Bamboo is an increasingly popular sustainable source material for everything from clothes to toothbrushes. It is one of the fastest growing plants and is compostable, naturally antibacterial and water-resistant.
With over 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes used every year in the world, it’s time to reduce this enormous volume of plastic going into landfill. Bamboo offers a more sustainable option.
Do bamboo toothbrushes last as long as plastic toothbrushes?
With proper care (which includes allowing your bamboo toothbrush to air dry) bamboo toothbrushes can last up to 3 months. This is similar to many plastic toothbrushes as the bristles wear at about the same rate.
Once composted, they will last thousands of years less than a plastic toothbrush.
1. Brush With Bamboo (California)
One of the few completely plant-based toothbrushes on the market. Vegan-friendly.
Handle: Sustainably harvested Moso Bamboo (panda’s don’t enjoy eating this type of bamboo). Compostable.
Bristles: Made from 100% castor-bean oil instead of nylon. Unlike the handle, the bristles are not compostable and should be removed with pliers prior to disposal. The bristles can be recycled with TerraCycle or some local recycling facilities.
100% compostable paper packaging with non-toxic ink.
Link to Brush With Bamboo
2. The Other Straw (Australia)
The Other Straw aims to further reduce waste by releasing a bamboo toothbrush with a replaceable head. This not only makes it easy for travel but when it comes time to replace your toothbrush you only need to replace the brush head. Vegan-friendly.
Handle: FSC Certified and organically grown Bamboo. Replaceable bamboo head.
Bristles: BPA-free nylon bristles.
Packaging: Compostable packaging. Zero waste and carbon-neutral.
Link to The Other Straw
3. Eco Roots (USA)
Certified vegan and cruelty free Eco Roots sustainable bamboo toothbrushes have a 100% compostable handle.
Handle: Sustainably harvested bamboo.
Bristles: BPA-free nylon bristles. Infused with charcoal. Can be recycled through TerraCycle.
Packaging: Plastic-free and recyclable cardboard packaging.
Link to Eco Roots
4. Biome (Australia)
These Biome toothbrushes have a unique bristle tapered in a needle shape designed for a thinner and more flexible bristle that gives a better clean and softer feel. Vegan-friendly.
Handle: Sustainably grown Moso Bamboo handle. Heat treated so no varnish is required.
Bristles: BPA-free PBT Polyester bristles – Biome state that these are longer lasting than nylon bristles due to being less water absorbent (and therefore less likely to harbour germs).
Bristles are pressed into the handle – no glue is used.
Tapered needle shape.
Recyclable packaging. Bamboo travel cases are also available.
Link to Biome
5. The Humble Co. (Sweden)
This brand was founded by a dentist, Noel Abdayem. They offer eco-friendly toothbrushes with a choice of colours. Choose from pink, yellow, blue, black or white bristles. Certified vegan and cruelty-free.
Handle: 100% biodegradable and sustainably-grown bamboo. Treated with non-toxic, natural wax.
Bristles: BPA-free nylon-6.
Packaging: Recycled and recyclable / compostable packaging.
Link to The Humble Co.
6. Mable (California)
Mable’s added point of difference and convenience is their self-standing bamboo toothbrush design. Their toothbrushes also come in a range of colours from plant-based and non-toxic paint that is biodegradable.
Handle: Responsibly sourced bamboo, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Bristles: BPA-free nylon.
Packaging: Plastic-free packaging.
Link to Mable
Are there any negatives to bamboo?
Bamboo has a lot going for it – it takes about 6 months to break down, is naturally antibacterial and water resistance, and it grows quickly.
As with any purchase, it’s important to be aware of how the company you buy from grows and harvests their bamboo and any impact on panda food supply.
There is still a carbon footprint in transporting bamboo (generally from China). This can be reduced by purchasing directly from a local store rather than ordering online. Another option is to buy in bulk.
High demand for bamboo means much of the land in China is being re-planted as bamboo and creating changes to existing ecosystems.
At this stage, the bristles are not compostable.
Whilst there are still some areas for improvement with bamboo toothbrushes, overall they offer an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic toothbrushes. Especially if you opt for one with a replaceable head (such as The Other Straw).
For more information on greenwashing, check out this link.
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