Why Bamboo Toothbrushes Are Not Always Good for The Environment – And What You Can Do About It

Updated: Sep 14, 2019


Why Bamboo Toothbrushes Are Not Always Good for The Environment


By and large, bamboo toothbrushes are a blessing to the world.


Let’s all take a moment to raise our glasses (or teacups or coffee mugs) to bamboo toothbrushes, because they really are one of the many reasons the world is becoming a better place. The eco friendly bamboo brush phenomenon is spreading like wildfire, but with the opposite result, because nature blesses us every time a biodegradable toothbrush falls into the teeming compost bins of eco friendly homes, instead of adding another straw to the camel’s back of landfills and oceans polluted with floating islands of trash.


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Bamboo toothbrush handles are crafted entirely out of bamboo. The fact that they look really cool is the least of their benefits – bamboo is naturally antibacterial and will execute any germs that desire to take up residence on your toothbrush, and it’s also 100 % biodegradable. Bamboo is eco friendly in other ways too: plants grow shockingly fast and don’t need pesticides or fertilizers – they are nurtured using simple organic farming techniques.


But there's one fly in the ointment.


There is one major caveat to some bamboo brushes, however. Not all bamboo brushes are created equal. It comes down to the bristles.


Some bamboo brushes have bristles made from pig hair. Although it’s fully biodegradable, this hair is generally harvested from massive farms, where environmental problems and the animals’ well-being aren’t taken into consideration.


Nylon toothbrush bristles are generally the choice of vegans or those who don’t support the mass meat trade. Nylon-4 is biodegradable under certain conditions, is environmentally friendly and performs well. It’s a win-win.


However, here’s the major drawback: not all nylon bristles on bamboo brushes are Nylon-4. Some are the non-biodegradable Nylon-6. And some toothbrushes that claim Nylon-4 bristles are actually packing Nylon-6.


The reason for this is that toothbrushes are often manufactured or packed in countries that don’t have very stringent labeling guidelines, or that don’t always have conscientious quality control systems in place. Or sometimes, people just test the limits of what they can get away with.


Here's what you can do about it.


Firstly, check the label. If it states Nylon-6 and you’re looking for something that’s fully compostable, it’s a no-go.


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However, our best tip for buying right every time is to develop a relationship with a brand you and your household can genuinely trust. A brand that’s proven to have their priorities straight and to have your back time and again. That way you can make your purchase knowing that your hard-earned greenback is supporting a good cause, and that every molecule of your brush helps in the effort to beautify this planet.



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Why Bamboo Toothbrushes Are Not Always Good for The Environment – And What You Can Do About It


Written by Rifke

About the Author


Rifke Hill was raised on the sort of farm your grandparents told tales about – milking cows, gathering eggs, hoeing the soil, and building fires to heat water. She now spends part of her time copywriting online as a freelancer. The rest of it is spent nurturing and teaching her four energetic children, growing vegetables, baking bread, reading voraciously, having coffee with the neighbors, and enjoying the sunny slopes of the smallholding where she lives, in the Garden Route, South Africa.


#bambootoothbrush #ecofriendly #biodegradable #organicfarming #nature


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