One of those things you don’t think about when you start going green and begin to reduce household waste is what to do about toothbrushes and toothpaste. Normal toothbrushes aren’t recyclable, and toothpaste is full of environmental nasties. So, what to do?
Luckily, the solution for 100% zero waste, earth- and body-friendly clean teeth is pretty simple! Introducing the Environmental Toothbrush. The handle is made of bamboo and can be tossed into your compost heap or indoor composter when it needs replacing, and the bristles are recyclable. Just like normal toothbrushes, the company recommends that you replace it every 3 months, but as long as you keep it clean and allow it to dry well after each use, it can last longer. Price wise, they compare pretty well with normal toothbrushes, at around R45 per toothbrush. In South Africa you can find them at Wellness Warehouse, Faithful to Nature, and probably other health stores as well.
And what about toothpaste? Well, most recipes for homemade toothpaste include baking soda and salt, while the other ingredients vary (coconut oil, mint oil, etc). So to me what it boils down to is baking soda and salt, both of which are obviously completely natural and earth friendly, not to mention the money you’ll save! I’ve been brushing with just baking soda for about two weeks now and my teeth are less sensitive and whiter than they have been in a while. Both baking soda and salt usually come in recyclable containers, and presto, your clean teeth no longer have to produce waste for the landfills.
My brushing routine is the following. I’m not saying you have to do it this way, but it’s been working for me. Also this may be TMI, but oh well, such is the Green journey.
- Use the non-bristled end of the toothbrush to scoop a bit of baking soda into my mouth.
- Swish it around a bit (no extra water, just good old spit) to get rid of any food bits or strong smells (like fish) so that the smell doesn’t soak into the bamboo toothbrush.
- Spit it out and rinse out my mouth with water.
- Scoop some more baking soda into my mouth and swish it around a bit again.
- Start brushing, dipping the bristles into the baking soda paste, wherever it’s accumulated in your mouth, and brush as you normally would.
- Spit it out and rinse well with water.
- Rinse the toothbrush well with water and then store it somewhere where it will be able to air dry thoroughly.
That’s it! I’ll do an update post in two or three months and link it here to let you know whether I’ve added anything to my toothpaste or not, and how it’s been working for me.