The Bamboo Toothbrush –
a Better Ocean Alternative to Disposable Plastic

Photo credit: Saving Ocean Wildlife

Can you recycle a toothbrush? Even after all these years of working on environmental issues, I was not truly sure. I’d seen the “Preserve” toothbrushes and had done the return mail-in thing but really could you just recycle a toothbrush? I was not too sure. I needed a new toothbrush so I started by purchasing a bamboo one and we will see how that goes. Hopefully it is a step in the right direction. But, I was still left with an old toothbrush – faded and gross. It could definitely be something to use for cleaning nooks and crannies but ultimately where did this plastic go and could it be recycled?

How to recycle a toothbrush

So I did what all of us do when we do not know how to do something.  A quick check on Google on how to recycle a toothbrush brought up a number of different and interesting responses. The first response was to call my local recycling authority and ask them. How many of us even know who our local recycling authority is? And in my case, I had recently moved so the information was not exactly like this was something I had at my fingertips. Another Google response told me to take the toothbrush to participating Whole Foods retailers who would take the toothbrush back. I guess you would have to live in an affluent enough community to have a Whole Foods and that is really not an option for the majority of Americans. So, what else was out there? The third option was from National Geographic which explained that toothbrushes aren’t recyclable because the “composite plastic used to create them doesn’t break apart efficiently and chunks get stuck in recycling machinery.”

Choosing alternatives to plastic products

Wow! Three responses and nothing all that helpful and this is for an item that is ubiquitous in every home. How could it be this frustrating? Where do we need to go and to what lengths to recycle a toothbrush? If it wasn’t going to be recycled and just landfilled then it would seem to me that an alternative other than a plastic toothbrush is the way to go. Something that is made out of bamboo or is naturally occurring and will break down is always a better choice than plastic. For now I am very happy with the bamboo toothbrush I purchased from CVS which was their private brand label. So props to CVS for the bamboo toothbrush!

If you have any stories of recycling and how best to recycle your toothbrush please share them with us. We look forward to hearing from you!

FREE Ocean wildlife guide!

Click here for your free guide to learn about the animals and find out which are endangered.


Report Ocean Animals Dead or in Distress
If you see it, PLEASE say it! Use our handy reporting tool any time you come across a dead or distressed ocean animal. This will immediately notify NOAA so they can get the appropriate organization involved to help remove or free the animal in need!


Ten Personal Actions You Can Take
Whether it is through a donation of time, money or resources or picking-up plastic trash, here are ten ideas for your personal action plan to save ocean wildlife!

Please donate to help save the animals.



Comments are closed