About 4 percent of the world’s crude oil production, or 500,000 tons per day, goes towards making plastics.
In many cases, this won’t be recycled and is used for stuff we can either really do without or manufacture from different materials. What, for instance, about objects we use every day and replace frequently, like toothbrushes?
These bamboo versions come in a pack of eight, meaning that each brush costs about the same as a cheap plastic equivalent, and are numbered up to 4 to avoid family members accidentally sharing a toothbrush. Marking the handle with a little nail polish may be a better solution, though.
More significantly, the bristles are treated with activated carbon, which is great at absorbing impurities and keeping your teeth white. People who use them claim that their teeth feel cleaner and their breath fresher than with a normal toothbrush, so you may want to try these out even if you aren’t particularly concerned about environmental issues.
What’s less appealing is that their bristles are made from nylon, which isn’t biodegradable.
You will still be adding to landfill waste and perhaps the growing oceanic plastic microparticle problem. That is, unless you want to pluck each of them out (which the toothbrush’s design is supposed to prevent, at least in normal use), combine these fibers with similar plastics and ship them off to be recycled. Few people will be happy to do so.
In other words, these toothbrushes reduce the amount of discarded plastic by perhaps 95%, but it’s a little disingenuous to call them biodegradable. While any step in the right direction is to be applauded, this company loses points for not making this shortcoming clear.