The Environmental Impact Of Using Plastic Toothbrushes

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When most people think about the current state of the environment, the first things that come to mind are probably not the things you use around your home every day like your toothbrush. The truth is, though, household items have a drastic impact on the environment, and it is not always in a positive way.

If you use plastic toothbrushes, for example, you could be contributing to a growing problem that is hurting our planet. Here are some things you need to know about plastic toothbrushes and how they are impacting the environment:

The Number Of Toothbrushes Discarded Each Year Is Shocking

The average person goes through a few toothbrushes per year. That may not seem like a lot at first glance, but if you take that number and multiply it across the world, the results are staggering. The number of plastic toothbrushes that get discarded every single year is in the billions. Most of those toothbrushes either end up floating in the ocean where they can damage ecosystems or filling up giant landfills.

The Dangers of Making Plastic For Toothbrushes

The problems that plastic toothbrushes cause go beyond just what happens after they are thrown away; the manufacturing processes that are used to make brush handles and bristles impact the environment as well.

Handles for plastic toothbrushes are made from hard plastics that get created out of crude oil. The rubber in the handle of your toothbrush also requires petroleum and crude oil, non-renewable resources, to be produced, which means oil wells are constantly being drilled and non-biodegradable products are being made just to be thrown away.

Bristles that are made out of pure nylon undergo manufacturing processes that release greenhouse gasses like nitrous oxide into the atmosphere as well, which can contribute to global warming.

Plastic Electric Toothbrushes Cause Even More Problems

Manual toothbrushes are not the only toothbrushes that use plastic to be created. Electric toothbrushes are typically made from plastic and rubber as well. Unfortunately, there are other negative impacts that electric toothbrushes cause, too.

To operate, many electric toothbrushes run on batteries. Even rechargeable batteries end up needing replaced over time and these batteries often get discarded into landfills where the battery acid leaks into nearby streams and rivers, harming the ecosystem.

Alternatives Are Available

While plastic toothbrushes can be very harmful to the environment, there are a few alternatives that can help reduce the damage being done by household items. Using toothbrushes from recycled material is one option, but the best alternative is to simply avoid using plastics at all. Toothbrushes made from bamboo handles not only function better, they are more environmentally responsible as well.