Plastic Reduction 101
1 November 2018
If you’re like us and you’re looking to reduce the amount of plastic in your life, you’re probably already looking to ditch the plastic grocery bags, reuse the plastic water bottles and reach for products in unplastic packaging.
But one of the culprits you may not have had in your sights is one that nearly everyone in the world uses (hopefully) twice a day, every day, their entire lives.
There are billions and billions of them made and discarded every single year, 99% of them are made from petro-chemical plastics, and every single one ever made is still out there somewhere, in a landfill or ocean, 100% intact and not even attempting to decompose.
Some of the 18 plastic toothbrushes artist Sophie Thomas picked up on one walk along Hawaii's Kamilo Beach
In your lifetime you’ll use about 300 of them, and so will everyone else on the planet.
It’s ugly, but there’s actually a simple way to cut those plastic sticks out of your life, without surrendering to rotten teeth.
Recently, bamboo become more widely used in the production of toothbrush handles. One of the world’s most sustainable materials, bamboo holds the Guiness World Record for the world’s fastest growing plant, at up to nearly three feet each day!
It’s also completely biodegradeable and non-toxic to the environment.
And to make matters even better, it looks a whole lot better in your bathroom.
Some of bamboo toothbrush subscription service Toothcrush's brushes
The easiest way to get out of the habit of brushing with plastic is to subscribe and have bamboo brushes delivered.
Toothcrush is the world’s leading bamboo toothbrush subscription service, and for a very reasonable price (for families they average about $2.50 per brush including delivery) you can have fresh brushes delivered every month.
Now, a fresh toothbrush every month might be great for your teeth, but can it really be better for the environment than buying a plastic toothbrush every three months from the supermarket?
You might be surprised to learn that Toothcrush subscribers create 18 times less environmentally damaging waste than those who buy 4 plastic toothbrushes a year.
Here’s how that figures…
A standard plastic supermarket toothbrush weights about 18 grams and comes in about 7 grams of packaging. No part of the brush nor any of the packaging is recyclable (even the cardboard is plastic-coated), meaning you create about 100 grams of unsustainable waste each year if you change your brush with the seasons.
A Toothcrush brush weighs 11 grams and comes in a mailing box that weighs 24 grams and a hygienic wrap that weighs 0.65 grams.
The wrap is made from PLA, a plant-based plastic alternative that is 100% compostable. The box is made from plain, uncoated brown cardboard that is 100% recyclable. The brush handle is made from bamboo — completely compostable and one of the world’s most renewable resources.
Big Toothbrush, in all its plastic glory
The only part of Toothcrush that can’t be recycled or composted is the bristles. They’re made from nylon, which is a plastic, but which right now is the only material available anywhere in the world that meets dental standards and cleans teeth effectively.
But… the bristles on each brush weigh less than half a gram. So — you create just 5.5 grams of unsustainable waist each year if you have Toothcrush delivered each month.
Compared with 100 grams of plastic waste with a normal toothbrush.
And what about the environmental cost of delivering 12 brushes?
The total CO2 produced by each delivery from factory to letterbox is around 195 grams — less than a single 1km journey in an average car - so depending on how close your supermarket is, you’ll likely have a greater environmental impact doing one trip to buy a plastic toothbrush than you will having an entire toothbrush subscription for a year :-)
So for most people, it’s affordable, more enjoyable, and a whole lot better for the planet to subscribe to Toothcrush.
For this article, we compared Toothcrush against a Colgate ‘360 Advanced’, a Macleans ‘Flex Direct’, a Reach ‘Between’ and an All Smiles ‘Total Care Pro’ — all purchased from a Countdown Supermarket in central Auckland, New Zealand.
We used the carbon emissions information provided at timeforchange.org and by The Guardian newspaper, and the Fuel CO2 Calculator at drivingtests.co.nz
To learn more about Toothcrush and subscribe, visit toothcrush.com