Take a look around your bathroom and you’re likely to see a lot of products in plastic packaging. Paper boxes and toilet paper rolls are easily recycled in your bin at home, but what about the tricky stuff like toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes? Your San Luis Obispo dentist Dr. Michael Colleran has the answers!
That’s right, you CAN recycle your toothbrush! (As well as old tubes of toothpaste.) The plastic in toothbrushes can be reused in nearly anything from lawn furniture to plastic containers. The hard part is separating the different materials in the toothbrush – plastic handles, nylon bristles, and metal to hold the bristles in place.
We recommend you switch out your old toothbrush every three months or after an illness. This ensures your toothbrush is clean and bacteria free, and that the bristles are in the best shape to actually clean your teeth.
While good for your oral health, consuming four toothbrushes every year is not great for our limited resources on this beautiful planet we call Earth. You don’t have to be a total hippie to care about reducing waste, and thoughtfully getting rid of ANYTHING, including old toothbrushes or toothpaste tubes, can be really simple and make an impact on sustainability.
How to Recycle
There are a number of ways you can go green with your oral hygiene routine. First and foremost, consider buying toothbrushes already made of recycled materials. Buying products made from recycled materials is an important part of the recycling cycle. You can easily recycle the simple stuff like cardboard boxes and plastic mouthwash bottles right from home.
As for recycling your toothbrush or tricky toothpaste tubes, you either need to disassemble and clean them yourself before dropping them off at a center, or you can mail them to a company that will prepare them for you. Be sure to check the packaging to see what kind of plastic they are made of. You can find recycling centers by searching online, Earth911.com is a helpful resource. Call your local center to make sure they accept the kind of plastic you have.
Companies that take toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes in the mail include Colgate, Tom’s of Maine, and Preserve (though Preserve only accepts their own toothbrushes). Both Colgate and Tom’s of Maine partner with a larger company called TerraCycle which recycles nearly everything.
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
About Dr. Colleran
Dr. Colleran is a nationally renowned dental author and lecturer and an expert on laser dentistry. He has spoken across the country on laser dentistry and had articles appear in several professional journals. He is also sought after by dental manufacturers as a consultant for product evaluation and research. Dr. Colleran is an instructor for the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry, which teaches LANAP and other laser dental procedures to dentists from across the globe.
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