How many toothbrushes do you use a year? One? (Ok, hopefully more than one) 12? More?… How do you dispose of them? Any idea of how long do you think they last in amongst all of the other trash that ends up in the dump? Hundreds to thousands of years… That’s long after the lifetime of your grandchildren’s grandchildren’s children. Do you really want them to accidentally dig up your gross old toothbrush?!
A company out of Berlin is working on bringing more sustainable toothbrushes to the world; they are biobrush. I was able to chat to some of the members of the company a little while ago at a blogger event in Cologne, and they were lovely enough to give me a couple to try for myself. (My bf hasn’t been allowed to use his until I photographed it in its packaging haha!)
biobrush have created a toothbrush in a more holistic way, i.e. thinking about the whole lifecycle, not just getting it out of the factory and into your bathroom. They have created a more sustainable, resource saving product.
First off, the packaging is made of cellulose and will break down into nothing in about three weeks! Feels just like “normal” plastic packaging.
They have chosen harmless, non-toxic organic dyes and the main material – bioplastic – will breakdown after five years (rather than hundreds). At the current time, even though the bristles are made from a castor oil based material, they are not biodegradable. There is nothing on the market right now that is biodegradable; but as soon as it has been developed, biobrush will be among the first to incorporate it into their products! To dispose of the brush, you still need to put it in the recycling bin (yellow) here in Germany as the brush still takes longer than is accepted to be put in the organics waste bin. If you want to compost the brush yourself go for it! But first, snap off the head of bristles and pop that in the recycling.
But, don’t worry if it accidentally finds its way into the “everything” waste bin as it would burn almost CO2 neutrally (since it’s made with very little raw materials).
Ok so that all sounds great, but does it work? In short: YEP. My teeth feel super clean, both with “conventional” toothpaste or more natural toothpastes. I was always someone who reached for the toothbrushes with the fancy criss-cross bristles and all the bells and whistles, but I after speaking to the lovely people at biobrush I now know that the humble toothbrush has basically been over-engineered. While developing their product, they spoke to many different independent dentists, research institutes, and other producers and took all their recommendations into account. These include:
- Small to medium and angled brush head to get those hard to reach areas
- Soft to medium bristle hardness to ensure adequate cleaning without irritation
- Multi-tufted bristles with enough gaps to allow for suitable drying and deter bacteria
If that doesn’t sound good enough, they have also worked to produce it at a price point to compete with other toothbrush giants and are working to get their product into the drug store giants over here in Europe (e.g. dm, Rossmann, etc).
I can’t wait until biodegradable bristles are finally developed, and then this brush will be perfect!