Updated: Aug 19
Litter caused by plastic toothbrushes and dental floss picks are not uncommon - plastic toothbrushes are another part of our plastic waste story. The average person will use about 300 toothbrushes in their life time.
According to a research by Foreo, 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away annually in the United States. That results in billions of toothbrushes in our landfills, or even our beaches and oceans, every year. In fact, on Henderson Island, a remote island in the South Pacific Ocean, a team of researches found stretches of the beach littered with an estimated 414 million pieces of garbage, a majority of which was buried underneath the sand. Among them were 373,000 toothbrushes and 977,000 shoes. (Allyson Chiu, Stuff: Remote island littered with 414 million pieces of rubbish)
So what can we do about this?
1. We can reduce how often we need to replace toothbrushes by taking care of them and
2. We can switch to more *sustainable toothbrushes that creates a smaller impact on the environment when the time comes to discard them.
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You do not need to throw away your plastic toothbrushes if you still have them, that defeats point #1. But once you run out of those plastic toothbrushes, consider switching to a bamboo toothbrush - this is the best way to avoid throwing out 1 billion plastic toothbrushes. Consider how bamboo differs from plastic and wood. Bamboo plants grow quickly, need little care and may thrive without fertilizer or pesticides. What more is that a bamboo toothbrush will last as long as any plastic toothbrush. In the shape of a toothbrush handle, bamboo has a considerably smaller ecological footprint compared to plastic. This is because bamboo is biodegradable. You can compost the handles of bamboo toothbrushes if you first remove the nylon bristles.
That said, while bamboo toothbrushes are an environmentally friendlier alternative, that does not mean they are 100% compostable, because the bristles are still made of plastic. Therefore, even if we use a bamboo toothbrush, we should try to keep those bristles in good shape for as long as possible.
How do I prolong the life of my toothbrush?
Your dentist has probably told you before that brushing you teeth aggressively is bad for your teeth enamel, or your gums. It will also wear out your toothbrush bristles (Tip: hold the toothbrush with two fingers instead of you palm)
Keep your toothbrush clean
After brushing your teeth, be sure to rinse it thoroughly (for about 10 seconds) to prevent toothpaste build-up on the bristles. Shake it dry and store upright in an open container (at least two feet away from the toilet)
Take a photo of your bamboo toothbrush!
Share a photo and tag @onepieceaday1, and use the hashtag #OPADPlasticFreeJuly to earn 1 ENTRY!
How can I win prizes?
Step 1: Follow @onepieceaday1
Step 2: Tag a friend! (optional)
Step 3: Share a photo (to your story OR your feed) of you completing each challenge for 1 ENTRY, tag @onepieceaday1, and use the hashtag #OPADPlasticFreeJuly.
Each day is a new opportunity to increase your chances. Your total entries will be counted at the end of the month and be entered into a draw to win a zero-waste prize pack. Be sure to stick around for more chances to win!
Questions? Drop them below!
Tomorrow Get a Safety Razor
Instead of frequently replacing disposable plastic razors, get a long lasting safety razor. Not only are littered plastic razors harmful to the environment, but the blades can cause serious harm to a child or an animal.
Back in the early ’90s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that America produced 2 billion disposable razors and blades. According to a more recent report by Statista, 163 million consumers in the U.S. used disposable razors in 2018. These razors are meant to be used a few times and then thrown in the garbage. They’re not easily recyclable. And if we continue buying them, companies will continue making them. Moreover, most of them are made of plastic, which means continued use of fossil fuels for a product that will probably end up in a landfill.
Safety razors are made from stainless steel so if it does ever break, it’s fully recyclable. But, the likely chance of it breaking is very unlikely. You can still find antique safety razors for sale that work from 70 years ago. They’re also extremely cost saving too because they are so durable.
So instead of using disposable plastic razors, switch to a long lasting safety razor!
Or, you can pluck out hair via tweezers or threading if you can take the pain 🩹
Stay tuned tomorrow for challenge details!