• How do I dispose of my Bamboo Toothbrush Properly?

June 12, 2019

How do I dispose of my Bamboo Toothbrush Properly?

So a month or two has gone by and your new subscription Bamboogaloo toothbrush has arrived through the letterbox, hurray!

You’ve followed our upcycling tips and put your used bamboo toothbrushes to work in your house - cleaning, dusting, gardening and all the wonderful pro tips we gave you in another post on our blog!

Now, some months later, the ceremony begins! Sadly it’s time to lay your wonderful piece of handcrafted bamboo to rest (remember, last resort guys!)

A big pat on your back (if you can reach!) - you’ve put a big smile on mother earth’s face!

But it needs to be disposed of correctly to ensure maximum benefit to our planet.

Well, it’s really easy! In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to stay green and dispose of your toothbrush properly, ensuring it returns safely into the earth as quickly as possible.


Step-by-Step: How to dispose of your Bamboo Toothbrush so it biodegrades safely

 

Step 1: Pull out the Bristles

We are talking around 0.8g of nylon here people! Now, compared to a whole plastic toothbrush I would say that YOU and Bamboogaloo are doing rather well!

So because the bristles are not biodegradable, it means if you want to be a true eco-warrior, you should remove them and dispose of them separately to the bamboo toothbrush handle.

Like many items, nylon bristles aren't readily recyclable yet, so you'll need to check with your local authority regarding the best way to dispose of this 1% of your bamboo toothbrush.

We personally pull our bristles out and put them in eco-bricks and we've had information from some of our followers saying they do the same.

It’s sad that at this stage in toothbrush development, there are no biodegradable bristles (besides pig hair, yuuk!) – no matter what some companies may say ‘biodegradable eco nylon 4’ does not exist!

We’ve been lied to and made this mistake early on in our journey, for now – until we can develop a biodegradable bristle (we are working on it!) we’ve chosen the highest quality nylon-6, which comes recommended by dentists and is the industry standard material in oral health.

 

 

Here are 2 ways to separate the bamboo handle from the nylon bristles

1) Pull them out with pliers

This is what we recommend. Sound like hard work? Well it’s not, it’s really easy. Don’t try to pull out too many bristles in one go, a small ‘pinch’ at a time will make the process is easier.

Top tip: Use a slight ‘rolling’ action, this will smoothly ease out the bristles and the tiny metal staple that keeps them in place, keeping it a clean and easy task.

 

2) Snap off the head!

If you don’t have pliers, you can snap off the toothbrush head until you do. That way you can be composting your handle without having to wait.

Top tip: Maybe you want to upcycle just the head or store up your ‘heads’ and pull all your bristles out next year? Either way, don’t forget!

 

How to safely compost your Bamboo Toothbrush

Ok, so you’ve safely pulled out your bristles and you’re left with just bamboo, if you can’t think of any further way to upcycle it (chopsticks anyone?) then it’s time to talk composting.

Bamboo will 100% biodegrade, but you still need to think about exactly how you will do this, to make sure it breaks down as quickly as possible.

If you want it to break down fast, then municipal garden waste 'compost' conditions are always favourable when compared to your own back garden.

We recommend putting it in your garden waste bin to be disposed of by your local authority in an industrial composter. M
ost local authorities do this now, it's a 'green bin' where we live. Following this tip should ensure it breaks down in just a few months.

Don’t fret! You can also put it in a home composter as well. Even if you just throw it into your normal rubbish bin it will still biodegrade within a year or two in landfill.

There’s a reason Bamboo is so great to make toothbrushes from, it’s a robust and rot-resistant material. The time it takes to biodegrade all depends on the conditions; is it buried in the soil or on top of the soil, how wet is it, and it is dry or cold?

So, how long are we talking…

 

Throw it in the garden and hope for the best

If you do this it might take as long as 5-10 years to fully break down! It has to be the right conditions for it to be fast (as mentioned, can be just a few weeks!)

 

What about if I just bury it in the soil?

Buried horizontally in the soil, it will take around 2-3 years.

 

Your home composter

Depending on the composition of your compost, a home composter should take around 4-6 months. Not bad eh.

Pro Tip: Saw or break the toothbrush down into small pieces with a hammer or saw to speed up the decomposition process.

 

Municipal Waste conditions

Like ours, your local authority has probably set up a great system to break down your garden waste and food scraps. The 'industrial' conditions that local authorities have set up ensure 'break down' as fast as possible. All in all - a much hotter and more active than any home composter. An industrial composter should break a toothbrush down in just a month or so!

 

Related Articles:

Upcycling your Bamboo Toothbrush





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