The bamboo toothbrush may seem like a modern invention, but this is far from the truth. The first toothbrushes were made from bamboo, bone, and animal hair from as early as the 7th century; in fact, the plastic toothbrush wasn’t invented until 1938. Since then, billions of plastic toothbrushes have been produced, used, and thrown away.
Worldwide, over 3 billion plastic toothbrushes are disposed of each year. This waste ends up on landfills, or worse: in the sea. Thankfully, there is an environmentally friendly alternative…
There are many benefits to be gained from switching from a plastic to a bamboo toothbrush. These range from the multiple and obvious environmental benefits, to the more personal benefits. In fact, you would struggle to find a reason not to switch. Here are just a few of the benefits of making the switch to a bamboo toothbrush.
Because the handle is made from 100% bamboo, it can go straight into the compost heap to then fertilise plants. Furthermore, many bamboo toothbrushes use animal hair, or a biodegradable form of nylon, resulting in similarly biodegradable bristles. However, even with non-compostable bristles, these eco-friendly toothbrushes still eliminate the need for at least 90% of the plastic used in traditional toothbrush production.
It’s safe to burn.
If you don’t have a compost heap, you can dispose of your used bamboo toothbrushes by burning it. Have a wood burning fire? Use it as kindling! When burned, bamboo doesn’t release any toxic gases, unlike its plastic counterpart, which releases toxic gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. Moreover, bamboo is carbon-neutral, meaning the only carbon dioxide it releases when burned is that which it has drawn from the atmosphere in the first place.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that, with all the environmental and personal benefits, you’d have to sacrifice on the price. There’s good news for you: online, there is little difference in price between the traditional plastic and the bamboo toothbrush. One drawback, however, is that it is still difficult to get your hands on a bamboo toothbrush at the supermarket or on the high street.
It may have health benefits.
The plastics which are used to make the handle of the plastic toothbrush; like polyethylene and polypropylene, have been proven to have issues with chemical leaching (aka chemicals seeping out); these harmful chemicals can end up in our blood stream. In one population that was tested, the majority of test subjects were found to have these harmful chemicals in their blood stream and urine samples. Whilst attention has been drawn to the danger of leaching from plastic food containers, this health risk is still widely unknown.
In general, keeping these plastics away from our mouths (and out of our toothbrushes) can only be a good thing. In contrast, the natural materials used to make the bamboo toothbrush don’t contain any harmful chemicals, making it a healthier, natural option.
The production process is eco-friendly.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants, meaning that its stocks can be replenished easily and quickly, reducing the need for large amounts of space. Therefore, growing bamboo does not contribute to problems such as deforestation. Also, they are hardy and do not need to be sprayed with pesticide, which similarly benefits the environment.
Further along the production line, the handle on the bamboo toothbrush is usually handcrafted with minimal use of electronic machinery. Comparatively, the plastic toothbrush is produced in a factory, which uses many machines and automated process in order to produce the final product. As a result, more energy is used in the production of the plastic toothbrush, making it environmentally inferior to the bamboo alternative.
It’s aesthetically pleasing.
Whilst this might be the most trivial benefit to having a bamboo toothbrush, it’s still worth mentioning. When you compare the sleek, wooden, appealing design of the bamboo toothbrush, to the unsightly plastic alternative, it’s obvious which one has style-appeal. For those who are into design, and know that quality is in the details, the choice between the two toothbrushes is obvious.
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