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Can Toothbrushes be Recycled? Re-purpose Instead!

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Most of the stuff in your bathroom is probably made up of plastic. Things like paper boxes and toilet paper rolls get easily recycled in your bin. But have you ever thought about toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes? We go through so many toothbrushes a year that we need to know can toothbrushes be recycled?

As we’re specifically talking about toothbrushes, let’s get straight to the point. Can toothbrushes be recycled?

The short answer is yes, toothbrushes can be recycled. However the long answer is explained below.

The long answer

Okay so yes I stated toothbrushes can be recycled. But here’s the catchy part. Most recycle places won’t take a toothbrush due to the challenge of removing nylon bristles. Usually even companies that claim to be 100% recyclable, it is only the toothbrush handle they are referring to.

Recycle Your Toothbrush 

Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three months under normal conditions. If you were sick, you should change your toothbrush right after you get back to feeling better.

This makes it where you end up with quite a few used toothbrushes every few months. So, what is the right way to recycle them?

Typically, a toothbrush is made up of hard plastic and nylon bristles. They also come in plastic packages. Unfortunately, they do not biodegrade and when tossed in the bin, they certainly do a lot of waste. This is where recycling centers come in handy.

Plastic toothbrushes are now being used for nearly anything from plastic containers to lawn furniture. However, it takes quite an effort to separate nylon bristles, plastic, and the metal used to keep plastic and nylon bristles together. 

Importance of Recycling Your Toothbrush

As discussed earlier, we tend to change our toothbrush every three months to avoid bacteria and promote oral health. And tossing four toothbrushes in the bin every year is not so eco-friendly for our beautiful planet. That’s why, there’s a great need to recycle any to everything that does not biodegrade – including toothbrushes as well as toothpaste. 

How to Recycle Toothbrushes? 

There are different ways to recycle toothbrushes and go green without compromising your oral health routine. The very simple method of recycling toothbrushes is by using the ones that are already made up of recycled materials.

For example, you can simply buy a recyclable toothbrush such as a bamboo toothbrush on Amazon.

The Preserve toothbrush is pretty cool. They have won “BEST for the Earth” several years in a row. They make their toothbrushes from used yogurt containers.

After three months, you can either toss it in the blue bin with other recyclables or put it in the postage-paid envelop that comes with the toothbrush packaging and send it back. In simple words, you can simply return it to the manufacturing company once you’re done with it. 

How to Recycle Electric Toothbrushes?

Last but not least, electric toothbrushes also need to be recycled. Some electric toothbrushes come with rechargeable batteries that can be recycled. The heavy metals like zinc, nickel, and cadmium can be quite dangerous for environment. Be sure to find an electronics recycling center in your area and dispose of it.  

I recommend an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush any day of the week. There are many reasons why (you can see HERE). But one of them is because there is less waste than with a manual brush. With an electric toothbrush you are only replacing the small replacement head as to an entire toothbrush. Less waste=better for environment.

Re-purpose your toothbrush

Since most companies won’t take your old toothbrush. I always recommend re-purposing your old toothbrush.

When it comes to toothbrushes, there are dozens of ways you can squeeze a little more extra usefulness out of it. Just to let you know, it’s not necessary to use your toothbrush only for the teeth – especially if you’re done with it. In this regard, you can use a toothbrush in the following ways:

  • Clean your bathroom
  • Clean your jewelry
  • Clean shoes
  • Scrub sports gear
  • Make garden makers
  • Clean cooking appliances

In conclusion

Help save our environment but re-purposing or recycling your toothbrushes. Find an environmentally friendly toothbrush or find another way to re-use your old toothbrush.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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