February 14, 2012

Pucker Up - January 3rd

Although this is the January 3rd posting (due to my belated start to 2012) the posting date is February 14th so this post has a Valetine's Day theme.  Since many people will be bestowing gifts of chocolates, flowers, and kisses today I thought a post on oral hygiene would be appropriate.

Over the past couple of years a blog I read occasionally is The Zero Waste Home.  I was introduced to the blog by a Sunset magazine article that I found incredibly interesting.  Although Amelia and I are nowhere close to being as low-refuse as this family, reading the blog gave me many ideas about how we could lessen our environmental footprint, in ways large, medium, and small.  One suggestion I took from that blog was to change our toothbrushes to a compostable variety.


An estimated 50 million pounds of toothbrushes are deposited in U.S. landfills annually per an E Magazine article from 2005.  (My rough estimate would be about 38 million pounds based on 2 toothbrushes per person per year, at a weight of 1 ounce per toothbrush but the 50 million sounds pretty reasonable.)

Since most toothbrushes are made primarily or entirely of plastic they remain in existence for many (most likely hundreds) of years.

There are a few different brands of compostable toothbrushes available, at a similar cost to the standard plastic toothbrush.  We've used Izola brushes for the past year or so and really like them.  The bristles seem to last longer than our old toothbrushes but maybe it's because we only brush once a week to save water.  Just kidding, for now at least.  Another brand I've seen recommended is The Environmental Toothbrush, but since it's from Australia I believe the cost is higher for U.S. shoppers.

Suggested action steps:

1) Purchase compostable toothbrush
2) Use old plastic toothbrush as a cleaning tool
3) Brush and floss daily
4) Kiss someone daily, or more frequently

Please let me know if you have any comments, compliments, criticisms, or questions regarding this post or have suggestions for future posts.

Happy Valentine's Day / January 3rd Holiday!


  1. What are compostable toothbrushes made of?

  2. Both of the two noted above are made of bamboo, which has become a pretty popular choice for making items that decompose fairly quickly.

  3. I'm surprised its not marketed as a bambooth brush.

  4. I like the idea of bamboo. Was at the food co-op yesterday and saw a toothbrush by Eco-dent that has replaceable bristles. I haven't used it but plan to try it out. I love their toothpowder and highly recommend it if you are looking for a alternative to the chemical laden toothpaste on the shelves.

  5. Thanks for the heads up on the toothpowder Renee. I'm definitely planning a post on toothpaste / powder in the future but haven't yet got powder for our family. One of the things on the never ending 'to do' list. Now that I have a specific recommendation I should be able to cross it off the list pretty soon. :)

  6. Thought this was interesting and pertained to the article, relates more to the fluoride in toothpaste. http://www.airandaqua.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/tapwater.png

  7. Sorry, wrong link on the one before. This is the correct site http://www.airandaqua.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/tapwater.png