Plastic toothbrushes are another part of our plastic waste story. According to research by Foreo, 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away annually in the United States. This is 50 million pounds of waste added to landfills.
So why are toothbrushes so bad for the environment? They’re made from polypropylene plastic and nylon, which come from fossil fuels. Like so much other plastic that’s thrown away, toothbrushes often end up in waterways and oceans.
According to Oceana, plastic is ending up on beaches and is harming marine life. Wieteke Holthuijzen, a bird researcher studying animals on Midway, a Hawaiian atoll, has seen the destruction firsthand. “I remember seeing an adult come back to feed its chick, and it was having a really hard time regurgitating something. Then it regurgitated a toothbrush — and the chick ate it. It’s awful but actually happens here quite a bit.”
These plastic objects slice stomachs and digestive organs. Sometimes if a plastic item gets lodged, the animal will suffocate. According to National Geographic, every toothbrush that’s been produced since the 1930s still exists on the planet. Many of them are trash.
Plastic alternatives like bamboo toothbrushes are catching on as replacements.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Emma Priestland told HuffPost UK about bamboo compared to plastic, “Bamboo toothbrush handles can take around six months to compost, while a plastic one takes hundreds of years to fully break down.” Priestland advises consumers to check the ingredient list, it should say that the item is fully plastic free.
The average person uses 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime. Make sure yours is plastic free!
There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!
To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below:
- Marine Animals that are Dying because of our Plastic Habit
- Where Plastic Really Goes When You Throw it Out
- 5 Documentaries to make you Rethink Single-Use Plastics
- 6 Million Tons of Single-Use Plastics Get Thrown Out Every Year!
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