Something as tiny as a plastic toothbrush can have a large environmental impact when you really start to think about it. If we all replace our disposable toothbrushes every four months (as recommended), we would toss out 1 billion toothbrushes in the U.S. every year. Worldwide it means a staggering 23 billion plastic toothbrushes are sent to the landfill!
Those plastic toothbrushes aren't recyclable either. Made from a polymer composite, curbside recycling programs are not equipped to break apart the mixed plastic handles. The odd shape of the toothbrush also makes it difficult to sort on conveyor belts and a likely culprit for jamming machines. Although some mail-in programs like Preserve and TerraCycle exist, they aren't widely available. Recycling plastic toothbrushes simply isn't the solution.
This post was sponsored by Oath Essentials. As always, only products that meet our high sustainability standards are reviewed and all opinions are our own!
If you want to get rid of the majority of the plastic in a toothbrush, replace its handle with bamboo. Bamboo is a plant product that allows the toothbrush to be composted after use. Bamboo is also a very fast growing plant, which makes it typically a more sustainable option than wood with a smaller carbon footprint.
Bamboo toothbrushes are not all the same however, and you will want to do your research before investing in a brand. I, for one, struggled to find a bamboo toothbrush that didn't come with particularly hard bristles. Some toothbrushes are also marked as "plastic free" and then shipped to you in plastic mailers (ugh!). Most companies also don't address what material the bristles are made with or how to dispose of them properly. That's why I am excited to introduce Oath Essentials!
Purchasing Your Toothbrush from Oath
Oath Essentials is a company based in Canada that sells bamboo toothbrushes, compostable floss, and stainless steel straws. The company is unique because they believe in full product transparency and don't hide information embedded deep in their website. Want to know where your floss was made? They give you a map with exact details. Want to know why they chose metal over glass? The answer is right on the product page!
Oath also openly gives out the exact information of who their suppliers are and provides reports conducted on the suppliers and supply chain. Oath is Leaping Bunny Certified and is on the way to becoming a zero waste business under Zero Waste Canada as well.
As for their bamboo toothbrushes, the bristles are soft, making my gums quite happy and healthy. Oath also explains that the bristles are made from BPA-free nylon 6 and should be pulled out and placed in the trash bin before composting the handle. Their toothbrushes are simply packaged in a paper box for shipping. No plastic wrapping. No plastic tape. No plastic labels.
Zero Waste Floss
Oath Essentials also sells a plastic free floss made from silk. If you're concerned that the silk production process kills the tiny worms, they address that right on their website! The floss is actually cruelty-free because the cocoons are harvested only after the moths have flown away. So no moths were harmed in the making of your compostable floss!
Because the floss is made from silk, it can (and should) be composted. In a backyard compost bin it will take about a year for the floss to break down, according to their website. The floss comes in a stainless steel container that can be recycled if your curbside program accepts metal. The metal container is also a plus if you have ever dropped your glass floss container and sent splinters all over your bathroom floor.
Plastic Free Packaging
When you get your bamboo toothbrush and floss in the mail, you can rest easy knowing that there won't be any hidden plastic in the package either. Oath Essentials uses only packaging supplied from EcoEnclose - a plastic free packaging company! They send their products in paper mailers, use cardboard paper "bubble wrap", and use water-activated tape with corn starch adhesive.
From the product to the packaging, Oath Essentials believes in plastic waste reduction and customer education.