and keeping harmful and unnecessary plastics out of our landfills and oceans.