STOP Plastic Toothbrush Pollution
- Bring Awareness to the plastic toothbrush pollution and provide alternatives
- Request retailers and dentists to provide eco-friendly option
Plastic toothbrushes are not recycled because they are made of mixed materials such as plastic, nylon, rubber, and other materials, which are hard to separate for recycling. Separation of materials requires additional processes and increases the cost of recycling, so recycling centers in the USA do not accept it, and it ends up in the landfills.
One billion toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United State alone. It’s appalling to even think about the global disposal amount!
Plastic toothbrushes add 50 million pounds of waste to landfills every year in the United States
Plastic toothbrushes take 1000+ years to start to break-down and will never fully degrade.These tiny pieces of plastic cause huge destruction to marine and land wildlife; infact impacting humans too.
Additionally, the plastic from the packaging also contributes to more plastic pollution
Electric toothbrushes are no exception, it is in fact made of plastic and rubber. Additionally the batteries, even the rechargeable batteries, cause more environmental harm when disposed improperly
Plastic toothbrushes are made from crude oil (fossil fuel) depleting the precious non-renewable natural resource, and the emissions from the manufacturing process adds to the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases which causes climate change
- Plastics are made from fossil fuel (crude oil and natural gas) which releases lots of toxins into the air like benzene, toluene, and more
- Toothbrush bristles are made of nylon which when being manufactured releases nitrous oxide
- Over 40% of the world’s plastic waste is burnt and burning releases more hazardous chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, dioxins, furans, etc.
Land and Ocean Pollution:
According to the EPA 2018 report, only 4.47% of the plastic we discard is being recycled and only 16.27% combusted for energy recovery. Much of it ends up in landfills, taking 1,000+ years to break-down into microplastics and leaching potentially toxic substances into the soil and water.
Plastic from land is carried into the ocean through wind, rain, storm-drains, streams, and rivers.
- Soil quality is degraded from toxic chemicals leaching out of plastics and impacts all vegetation and biodiversity.
- Farm lands are being polluted with microplastics and the chemicals that leach out of it.
- Microplastics are very small plastic pieces that are often mistaken to be food and eaten by land and marine animals which leads to choking, starvation, and even death
- Over a million marine animals are killed each year from plastic
- Over 700 species of marine organisms are close to extinction due to plastic
- More than 90% of birds and fish are reported to have plastic in their bodies
- Plastics can also carry invasive microorganisms into another territory which can hurt food chains and more organisms
- Organisms that consume plastics will die with many health issues:
- organisms’ body structures can change
- Block digestive tracts
- Diminish the urge to eat
- Reduce growth & reproductive health
The Human Impact:
- Toothbrush bristles are commonly made using nylon, polyester, wire, etc. which are all common breeding grounds for bacteria. If the toothbrush bristles are not sterilized or disinfected properly, you are essentially cleaning your teeth with what is a dirty toothbrush allowing bacteria to enter your mouth
- Microplastic and Nano-plastic particles are now discoverable in human organs. It enters the human body through food, water, and air we breathe. When microplastics enter the human body, it can have a huge negative impact on one’s health causing issues like:
- Oxidative Stress
- Lots of toothbrushes are made using BPA (Bisphenol A) which can cause lots of health issues such as:
- Disrupting Hormone Levels
- Increase Cancer Risk
- Affects Brain Development
- Can lead to major heart diseases
Switch to Eco-friendly toothbrushes with charcoal bristles
- Antimicrobial – as bamboo properties allow it to kill bacteria on its surface unlike plastic, no harmful bacteria will form and spread on the toothbrush handle,
- Just as effective as plastic toothbrushes in cleaning, and is used the same way
- Biodegradable – Less environmental concern
- Organic – Bamboos are grown organically, and it does not need pesticides or fertilizer
- Charcoal bristles remove stains on your teeth
- Activated charcoal binds to acidic components, removing stains
- Charcoal toothbrushes have antibacterial properties
- Researchers found that charcoal bristles had less bacteria left on them after brushing than nylon bristles
PLEDGE to Switch to Eco-friendly toothbrushes
COLLECT and SHIP Plastic Toothbrushes to TERRACYCLE
TerraCycle® and Colgate® have partnered to create a national recycling network for all brands of used or empty plastic oral care products and packaging.
Your school, church, community organization, office, etc., can sign-up for this program at:
After acceptance into the program, you can use any collection or recycling bin for collecting at your location. Once you have collected at least 10 pounds, you are ready to ship. Download a prepaid UPS shipping label and affix it to any empty box to send to TerraCycle for recycling.
You can collect the following items for this program:
- Plastic Toothbrush
- Plastic Floss container
- Packaging plastic from the box of any oral products
- Used Toothpaste Tube with lid
NOTE: Please do not send in any electric toothbrushes, battery toothbrushes, and/or their parts through this program.
Dispose responsibly all of your plastic oral care products and
switch to eco-friendly products for a real solution.
Amita Gowda – Grade 9
Pranav Bollineni – Grade 11
Russell Kim – Grade 8
Want to start a new chapter in your local area?
Here is what you would need to do:
• Find two or more students to form a team at your school or local community
Fill out this form and wait for our email approval. Once approved, you will become part of this project team and will receive presentation slides and any other guidance needed.