When you brush your teeth each morning, your mind is probably wandering a little. Do I have enough milk left for my cereal? Why do my pyjamas even need pockets? Chances are you're not thinking about waste -and yet toothbrushes are a massive contributor to landfills:
Around 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide each year. Made of polypropylene and nylon, they end up in landfill or oceans.
Dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months - around 300 brushes of waste in a lifetime! Centuries after you're gone, these plastic toothbrushes will still be here - washed up on a beach, eaten by an albatross, or buried deep in a landfill.
Switching out your plastic toothbrush for compostable bamboo is a no-brainer.
ABOVE: A BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH WILL DECOMPOSE NATURALLY, UNLIKE PLASTIC
You have to wonder who came up with the bright idea of putting microbeads - tiny bits of plastic - in our toothpaste, facewash, shower gels and cosmetics.
Microbeads are a disaster for our marine life - they end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Small fish mistake them for food and gobble them up - which sends them up the food chain to your plate of fish and chips.
Former President Obama (*cue the nostalgic sigh*) signed the Micro-Bead Free Waters Act in 2015, and other countries started to follow. In January 2018, the UK banned microplastics in “wash-off” cosmetics (excluding make-up and sunscreen). It's only a small step, but it shows that public pressure can make a difference.
So the good news is, your toothpaste is now plastic-free. But it doesn’t end there: toothpaste tubes are almost impossible to recycle. They’re made from plastic and aluminium fused together - once these guys get together it’s very difficult to separate them. If you want to brush your teeth without any plastic impact, consider switching to a natural alternative.
FLOSS AND MOUTHWASH
Nature already provides a luxurious, soft and strong material that is perfect to use as dental floss and 100% biodegradable – silk. So why are we are we throwing miles of nylon string into landfill? Trying a gentle silk alternative is much more enjoyable, so you won't have to lie to your dentist at your next visit!
ABOVE: WHY USE NYLON? NATURAL SILK IS A PERFECT ALTERNATIVE FOR DENTAL FLOSS
Commercial mouthwashes can be extremely harsh, and make your tooth issues even worse. Here's a fun fact - Listerine was originally sold as a floor cleaner and a cure for gonorrhea. Why is that somehow not surprising? If you need a little extra freshness, there are gentle plastic-free alternatives that are much better for you.