The Environmental Impact of Toothbrushes
3rd August 2015
50 Million Pounds of Toothbrushes Enter US Landfills Every Year
It's mind boggling just how significant the environmental impacts of items we use every single day are. EcoPlanet Bamboo Group is working to provide a alternative fiber for major fiber industries, to provide a renewable and sustainable product for toilet paper, packaging and clothing. These are all products currently using wood as their raw resource. But can bamboo also replace plastic in the many items we use and discard on a daily basis?
Toothbrushes are just a single example. In the United States alone it is estimated that between 850 million, and over a billion toothbrushes, representing more than 50 million pounds of waste, are discarded and end up in land fills every single year. These toothbrushes are made from a combination of plastic (made from crude oil) and rubber for the hand piece, nylon for the bristles, and a mix of plastic and cardboard for the packaging. Currently none of these items are biodegradable, therefore they remain in landfills indefinitely. Worse, they end up in our oceans and washed up on our beaches or consumed by marine life. If they are burnt, they release a combination of toxic and greenhouse gases.
Now consider that this is just in the United States. What about Europe, China, Brazil, India and so on...
So why aren't the major companies such as Colgate, Oral B, Crest, Sonicare etc looking for alternatives? Sustainably produced bamboo has the potential to be one part of the solution. Bamboo fiber can be used to completely replace the plastic used for toothbrush handles, while pulped and combined with other waste fibers, a sustainable packaging product can be made. While this doesn't address the environmentally unfriendly, non degradable nylon bristles, it would represent a major reductio in the environmental footprint of these companies, and in the footprint of millions of consumers daily.
EcoPlanet Bamboo is restoring degraded land and developing a bamboo fiber based in sustainable plantations across the world. Millions of tons of non commercial fiber could be utilized by Fortune 500 companies to provide their consumers with a truly sustainable product.
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