When it comes to eco friendly toothbrushes there is no doubt that the bamboo brush is one of the most common out there but just how to recycle bamboo toothbrushes is a question I keep getting asked.
My first thought is that this should be a very simple thing to do given that it is one of the, if not the most eco toothbrushes on the market however after doing some research I have found that it’s not actually that easy to recycle your bamboo toothbrush mainly because of the bristles. Depending on what those bristles are made from will depend on how, or even if you can, recycle your old toothbrush.
Let’s take a look at the options.
What is a Bamboo Toothbrush?
Bamboo toothbrushes are made from organic, biodegradable bamboo.
They are one of the most environmentally friendly toothbrushes on the market.
Bamboo is a sustainable resource that can be grown in diverse climates and is a fast-growing plant.
It also has antibacterial properties, making it a great option for toothbrushes.
Bamboo toothbrushes have been around since the 1960s and they’ve been increasing in popularity ever since then.
One of the main reasons for this is because they are eco-friendly and come with many great benefits to both your oral health and the environment.
The Benefits of Using a Bamboo Toothbrush
A bamboo toothbrush is a great alternative to plastic toothbrushes.
Here are just some of the benefits of using a bamboo brush:
- Bamboo is a natural material, so it’s eco-friendly and biodegradable.
- As mentioned bamboo is a sustainable crop making it ideal for making products that need to be replaced often.
- It’s odourless and tasteless, which makes it very easy to clean.
How Long Does a Bamboo Toothbrush Last?
So in most cases the toothbrush bristles usually wear out way before the handle and this is no different to bamboo toothbrushes.
The bristles on bamboo toothbrushes can be made from various materials including nylon and animal hair and so it is particularly difficult to give an accurate lifespan of your brush.
Having said that, if you do look after your bamboo toothbrush it will last anything up to 3 months before it needs to be replaced.
Most dentists would recommend changing your brush every 3 months no matter what it is made from.
How to Recycle a Bamboo Toothbrush
There are several steps when recycling a bamboo toothbrush
Step 1 – Before recycling consider whether to repurpose the toothbrush
Step 2 – Understand what the brush is made from
Step 3 – If the bristles are not biodegradable (not animal hair) then remove and recycle
Step 4 – Compost or discard the handle in the green (garden waste) bin
1) Can you reuse your bamboo toothbrush
Before you discard your bamboo toothbrush ask yourself whether you can repurpose it.
At the end of their useful dental life toothbrushes, whether they are made from bamboo or not, are great at cleaning things.
Any small item, especially those with difficult to reach areas can be cleaned with a toothbrush.
Computer keyboards, car interiors and alloy wheels, bathroom taps, kitchen equipment are just a few examples of items that can be effectively cleaned using a toothbrush.
All in all, a very useful addition to your household cleaning kit.
2) What is your Bamboo toothbrush made from
So the first thing to do is to recognise the components of the toothbrush and the materials that it’s made from.
Clearly the handle of a bamboo toothbrush will be made from bamboo and so this part of the brush can be easily processed.
Next you should check the bristles and confirm if they are made from animal hair.
If this is the case then the whole bamboo toothbrush can be either home composted or discarded in your garden waste bin.
However the bristles on most bamboo toothbrushes are made from some kind of nylon and this is where recycling becomes important.
3) Recycling Bamboo Toothbrushes with Nylon Bristles
If your toothbrush has nylon, or and other type of plastic bristles then these must be removed before you compost your brush as they won’t degrade any time soon.
Most bamboo toothbrush bristles can be removed using a pair of handheld pliers.
Tip: It will be much easier to grasp a few bristles at a time rather than attempt to pull out all the bristles at once.
Once you’ve removed all the nylon bristles that simply discard then in your recycling bin.
Another option, although not as effective is to snap off the head of the brush retaining most of the handle, then discard the head into the recycling bin.
4) Composting or Disposing of Your Bamboo Toothbrush
Once any nylon bristles have been removed the handle can now be either placed in your garden waste bin or composted.
If you have a home compost bin then this is an ideal place for your bamboo toothbrush to end up.
If conditions are right then your brush will take several months to compost down.
Can you compost bamboo toothbrushes?
As I’ve described above bamboo toothbrushes can be composted in a compost pile or turned into biomass.
Are bamboo toothbrushes safe to use?
Bamboo toothbrushes are becoming an increasingly popular option for people who want to switch from a traditional plastic toothbrush. Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial and biodegradable, making it a safe option for people who are environmentally conscious.
How to clean bamboo toothbrush?
Cleaning your bamboo toothbrush is really very simple. Just make sure you rinse thoroughly between uses and the most important thing is to ensure it does not sit in resting water and is allowed to dry after every use.
How to recycle bamboo toothbrushes is a question we get asked a lot and so I’ve enjoyed writing up this article
The key to understanding what to do with your bamboo toothbrush when it comes to the end of its life is in the bristles. They may of may not be made from material that can be composted and therefore would need to be removed from the head itself before you discard.
Of course, repurposing your toothbrush is so much better than recycling it and there are so many uses for bamboo toothbrushes once they finish being a toothbrush.
I’d love to hear from you, have you been able to recycle your old bamboo toothbrushes. Or have you repurposed them for use elsewhere. If so do let me know in the comments below.