The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
May 16, 2011

Eco-Friendly Toothbrush Review


08/24/2013 Update: My new favorite bamboo toothbrush is called Brush with Bamboo.  Read the full review here.  It wasn’t around back when I wrote this post.


What toothbrush would you choose? Recycled plastic in returnable packaging or natural wood packaged in plastic? Nylon bristles or natural pig hair? Or how about a stick that you chew on? I’ve been researching toothbrush alternatives and found that they all have pros and cons. How you brush your teeth will depend on your environmental and ethical priorities, I think. There’s no perfect answer. Which would you choose?

(Disclosure:  You can support My Plastic-Free Life by purchasing via the links on this page.)

Preserve Recycled/Recyclable Toothbrush

Preserve recycled toothbrushMaterials: 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene #5 plastic and Nylon bristles. Recycled plastic wrapper which doubles as a prepaid mailer.

Origin: Made in the United States.

Why it’s good: I don’t use the word “recyclable” lightly. If a company claims its product can be recycled but doesn’t provide an actual way to recycle it, then I don’t consider it recyclable at all. Preserve DOES provide a way to return its plastic products for recycling (some would say “downcycling) so I give them props for practicing extended producer responsibility.

Preserve toothbrushes are made from recycled yogurt containers and other post-consumer #5 polypropylene plastic that is returned to them through their Gimme5 program. You can bring your used #5 plastics (all Preserve products, other #5 containers, medicine bottles, Brita filters, Tom’s deodorant containers, etc.) to participating Whole Foods stores or mail them back to Preserve. The toothbrush wrapper doubles as a prepaid mailer. When you’re done with your toothbrush, just stick it in the mail. The mailer will be recycled along with the toothbrush. Personally, though, I prefer to save them up and take them to Whole Foods to avoid the extra fuel to ship individual toothbrushes. But I appreciate Preserve’s efforts to make recycling easy for customers.

Less Than Perfect: Keep in mind, though, that Preserve’s recycling program does not actually close the recycling loop. Toothbrushes are recycled into plastic lumber, which does nothing to decrease the demand for virgin plastic to create those yogurt containers, Brita filters, and other packaging, but it does decrease the demand for virgin plastic toothbrushes and slows down the plastic’s journey to the landfill.

Also? This toothbrush is made from plastic. It you don’t want to put plastic anywhere near your mouth, this is not the toothbrush for you.

How it Works: I have been using these toothbrushes since 2007. I like the bent handle and soft bristles.

Environmental Toothbrush

Environmental toothbrushMaterials: Bamboo handle, Nylon bristles, cardboard box, polypropylene inner wrapper.

Origin: Made in Australia. (Correction: Designed in Australia/Made in China.)

Why It’s Good: Most of the Environmental toothbrush and packaging are plastic-free and compostable. And the company cites an article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, which states that Nylon 4 — the material from which the bristles happen to be made — is also biodegradable in soil:

9.2. Nylon 4
It has been reported that nylon 4 was degraded in the soil [88] and in the activated sludge [89]. The results confirmed that Nylon 4 is readily degradable in the environment. Furthermore, the biodegradability of nylon 4 and nylon 6 blends was investigated in compost and activated sludge. The nylon 4 in the blend was completely degraded in 4 months while nylon 6 was not degraded [90]. Recently, Yamano et al. was able to isolate polyamide 4 degrading microorganisms (ND-10 and ND-11) from activated sludge. The strains were identified as Pseudomonas sp. The supernatant from the culture broth of strain ND-11 degraded completely the emulsified nylon 4 in 24 h and produced γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) as degradation product [91].

Less Than Perfect: The inner white sleeve around the toothbrush is actually made from nonwoven polypropylene plastic, not paper. After receiving a shipment of the toothbrushes for the giveaway, I was curious about the shiny coating inside the wrappers and emailed the company to find out what it was. James Wilson, the company’s International Sales Manager wrote to find out, and that’s when we both discovered that the wrapper is made with plastic. According to the company:

This is as green as we could make the packaging and still pass all health restrictions when packaging a toothbrush.

How it Works: The bristles are a little harder than the Preserve bristles that I’m used to, so I have just been learning not to brush as hard. And I had to get used to the shorter handle. But it’s a basic toothbrush. It works fine.

Life Without Plastic’s Plastic-free Wooden Toothbrush

Plastic-free Wooden ToothbrushMaterials: Sustainably-harvested beechwood handle preserved with vegetable oil, natural bristles made from pig hair, small cellophane wrapper around the head of the toothbrush (cellophane is made from trees.)

Origin: Made in Germany. Pig hair imported from China.

Why it’s Good: The Life Without Plastic toothbrush is the only completely plastic-free toothbrush I have found. If your priority is to completely avoid plastic, this could be the toothbrush for you. And I love that the manufacturer uses such a small amount of packaging.

Less than Perfect: The bristles come from long-haired pigs that are raised for food. If you are vegetarian or vegan, this is not a toothbrush for you. But if you eat meat and see value in using part of the animal that would have gone to waste, this toothbrush might be your best bet. By the way, Jay from Life Without Plastic says they will continue to look for a natural AND vegetarian option.

How it Works: Honestly? I don’t know. I am a vegetarian and don’t want to try it. But if you try it, let us know how it works out for you.

Other Toothbrush Options

The three toothbrushes reviewed above are the only ones I seriously considered for this post. But there are other options that contain varying degrees of plastic, so I thought I would mention them. (These are not part of the giveaway.)

Radius Source toothbrush: The durable toothbrush handle is made from recycled materials (flax, wood, or dollar bills.) But the disposable toothbrush head is made from plastic and is not taken back for recycling. What’s more, the toothbrush comes in a plastic blister pack.

Swissco wooden toothbrush with natural bristles: The toothbrush itself is plastic-free (although not vegetarian) but it comes in a hard plastic case.

Acca Kappa toothbrush with natural bristles: The Acca Kappa handle is made from cellulose acetate, which is produced from wood and cotton byproducts. The bristles are not vegetarian. And sadly, the toothbrush comes in a plastic container.

Neem Chew Sticks

And now, for a completely different alternative, I’m considering skipping the toothbrush altogether and chewing on sticks.

In researching toothbrush options for this post, I discovered something called Miswak sewak, used in the Arab world for natural toothbrushing. You peel off the bark at the tip and then chew the end to separate the fibers. Then you use the fibers to brush your teeth, and when they wear out, you cut off the tip and work your way down the stick. I thought it sounded like a neat idea, except all the miswak sticks come sealed in plastic.

Then Jay mentioned they are similar to Neem sticks which have been used for centuries in India. And today, I discovered a company called Neem Tree Farms in the United States, which ships Neem Sticks fresh the same day they are harvested. I was assured they can be shipped without plastic packaging (in fact, the web site recommends not storing them in plastic), so I ordered a batch today to try.

Neem chew sticks toothbrush

Neem Tree Farms has farms in Florida and Mexico.  The company also sells seedlings so you can grow your own, but I have to see how I feel about the sticks first. That will be a post for another day.

And my next oral care dilemma will be finding a good plastic-free toothpaste replacement, now that Tom’s of Maine has switched to plastic tubes. I’ve gotten lots of advice from people, but I can always use more.


Artisan-made Bags at ECOlunchbox

I only post ads for products I use myself. Your support helps to fund my plastic-free mission.

Leave a Reply

194 Comments on "Eco-Friendly Toothbrush Review"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest

My whole family has been using the life without plastic toothbrushes. We like them and we can put them in our compost pile after we are done with them. I have to admit, though, that my teeth are not as clean as when I use the plastic toothbrush from the dentist. something about the way it is designed? It’s not anything major, maybe it gets my teeth clean enough to be healthy, but I can definitely tell a difference. I’ll be getting some preserve toothbrushes to try those as a compromise.

I am 69 years old Indian. My grandfather insisted on our using need sticks taken from need tree in our back yard to clean our teeth. No body had any dental problem. It is slightly bitter in taste. He used to give us young need seeds to swallow, so no one suffered from any skin problem ever in our family. He was a chemistry professor ,well educated but believed in home remedies. We were a family of healthy people till we were under his care. Problems started when we began to ignore his advise.

Ugly by nature toothpaste is all organic ingredients chemical free and cruelty free their website has all the ingredients listed and they have I think 7 flavors

Colgate makes a tooth powder that comes in a tin. I found it in an Indian food supply shop. My grand dad had tooth powder tins, he kept them to store nails/screws. I’m looking to go less plastic, I use Preserve now. Before you do DIY tpastes talk to dentist, different enamels can’t handle some things.

My approach is to consider all aspects of a purchase. So while I am concerned about my individual health and the environment, I also must consider the social responsibility of the company and where the product is produced. Sadly, Colgate does not have a good record in this regard.

My wife and I make our own toothpaste. Coconut oil, baking soda, salt, and spearmint. Simmer the mint in the oil for a while before mixing. A bit salty during brushing, but very refreshing. We keep ours in a jar.

What is the recipe if I may ask? I would love to try it :)

Let the Sun Rise in Your Mouth | Nei Jing Now!

[…] who joined us for the We All Live in Bhopal events of Dec 2014, has done a thorough review of the eco-friendly toothbrushes available. Her favorite now is Brush with Bamboo. Eco-dent, seems to be the winner per Ms. Terry. […]

I just wanted to say that both my husband and myself love the Life Without Plastic toothbrushes. Some bristles do come off the first few times you use it but after that, you’re good to go! I have an extremely small mouth and I need to say that they are a mouthful but I still have no problem brushing with it. If the bristles are too hard for you, you just have to run them under hot water for a few second, no need to soak them. They last long too! I really recommend them.

Fresh Breath & Healthy Teeth Without All Those Chemicals | Break Into Change

[…] can try an eco-friendly, natural plastic-free toothbrush. There are many models on the market. This 2011 post is an interesting review of some options that the author has tried out. All the pros and cons are listed, along with her ultimate fav pick. […]

The neem chew stick do have a name (Datoon, relatively from hindi word for tooth->Daant)

Thank you for your extensive, detailed, article. It was not only a great read but also I have been looking for a 100% plastic free toothbrush for sometime and thanks to you I found it. You made my day :)

Hi, I bought an Environmental Toothbrush today and there was no inner white sleeve that you mention, so I guess they must have managed to convince the health authorities it wasn’t necessary. Or perhaps the regulations are different here in Australia. In any case, it might be worthwhile updating your post.

I only skimmed the comments so I don’t know if anybody mentioned the Green Panda toothbrushes. It’s a bamboo toothbrush with bamboo bristles that are infused with charcoal. So, it’s got the added benefits of the charcoal and it’s entirely biodegradable.

Hello – I know the latest update here was in 2013 – just wondering if the Brush with Bamboo toothbrush is still the favorite? We are looking to add some eco-friendly – really good toothbrushes to our online store…

Any thoughts on WooBamboo

Thank you for your research! Eco friendly and plastic free teeth cleaning products seem to be hard find. I appreciate your hard work.

I have used in the past baking soda (like a decade or more ago) and last year i used just coconut oil during the warmer months. I have been using Miswak sticks for a couple of months now and really like them. In the near future I am thinking about making some homemade toothpaste (I have already started making homemade mouthwash) using a recipe that I got from to make a coconut oil based toothpaste that I will use at night while I brush in the morning with my miswak stick.  I will use Raw Coconut oil and Distilled… Read more »

Thanks, I have used just the coconut oil and the dentist is still looking for the cavities that have disappeared. But I like the bentonite clay and spearmint essential oil. So this recipe gives me both. thanks again.

Does anyone know any resources for plastic free electric toothbrushes?
I cant avoid my dentist any longer.

nice article,plastic is not good for our enviorment and to us also.i use neem stick and another stick called timber stick for theeth cleaning instead of a plastic has a great taste and feels natural.i suggest other people too use neem stick or timber stick,if anyone want i can send them.

Nice article. I have recently started evaluating my plastic consumption and have slowly decreased my intake so far. I was pleasantly surprised at the mention of the Neem tree sticks. I am from India and there are plenty of Neem trees. Infact, as a child, my grandfather would make us brush our teeth with the sticks. We even eat the Neem flowers and the leaves have antibacterial properties!! This post brought back all the memories! Well, on my next trip home, I’m gonna get some sticks for myself :)
Amazing how we take last generation’s things for granted!

I’m allergic to plastic, so your reviews, especially the last option for Neem sticks NOT packaged in plastic, is invaluable information for me. Even contact with plastic by items that I use keeps me hypersensitized, so every bit I can eliminate helps me control the reactions (life threatening if not controlled).

Here’s a recipe for tooth powder I found here:

It’s natural and the whole family can use it!
The Ingredients
-4 parts bentonite clay
-1 part baking soda
-1/2 part myrrh gum powder
-1/2 part ground cloves
-1/2 part ground stevia
-essential oils of cloves and cinnamon
1. Add all ingredients to a mason jar. Tightly close the lid and shake jar until well combined.
2. To use, apply a small amount of tooth powder to your tooth brush with a spoon and brush as you normally would.

Natural Oral Care | My Earth Mama Journey

[…] seemed  counterproductive to use a plastic toothbrush. While researching, I found this article: /2011/05/eco-friendly-toothbrush-review-and-giveaway/. I’m really considering trying the Environmental Toothbrush! It seems like a good alternative […]

Thriving Toothbrush: 100% Bamboo Toothbrush (including bristles) Compostable and vegan! Shipped from the United States (not known where the product is made) in recycled & recyclable paper. Fairly economical compared to market prices. Uncle Harry’s Toothpaste: This company is located less than 10 miles from where I live, and have let me coordinate with them to refill my mason jars rather than purchasing the product in new container (although the jars are glass with a plastic lid). I love this product, although I am not sure if I would continue if they were not so accommodating to my plastic-free life.… Read more »

Plastic-Free Ericka ModeratorMerleeSherman 
Have you considered ordering larger quantities from them? Next time I
re-fill I will ask what sizing options they have – that way you’re
dealing with less containers.

Environmental toothbrush now has “ecotoothbrush”, there next generation version with charcoal enhanced bristles. They still seem to be distributing from Australia for USA clients, so high shipping prices.

Worldcentric’s says thair bristles aren’t biodegradable.

I ordered both to see which one I like. I’ll try to remember to post back here with any reviews.

Beth, here’s one I came across. Any feedback from anyone?

Very interesting discussion and valuable information! Well done!
Magnus SE

I hate that Tom’s has switched.  Even apart from the plastic issue, the old ones you could just flatten as you go up and fold it over to keep the paste in place – flexible plastic tubes have to be reflattened each time you squeeze.  More hassle for more waste.  I asked and they said they have recieved requests to package in flexible plastic for years – this was a ‘caving to public demand’ choice.  Unfortunately.

If i’m not mistaken, Tom’s is owned by Kellogs. This is probably the reason why they were “pushed” to used “usual” (read – plastic, plastic and more plastic) tubes for their toothpaste. I don’t use most of Tom’s products.

We have been wondering about what you do in  this department…thank you for this!

Brooks sells a pearwood toothbrush with boar bristles. It does come in a hard plastic travel-type container though.

I make all of my personal cosmetic products, including toothpaste. This is THE best way to take care of ourselves and the planet, in my opinion. Here’s the toothepaste recipe I use : Mix 40 ml of water, 6 tablespoons of white kaolin clay (used for facial masks), 4 pinches of baking soda and 8 drops of mint essential oil. Makes 50 ml total with a pleasant taste and refreshing feeling similar to conventional toothpaste. Put it in a small glass container with a lid and dip your toothbrush in! I just visited the dentist and confirmed that my teeth… Read more »

I knew the guy, who had never brushed his teeth! He has been rinsing his mouth with water on the regular basis all his life.

I just received a pack of the Environmental Toothbrushes, they didn’t come in a plastic sleeve, they were just loose individual little cardboard boxes as pictured. Weh Hey!

I could go on hour long rants about the toxins in shampoo, make up, hair products and everyday objects, but i’ll save you from that and just rant about toothpaste and how it is cheaper and better for you and the environment to use. make your own toothpaste from coconut oil, baking soda, peppermint oil, and stevia. i refuse to use commercial toothpaste because of what is in it, the first ingredient is normally an artificial sugar (sorbitol) and fluoride is dangerous to your own health and the environment (those are NOT the only two harmful ingredients). i make it in a small glass jar, and… Read more »

I heard you are not to swallow it because it has “pulled” all the toxins out of your mouth and you are just putting them in your system.?????

A Fine Line | Is there a perfect toothbrush?

[…] used Beth Terry’s post about toothbrushes to guide me. She talks about three different options: one from Life Without Plastic, one from […]

update on environmental toothbrush from the company: “In our next production run we will be removing the inner sleeve as this has been a challenge for many people, we will not have that stock until early next year.” i still want to see production local to each region – asian produciton for asian clients. north american production for american clients, etc… if i understand, it is possible to source local bamboo. i can’t imagine it is too difficult to find a factory in each region who can make such a simple design if they solved the plastic nylon bristles issue… Read more »

Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been using Preserve, while keeping my eye out for something better. Thanks to your post, I’ve ordered a case of The Environmental Toothbrushes. Not perfect, but as close as I’ve seen, especially since boar hair is not okay with me, for a multitude of reasons (I wouldn’t use a human-based hair bristle in my mouth, either…unless it was my own human hair). Keep up this great work!

I think on this topic it’s of importance to remark that natural fiber toothbrushes (made mostly from pig hair) have been found to not be the most hygienic thing. The hair has a little canal in the middle which will fill with tiny particles from the stuff that you brush away from your teeth. This will naturally encourage growth of bacteria. If you use those, you should change them veeery frequently, or put them in boiling water from time to time. There is a company in Germany that makes toothbrushes and toothbrush-heads from the sticks which seems more practical –… Read more »

Hi Beth, you can make toothpaste from baking soda, xylitol and a tiny bit of water and/or coconut oil. See my experiment here:

#91, 98: I also have a set of the Izola bamboo-handled toothbrushes. I was able to purchase them at a store in the U.S., but you can also order them direct through Izola’s website. As with the other toothbrushes mentioned, this one has its own set of pros and cons. A pack of four toothbrushes is packaged in a cardboard box but is (unfortunately) topped off with a non-recyclable plastic lid. The brushes are designed in the U.S., made in China. As Brianna mentioned above, the bristles are made of regular nylon-6 and have a consistency similar to Preserve’s “soft”… Read more »

I’ve been switching over things gradually and I’m onto toothbrushes and shaving razors. I’m interested in either the Preserve or Environmental but I’m debating over the environmental impact, US Made, less shipping on the Plastic recycled material and downcycling of Preserve over the bamboo, no plastic but shipping from AUS of Environmental, UGH.

Interesting topic.
My favourite toothbrush is a TerraDent. These are plastic, but the handle is made to be reused by replacing only the head. Did you know that some toothbrushes actually use metal staples to attach the bristles? I would never compromise on a good quality toothbrush, and I am concerned about the amount of plastic discarded.
This company also makes GentleFloss, a fantastic dental floss that comes in a recycleable paper box. It’s vegan too!

@ Yuki: Thanks for clarifying that the aluminum tubes are 100% recyclable. I hope you’ll take the time to mention this in your own letter to Tom’s of Maine;)

@ Sandra

Sorry to disappoint you but metal is not biodegradable. I know you probably put your aluminum toothpaste tubes on the recycling bin but if you put them in the trash it’s no better than plastic. Granted, it will probably not be floating in the ocean among others plastic crap but the thing fun with metal is that usually it’s recyclable an infinite number of times compared to plastic.

i am not against it, I just wanted to point out that it’s not biodegradable.

Seems to me that they are both environmentally friendly to a great degree, now we are just being nitpicky. I think the next question is how healthy is each one for me? I think the plastic one is because it has less porous areas to grow bacteria, therefore being less risky for bacteria growth. It think the bamboo toothbrush could be a health concern with all the little crevices for bacteria to grow.

I like the materials in the Life Without Plastic toothbrush best and would love the chance to try them out. Beth, I’m curious to hear what other options you’ve found to this toothpaste dilemma. I am also sad to see Tom’s of Maine make the change from metal to plastic tubes. I’ve been testing out a couple of different brands (Weleda’s Salt Toothpaste, Boiron’s Homeodent) that also come in metal tubes, but sadly none of them seem to clean my teeth as well as Tom’s Multi-Care toothpaste. Here’s a copy of the letter I sent to the company. I’m hoping… Read more »
Eco-Friendly Toothbrush Review

[…] Source: My plastic free life. […]

The Environmental Toothbrush is by far my favorite.. I was originally attracted to the Swissco, but realized it was purely it’s good looks. I am a huge fan of bamboo.. frankly, I envy bamboo’s tenacity and self-sustaining characteristics.. admirable for sure. I limit my intake of meat but do consume a bit. I am happy to see the bristles being put to use instead of being discarded. My shaving brush is pure boar hair. Would love to see a followup post on all natural toothpaste to go with the brushes (I am a fan of Tom’s of Maine..)!
Hi, just writing in from India to note a couple of things about the neem stick ‘brushes’. I’ve used them as a child, though they’ve steadily lost popularity even in rural populations in the last 3 or 4 decades. Nowadays the plastic toothbrush is far more common I regret. And there’s a few reasons for that: (1) Neem is a bit of an acquired taste — it’s bitter. Not abominably, unbearably so; but distinctly. This is not as much of a problem for Indians (though many people even here really hate bitter things) as we do eat several bitter vegetables… Read more »

Another great research piece you did Beth. I would go with the Environmental toothbrush. When I go to the Dentist he always gives out a plastic bag, with a plastic toothbrush, plastic hard case with floss. I refuse and explain why and they look at me like I am nuts. Any alternatives to floss and mouthwash in plastic bottles? Thanks again for another good post. g

Thank you so much for this! I had been trying to develop alternatives to plastic toothbrushes on my own before I found your articles. I’d love to try the neem sticks! I’m currently using a little bit of loofah with some home-made toothpaste. I know it’s sounds pretty odd, but loofah gourds are edible when they are immature (known as “chinese okra”) and they actually are pretty pleasant to chew on in their mature form. However, I don’t think I could totally replace my toothbrush with it until I can get the little piece of loofa onto the end of… Read more »

I live in Australia so the recyclable Preserve and other US-based brushes aren’t an option.

I use the Environmental ones and am happy with them, except you need to make sure they’re kept dry otherwise mould will develop.

I’d love to try the bamboo toothbrush.

In regards to toothpaste, I think it a no-brainer . . . MAKE YOUR OWN . . . coconut oil and baking soda (per a quick Google), I found it stated on that coconut oil is good for your gums as well.

Mom always suggested baking soda if we ran out of toothpaste so I already knew that one but just had to see what our amazing Internet had to say. Good luck.


I used Preserve, but back when I bought a stash they came in plastic boxes & had no mailers. I had to ask TJ’s for it & they couldn’t find any. I put it in the recycling bin & hoped for the best. Their new packaging seems much better.

However, the Environmental Toothbrush seems like a better choice. Partially because the cute panda appeals, mostly because it is biodegradable. (This would be my choice for the giveaway entry.)

My #1 pick for daily use would be the Neem Tree stick. I hope I can grow a tree some day soon.

Just had to stop over to your blog after your tweet about using soap rather than a tube of toothpaste. Most interesting. More power to you with all of your noble endeavors!

Great blog!

– Kelly

I don’t know if I’m too late for the giveaway but I could really use some eco-friendly toothbrushes because, contrary to many readers of yours, I use plain old disposable toothbrushes and I hate it. Personally, I think that the Life Without Plastic one is better because: 1. It’s the only option 100% biodegradable. 2. I’m not vegetarian nor vegan. 3. I have some reserves about bamboo and while I understand that sustainably-harvested bamboo may exist, it’s still not harvested in North America. I still don’t like that these toothbrushes comes from so far. I really don’t like to have… Read more »
Thank you for this article. My toothbrush is my weakest plastic link. My Fuchs toothbrush (pronounced like future) is such an eye sore to my bathroom cabinet. It is made in Germany with a recyclable plastic handle, a replaceable plastic head, and nylon bristles. They make a replaceable head with boar bristles, but I am a vegetarian and that kind of weirds me out. But I do own leather shoes and belts, so I guess we all draw our own lines. I have had the same handle for almost 12 years. But if I would have kept all the used… Read more »

I am already using the Preserve toothbrush that I get at Trader Joe’s but it comes in a plastic tube :-( I am most interested in using the Neem sticks though. These look like the best choice for reducing waste. I could just toss them in my yard waste bin!

I use the Miswak Neem sticks and I love them! My teeth have never been so clean! It does take a bit longer to brush, but it’s worth it. Thanks for the site for them without plastic wrappers!

I’ve been using Preserve toothbrushes for a while now. They’re nothing fancy, but my dentist told me to use a super-soft brush. And, the curved handle makes it easier to reach your back teeth. They’re also not very expensive, but it would still be cool to get some free ones :)

Just found your blog from the article….SO MUCH info on here! Love it. I’m not vegetarian or plastic free or even a composter but I buy local meat raised humanely by our close friends, I carry reusable grocery bags everywhere and drink tap water, and we have installed as much drought tolerant greenery in our yard as possible. I’m always interested in ways to shop smarter and your plastic free guide has given me lots of ideas! I’m so intrigued by all the recycling methods available up there in Northern Cali – sure wish that would catch on all… Read more »

Jamie, glad to meet you! Just remember, while you might not be able to recycle many different kinds of plastic, reducing our use of disposable plastics in the first place is a much better solution. Out here, our plastic recycling gets shipped to China, where it often is “recycled” in environmentally damaging ways. So don’t think we have it so much better here. Just do what you can in your neck of the woods. I’m glad the plastic-free guide helps!

of these options, I best like:Preserve Recycled/Recyclable Toothbrush, because it is made in the USA and because it comes with a prepaid mailer. gotta love that!

I love the idea of the Life Without Plastic wooden toothbrush! If I were to go with an environmentally toothbrush, I would want to go completely plastic-free. You know that the plastic is going to lose its recyclability at some point in its life-cycle after you use it, and after that, it’s off into the land fill (or the ocean, or the side of the road) forever. I’d be happy knowing that my toothbrush could be completely gone some day, rather than floating in the great Pacific garbage patch. The fact that the wood is grown sustainably, and the preservatives… Read more »

I’m not entirely sure whether there is a significant amount of European readers here, but perhaps this would interest everyone none the less: . The EU is asking for the opinions of citizens, organisations, etc about the issues with plastic bags. If this goes exactly the way I want it to, we could be looking at a EU-wide plastic bag ban as well as better labelling regarding biodegradable plastics.

I would pick the Preserve recycled toothbrush. I don’t like supporting businesses that use labor or goods from China because they treat every living thing (including their animals, workers and people) so badly, so the second one would be out for me. I try to avoid animal products and have the same reservations about the pig bristle one, especially since the pig hair is also imported from China. The sticks sound really intriguing though!

I would love to try the Environmental Toothbrush. I recently read the book Plastic A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel, that where I ready about this website and had to check it out. The Life toothbrush interested me until it said pig hair, Im a vegetarian and I dont like the idea of pig hair in my mouth. The Environmental toothbrush sounds like a great alternative to plastic.

Lindsey, welcome. Be sure and check out the Plastic-free Guide for a huge list of alternatives. Just don’t try it them at once. :-)

What a fascinating mix of comments! Thanks Beth for putting this out there. As there have been a number of comments about the pig bristles on the LWP toothbrush and the China link, I thought it might be of interest to provide some more detail on that issue. The bristles from our toothbrushes come from a domesticated race of pigs in China. According to our supplier, all of the world’s pig bristles are currently sourced from China. The German company that makes the toothbrushes for us purchases the bristles from another German company that imports them, and neither of them… Read more »

Check out this 100% bamboo toothbrush 

It’s hard to choose between the Environmental and the Life Without Plastics toothbrushes, but I think I would have to go with the Environmental toothbrush. I’ve seen several reviews for the Environmental toothbrush and have heard great things. I also like that they use bamboo which is an amazingly renewable resource. I wish I could try both! Haha.

I love <3 the plastic free wooden toothbrush with pigs hair. I think it is the best option.

I love the bamboo one. Definitely replacing my OralB with one of those next toothbrush cycle! Thanks for the interesting write up. I did not even know these products were available.

Although I prefer the idea of the wooden brushes, since you say they’re harder I’m interested in the Preserve toothbrush. Unfortunately, I have sensitive teeth.

I had never even thought about toothbrushes!

I also didn’t know that Whoel Foods took plastics for recycling. This is good information to have!

I would love to try out the Preserve.

I’d love to try the Environmental Toothbrush! I’ve tried the Preserve before (when I can find them at Target!) and while I do believe you should use all parts of the animal, I don’t really want them in my mouth!

FYI, if you find yourself in Brooklyn near Atlantic Ave (around Atlantic & Smith I think…) there is an area with lots of Arab shops and you can get bulk Miswak for about a buck each, or at least you could a few years ago. No packaging, and they make your teeth and gums clean and happy.

I would like to try the pig hair toothbrush, just because it sounds so unusual.

Aside from the awesome neem sticks, I think the bamboo toothbrush is best because it utilizes a fast-growing, quickly renewable source. Bamboo is getting invasive around where I live–it’s growing up around all of the parking lots, into neighboring gardens–all over the place! Biodegradable is a plus, too. Next up, the pig hair toothbrush. Pig hair sounds a little bit gross, but I definitely agree with using all of an animal (since it is going to be killed anyway) rather than just part. Goes along with the low-waste practices of indigenous people. The preserve toothbrush is a good concept, and… Read more »

Hello everyone,
Yes there are cheaper versions of our toothbrush out there (Copycats – if you like) but they use a cheaper form of standard Nylon for the bristles, anything to save a Dollar.

If you are located in Australia you can purchase a single toothbrush from many Green / Eco Stores or online at

YES we ship our boxes of toothbrushes out in Paper wrapping.

Our handles are made from MOSO bamboo one of the fastest growing bamboos in the world and a type that the PANDA’S do not eat, Bamboo is party of the GRASS family and not a Tree.

I’ve been using the preserve toothbrush but would like to try the environmental toothbrush.
Someone mentioned Weleda toothpaste, and I found that they do use aluminum tubes, but the inside of the tubes are coated with “phenol-epoxy-varnish.” I wonder if that’s plastic, and I also wonder if Tom’s had been doing the same.

I would try the life without plastic brush if it weren’t made from pig, as I stay kosher. So, the environmental toothbrush sounds like the best one for me. Although it does have plastic in the packaging, I like that they use a cardboard box, and I love bamboo.

I have never tried a Preserve Toothbrush, but I believe that is the best option up there. Thanks for having this giveaway. =)

Well, as a vegetarian, I also would rule out the third option. I’m undecided on the first two — happy to try either (and either would be an improvement over my “plastic, packaged in plastic, get it free each year from the dentist” toothbrushing regime. I guess if I had to choose I’d pick the recycled plastic one, because I care about the importance of take-back programs. But I don’t have strong feelings on which is “better” and hope to try both to see how they work with my toothbrushing preferences.

I like the life without plastic one best. Being that I am a meat eater (But a very picky one, I mostly raise my own.) I like to see every part of the animal going to use. It is hard for me to validate the death of an animal if I am not going to use every part of it. Thanks so much for publishing this blog and doing all these reviews. Your time and effort makes my life that much easier :) You inspire me! I have heard of, and desired, the neem sticks before, but you have given… Read more »
Toothpaste, a little over a year ago I was looking into make-at-home toothpolish/powder/whatever and ran up against the “baking soda will strip your enamel” theory. When I asked my dental hygienist, she said what #79 @Jane’s dentist did – it’s not the toothpaste, it’s the brushing. (She also had a funny story about a 90yo+ woman in a nursing home with the whitest teeth ever, apparently she brushed with Ajax which scandalized the hygienist and should be highly toxic but worked for this woman!) I’ve been using water ever since, and have had 2 dentist appointments since, and all is… Read more »

I like the Environmental Toothbrush idea. I hate waste. I think it’s great to use as many parts of animals as possible if the animal and like the idea of packaging without plastic.

The best idea though seems to be the Neem Sticks fi they work. I love that you could potentially grow your own toothbrushes!!

I would love to try the Preserve toothbrushes, as i recently noticed the recycling bin at Whole Foods, which was very cool. It would be a improvement for me, as I currently use the toothbrushes given me by my dentist. On the Miswak– my day job is on an Oral Health research study, where many of our participants use the stick brush, or miswak. It’s been found to actually be better than a toothbrush in some cases, because it has some antiseptic properties and does- to a limited extent- also get between your teeth. That said, it’s also good because… Read more »
I was looking for a plastic free toothbrush for a while now – knowing that the Environmental Toothbrush is designed in Australia is good to know. I wanted to buy one to try it – however they only come in boxes of 12. I hope that governments and policy makers become more aware of the dangers of plastic and begin to change the regulation and restrictions to allow different kinds of packaging. I am very much looking forward to trying a toothbrush that doesn’t make plastic come near my mouth! I really think all three toothbrushes have their positives and… Read more »

I currently use preserve, but would love to try the environmental toothbrush!!

Also, I recently discovered this alternative to toothpaste from an etsy seller. I really like it a lot. It’s packaged in a small glass container and metal? lid. It does come with a tiny plastic scoop, but I know she’d be happy to not include it if you ask. She ships in cute biodegradable packaging.

It’s a tooth powder. I was skeptical at first, but now I’m a convert :)

I’ve actually been looking for a new toothbrush option since I started reading your blog. The best one I found wasn’t on your list though, it’s the Izola 803 Reflections Toothbrush (found on Amazon). It has a bamboo handle and regular nylon bristles. Sounds just like the Australian Environmental Toothbrush, except for the difference in nylon types. I’m personally wary of a biodegradable plastic, I worry that I’ll be brushing the plastic onto my teeth because it’s so apt to break down. Also, even though it breaks down that doesn’t mean that I want those plastic elements in my compost… Read more »

Hey Brianna, that toothbrush looks exactly the same as the Environmental Toothbrush. Does it come in a white wrapper inside the box? Just wondering because I have found identical toothbrushes online that are just stamped with a different name but come from the same source. I emailed James from The Environmental Toothbrush company to find out.

I would vote for the pig-hair brushes from Life without plastic. I’m ok with using the whole animal and this seems like something people would have used before plastic. incidentally, we are local to LWP so if I won, could save on shipping!

Good point Lara, the Environmental Toothbrush suggests you change your toothbrush every month. They said they experimented with it and it will last up to 8 months or something but that they don’t recommend that. I am in my second month of using mine and the bristles still seem fine to me and the bamboo handle is still as good as new…

Very interesting post! I think there’s a valuable piece of information missing from this post: the life span of the products. Are boar bristles as durable as nylon bristles? Maybe they wear off quicker, so you’d have to buy toothbrushes more frecuently… or viceversa. According to dentists (with whom I don’t agree) you should replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Is it sustainable to buy a wooden toothbrush every 3 months? Regardless of the species of trees, let’s remember they need years to grow. If you haven’t tried the products long enough to see the life span for yourself, you… Read more »

As far as toothpaste goes, I recently came across alternatives:
Another blogger clean her teeth with activated charcoal

I just thought i would let everyone know that we are trying to find an agency in the USA to try and reduce the amount of travel our toothbrushes have to do, which means they will be shipped direct to the USA. Also we have agencies in the UK, Canada & South Africa where our toothbrushes are shipped direct.

Love the write up and the comparison, we also looked at the boars hair option for our toothbrushes but decided against it.

Keep up the good work Beth..
All the best from down under

I am not a vegetarian so I think life without plastic’s plastic-free toothbrush would be my choice. The thought of putting pig hair in my mouth is a bit weird, but I’m sure I could get over that especially since it has not plastic. :) Would be nice if it was made locally though.

Since it is made in America I like the Preserve. Where are they sold?

I like the life without plastic brush.

When it comes to toothpaste, I used to have a dentist who said you could brush your teeth with chicken soup – what matters is that you brush them. About half the time I just moisten my toothbrush and brush with water, rinsing well. I don’t notice any difference.

We use the TerraDent toothbrushes with replaceable heads (DH, DD, and I). I have used the Preserve toothbrush in the past, but the head is too large for me to clean my back teeth well. Cradle to grave product life cycle is important to me. So are function and cost. I can buy the TerraDent locally (just one handle each; replacement heads whenever we need them) and replacing the heads is the best option at the moment for me. I’d love to try the plastic-free wood & pig’s hair toothbrush. I like the idea of using more of the animal.… Read more »

OK, I’m a vegetarian and I’m not putting pig hair in my mouth. Period. Number 2 (Environmental Toothbrush) looks good, but I prefer to stay local and cut China out of the loop. So I vote for the Preserve. It’s encouraging to see a company (an American one no less!) trying so hard to do the right thing, even though it’s not yet perfect. If I don’t win one, where can I buy it?

Martha, in my area they are sold at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find them in a store, you can buy them online from Preserve. Just make sure you get the one with the returnable mailer because they do still sell the original toothbrushes in the plastic travel case. In other words, you want this one:

Not this one:

We use Life Without Plastic’s Plastic-free Wooden Toothbrush. As vegetarians, it’s not perfect, but it is the least plastic and we can throw them in the compost when we are done. Plus they come in kids sizes. My boys are 2.5 and 4, so adult toothbrushes are just too big for their little mouths. Can’t wait to see what they come up with as a veggie/vegan option.

Although the Neem idea is intriguing, it poses some serious potential use issues with my little ones, I’ll have to get back to you on that part. So as far as toothbrushes go, LWP plastic free wooden toothbrush is the ONLY option as far as I’m concerned. I will gladly take on the risk of a little plastic toxin rubbing off onto the toothbrush during shipping versus the endless supply of toxins coming directly out of the brush or bristles of nylon or polypropylene (into mine, or my childs mouth, no thanks!). Minimal packaging is better than recycling, because it… Read more »

I am also using the TerraDent toothbrush with replaceable heads. At least it’s less plastic and I can buy them at local stores. We’re still experimenting with options. I do not like the curved handle on preserve though my daughter did. Would love to have one of the wooden or bamboo ones for a family member to try. We are not vegetarian. We are experimenting to find out what works for each person and reduces our plastic use.

i just started using the preserve toothbrush, and honestly it’s not floating my boat so much. i think you accurately assessed the drawbacks of its role in reducing a small amount of plastic use, but does not really get away from plastic at all. i’d love to try the life-without-plastic pig hair brush, of the three you’re giving away. i am also very intrigued by the neem sticks and will look forward to hearing your experience on it! i might just have to grow my own neem tree if they rock. as for toothpaste, i just began thinking about this.… Read more »
Too bad there isn’t an option similar to the life without plastics that is made a little closer to home. China and Germany…yikes. Isn’t a major part of reducing plastic consumption due to how plastics are made (i.e. from petroleum)?? How is it beneficial to then use lots of petroleum to get the parts to Germany and then lots more to get the final product to the US? I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately on reducing plastic consumption but they’re all buying replacements online and overseas. I know it’s not intentionally hypocritical but we are definitely missing the… Read more »
Life Without Plastic’s wooden toothbrush looks perfect, and I can easily see local manufacturers creating their own designs from locally available woods and bristle materials (with all respect to existing patents, of course!). The idea of being able to pop down to my local farmers market to pick up a locally- and sustainably-made, all-natural toothbrush is exactly where we need to be headed. Heck, we can get food, clothing, jewelry, cleaning and hygiene products (even handmade feminine hygiene products)…why not toothbrushes? Pretty please with a cherry on top send me the Life Without Plastic toothbrushes, and set my “Buy Local… Read more »
Since I like the natural bristles of my Fuchs, but hate the plastic handle (and the plastic case it came in!), I would very much like to try the Life Without Plastic wooden boar’s hair brush. I really appreciate their effort to have the least possible amount of packaging; covering only the part that goes in your mouth is brilliant, and I respect that LWP actually visited the family in Germany that makes the brushes and were impressed by them. Wow. How many sellers go to those lengths to ensure what they are selling meets the standards of their values?… Read more »

I would love to try the Preserve toothbrush. We don’t have commercial composting around here, so the recyclable toothbrush seems like the best option for me.

My vote is for the Life Without Plastic toothbrush using pig hair – interesting. would love to try ‘er out! :)

I currently use the Preserve brand of toothbrush and collect #5 yogurt cups to send to their Gimme5 program, but, of course, this is not the best use of resources. The toothbrush and yogurt cups are made of plastic, shipping cost is expensive, shipping requires fuel, etc., and I have to remember to go to the post office, but, realistically, it’s okay for this stage in my life (I am too lazy to make my own yogurt!). As I’m not a vegetarian, the Life Without Plastic’s Plastic-free Wooden Toothbrush would be really neat to try. I’m not squeamish, I like… Read more »

I am not vegetarian & I really do like the idea of using what you can of the hog to not waste, so I would say that my toothbrush of choice would be for the completely plastic free one, wooden with bristles

I’m super interested in those sticks, too, though! I can’t wait for your review of them

The neem looks promising, though quite expensive ($25 for what they call a 3 month supply), plus it looks expensive and complicated to get it across the border to Canada.

I’d love to try the environmental toothbrush. I’m also vegetarian and creeped out by the boar bristles. At a glance, this looks like the bristles could be removed and it could be reused as a plant label in the garden at the end of its life.

I’ve been thinking about the preserve ones. so far i’ve just been using the one the dentist gives me because budget is also part of the values i have to weigh. i’ve been looking into adding the gimme 5 bin at our recycling center, but have to figure out how much shipping will cost. please put me in for the preserve raffle. :)

I’m also eager to hear about the neem sticks. None of the above would work for me. I was plagued with sensitivity and enamel loss for years until I gave in and switched to a sonic electric toothbrush at my dentist’s suggestion. This is horrible from a plastic perspective but has saved me a world of physical pain and allowed me to eat and drink things I’d had to avoid. Does anyone know of a more sustainable sonic toothbrush?

Neem sticks are like nothing I’ve ever tried, so I may experiment with them once I hear about Beth’s experience.

I think the life without plastic toothbrush is the best option. All plastic leaches estrogenics. I don’t want to take the chance with my little boy. ( estrogens + growing boy=bad) So I try to reduce plastic as much as possible. This toothbrush does that.
I too am upset about toms discontinuing metal tubes. hope you do a post about that soon!!!!

I don’t think I can get past putting animal hair in my mouth. I have used the Preserve toothbrushes because they are recyclable. I would be interested in using the Environmental toothbrush.

i would like to use the Environmental Toothbrush. I have used the Preserve toothbrushes in the past and they are quite good, but I would like to try something new if possible. Thank you Beth for this great source of information. I had no idea there were so many options out there!!

Gees. Not easy is it !! I think I´d go for the wooden one made in Germany (I´m in Europe) with the pig hair. IF I knew the Pig was Free Range as I still eat Free Range meat occasionally. The irony is I´m lucky to know people who raise & kill their own pigs. & they ARE Free Range, Organic & happy as a Pig can be. So why would I get toothbrush hairs from China & Wood from Germany?? (we have trees here to) Madness! What I think I´ll do is pinch the idea. I know many resourceful… Read more »

I think that the ‘The Life Without Plastic toothbrush’ is the best. No plastic plus resourcefulness. Maybe it is the Native American in me, but I love to see that all the animal is being used and not being wasted.

Do you know where I could get them from Germany? I would love to reduce some travel miles (Germany to Québec, Québec to Norway). Would be nice to have one come up from Germany to me.

Try Amazon, Fonda As of 9/3/15 they are being sold on Amazon.
I believe the bristles are made from NYLON? They are NOT Organic, in my opinion.

Fonda, I have seen them on the German eBay site. Someone sent me this link a while back, but I didn’t mention it because it’s the same as the Life Without Plastic toothbrush:

I think the bamboo toothbrush would be the best. I’d like to choose pig hair too, but I tried once and after 2 uses the brush looked like a 1year-old toothbrush…. not durable !
I also think that the food you eat is important : less sugar and acids is less risks to damage your teeth, and then you need a bit less toothbrushing.

I haven’t seen any of these toothbrushes available in the UK. I have been using Monte Bianco toothbrushes (, which come in a plastic blister pack, and I don’t think are made from recycled plastic, but they have a reusable handle and replaceable head. I wonder why some of the options listed above don’t go for this model, which would cut down on the amount going to waste, whatever the toothbrush is made out of. Perhaps there is a practical reason.

I’m in Australia and once I finish my regular colgate toothpaste I’m going to be trying out this organic toothpaste which has eco-packaging made from plants…see more about their packaging here

Wow, this is such a great overview. I’ve been following your blog for a while now, specifically because of the depth you go into. I have been really curious about bristle brushes for a while now and would love to try the Life Without Plastic toothbrush.

The pig hair one gets my vote – would love to try it. Like the sticks the best though and look forward to your posts about them.

Ok, I don’t know if this *technically* is the response you are looking for (i.e. the companies are looking for) but I would love to try any of these. See, currently we are all using regular old plastic toothbrushes, since my MIL buys them and is always handing them out. She has started to look and only buy those made in the USA, which is a great start towards consumer awareness. But I would love to channel her further–but myself don’t know what I think is best. So I genuinely wish I could try one of each of those!!! I… Read more »

Looking forward to your post about toothpaste. I am also sad that Tom’s of Maine changed their packaging…

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth

I think you are exactly right about there not being any perfect answer and it is all about personal environmental priorities. At this point I would still choose Preserve (although I am very curious about the chew sticks). I like that it is both recycled and recyclable. I like that it is made here in the U.S. reducing the carbon footprint of shipping halfway around the world. I particularly like to avoid products made in China whenever possible. I like that it does not contain animal products. It isn’t perfect, but it is still the best choice for me.

I’ll also let people know that the Environmental Toothbrush is actually designed in Australia and created in China according to the packaging…but the bamboo is grown sustainably…

We’ve been using the Preserve toothbrushes forever and are really happy with them but I’ve been dying to try the bamboo one from Australia. The idea of being able to toss it in the city compost when I’m done instead of mail it back and have it turned into plastic decking is AWESOME!

This was tough. I decided I’d go with the preserve. One of the big reasons being that it is made in the US. I’ve had these in the past and enjoyed them. I have kept a few laying around because I just got lazy about mailing it back but I’d certainly give them another try. I love the idea of the wood one with the pig bristles but would like to know how the pigs are raised and are they ethically raised. I do eat meet but only meet we have raised or caught (fish). So I am sticking with… Read more »

We love Preserve toothbrushes as well as other products. We appreciate their recycling practices and they are also really close to us, so it’s a local product around here. And we buy them from an independent store to support the local economy (though I appreciate that they are available in so many places!).

I use the Environmental Toothbrush and love it. I didn’t realise the sleeve it came in was plastic though! :(

I guess that makes the pig bristle one a slightly better option from a compostability point of view… but I’m with Sandi and Marie. China’s not known for it’s humane treatment of animals.

But I’m totally intrigued by the neem sticks – how awesome to literally have your toothbrush grow on a tree! I would love to try those.

Wow. Great Discussion.
I would like to try the Life Without Plastic toothbrush. I don’t think the hair is really what the mistreated Chinese pig is in demand for, so for now it’s my favorite because there is no plastic.
thanks! :-)

I pick the Preserve one since it is made in the US and the bamboo one has to come all the way from Australia (otherwise it was a toss up). Being vegetarian, the pig hairs are out! I finally got use to brushing with straight baking soda which costs less and makes things easier since I shampoo with it too! It isn’t so bad when you get use to it…

I think I come down with the folks who like the Preserve. I know, part of me feels like I should be cool with the wood and pig-hair and stuff, but the way I look at it, there IS so much plastic around already, and I’m hugely in favor of finding ways to use it well and better–if it’s already here, and it won’t be biodegrading anywhere any time soon, let’s use the crap out of it and make sure its footprint is as worthwhile as possible, right?

(Plus I love that curved handle:-)

You can purchase other wood toothbrushes here
The Green Toolbelt. We love the idea that there are so many wonderful people interested in supporting a clean world. Check out and see what you can do in your area. Good energy all around!!!! Much love to Planet Earth!

I would love the preserve toothbrushes! I’m waiting for my current tooth brush to wear out (then sending it to the cleaning kit) but I’d my (and my husband’s, and my sister’s) next one to be a preserve.

Although I don’t usually eat pork, I’d LOVE to give the The Life Without Plastic toothbrush a try since it’s is the only commercially made completely plastic-free option. I don’t think the content of the bristles would bother me too much…and I guess it does utilize a ‘by-product’ of the meat industry. I recently tried the Preserve brushes, and although I actually LOVE the angle of the handle and the bristle stiffness, I would still prefer to find a plastic-free and biodegradable option for the family. Plus, one thing that bugged me was the children’s size Preserve came in a… Read more »
I went back and forth between all three of these toothbrushes and in the end I think that I would go with the environmental toothbrush… although, I’m not fond of the plastic wrapper or the name of it. I would like to say that I would go with the plastic free option, but I would probably have my partner use it instead and try to make myself feel better because at least one person in our house is not using a plastic toothbrush. I have been debating the toothpaste thing as well, but I still have time before we run… Read more »

Also, I definately agree with Alex…I never really even gave it a thought, I just brushed and went. Thanks Beth, I’m tally my plastic and getting ready to take on the challenge!

I really love the idea of the Life Without Plastic toothbrush with no plastic at all. I’m a little nervous, I’ll admit, about the durability of the pig bristles, but I’d definitely be excited to give it a shot and get yet more plastic out of my bathroom.

Here is where it gets tricky for me…Do I choose the Preserve, which has some degree of reducing my impact, and is made in the US or should I choose a toothbrush that is made further away but that I could possibly compost. How do you weigh the environmental cost of transport vs. the impact of Preserve’s plastic? I think I will choose Preserve because its made in the US and it is utilizing 100% post-consumer recycled #5. At least then, I would be making an impact (albeit small) by helping to foster the demand for products that are created… Read more »

Oops, hope it doesn’t sound like I am okay with mistreating pigs! To me, the pig hair is an acceptable alternative to plastic only if my use of the toothbrush doesn’t contribute to the mistreatment and/or slaughter of more pigs, which appears to be the case here.

Before I found your blog, I never really thought about how big of an ethical dilemma buying a toothbrush could be!

I think I’d like to try the environmental toothbrush. I liked the idea of the Boar bristles, but I too am leery of the Chinese connection. I’ve actually been looking for a non-plastic alternative, but I soak my current toothbrush weekly in hydrogen peroxide to clean it and I am careful not to splay the bristles by brushing too hard so I can use the same toothbrush for quite a while. I am not actively replacing my items with all non-plastic (when I replace them) but I am taking baby steps! I would love to try the neem sticks. I… Read more »

I love the preserve. The others are intriguing, but for now I’ll stick with the preserve. Saw something about the twig ones a while back, look forward to hearing if they work. I hear there is a technique to using them.

I’ve been meaning to try the Life Without Plastic toothbrush. It intrigues me since I can just huck it in my compost heap when it’s time to switch it up.

My vote goes for the Life Without Plastic brush. I’ve been meaning to try it, but I can’t really afford it, so I’ve been hanging on to my standard plastic one for what’s now an really embarrassing long time.

I’m okay with putting pig hair in my mouth, but I am a little wary of their source. If I imagine the worse case scenario, that the pigs are mistreated before slaughter, then I still think it’s it’s decent choice because using the pig hair doesn’t increase demand for pigs.

I would prefer the Life Without Plastic brush because of the minimal packaging and natural fibers. Since I am not a Vegetarian I don’t mind the pig hair. Like you mentioned, it uses materials that might not be used.

Im really interested in the neem sticks! I cant wait to read about it!

Well… I guess it’s a question of the lesser of a whole lotta evils here! I use something called TerraDent made by the company EcoDent. Their toothbrushes are not recycled nor are they recyclable, but you only buy the handle once and then just replace the heads (which do come in a blister pack). The company argues that their toothbrushes ultimately consume fewer resources than Preserve when you factor in the resources for shipping and manufacturing all of those handles. I dunno… sort of seems six of one, half dozen the other if you ask me. I’m very happy with… Read more »
I personally use the Preserve toothbrush. I like the recycling convenience they provide. (I don’t have curb-side recycling, & our town has very limited recycling options.) I’m a vegetarian, & the thought of scrubbing my teeth with the hair of an animal doesn’t sound appetizing, but I do appreciate the fact that they are using the hair of animals raised for food… I have heard bad things about China and the treatment of animals though. I doubt I would be able to recycle the plastic inner package of the other option, plus I have sensitive teeth & gums so the… Read more »

It seems to me I once read that someone was using a small piece of washcloth to brush their teeth, very intriguing. Also, Weleda makes toothpaste in a metal tube, of course there is the plastic cap to deal with,

For me, something that can break down and is as natural as possible is the best. I would choose the Environmental Toothbrush since parts of it biodegrade. I don’t like the plastic packaging, but maybe at some point they can find a better alternative. I just can’t get into an all plastic toothbrush no matter if it’s made from recycled materials and recyclable or not. Too many things just don’t get recycled even though they are supposed to, and I am uneasy with the chemicals in plastic. I think the neem sticks sound great so definitely let us know how… Read more »
I use a preserve toothbrush – I’ll never completely eliminate plastic from my life (but try to decrease it) so preserve creates a market for the used stuff. BUT neem us just about the most awesome plant around. I think it might be more useful than tea tree. It’s great for cleaning your house or body, I’ve used the oil as an insect repellant, and you can buy bottles at garden centers for insect control. AND, coolest of all, neem might work as a male birth control (which, we seriously need) I talked to a man from India once (when… Read more »

i dig the preserve option – though plastic is involved, the fact that they are made in the U.S. with a smaller carbon footprint from shipping is great. I also love the simply dropping them off at Whole Foods to be recycled!

BUT – I would really like to try the environmental toothbrush.

and pig’s hair? yuck-o!

I would like a chance to try the Preserve Recycled/Recyclable Toothbrush, I really like the idea that it comes with it’s own recycleable mailer! With it’s softer bristles that would work well with my sensitive gums.
Thank you for this give away, It is really interesting to see the different options!
Wast Not Want Not Eco. Journey:

Beth: I remember my mother using Arm & Hammer baking soda to brush our teeth. Comes in a paper box so no plastic there…not sure it should be used everyday, but worth looking into as a plastic free option.

it cannot be so difficult ot skip plastic if we could invest in some research for alternatives to plastic/animal product. and yes, neem has been in use for centuries in india. but one point…how about vegetative propogation can they ship seeds…is it not illegal…neem is indigenous to india….i m scared of another neem patent (after basmati and turmeric)

Sudha, I forgot to say that the Neem is grown in North America. They have nurseries in Florida and Mexico. I just updated my post to clarify that the Neem is grown in North America, not India.

Good point about the chinese pig hair. I was going with the xompostability of it, but I was in china 2 years ago and animals do suffer. More than US setups? Hard to know. I change my vote to the Environmental Brush even though it’s flown in from so far away. Not an easy choice!

Jessica | Cloth Diapering Mama

I would love to try the environmental toothbrush!

I WISH I could say the Life without Plastic option…but I just don’t want to put pig hair in between my teeeeeeeeeeeth!

Thanks for the intriguing post and giveaway, Beth!

As a vegan, I could not use the pig hair options, and my daughter, although not a vegetarian, says she is creeped out by the idea of pig hair going in the mouth. Interesting. Anyway, for me I think the bamboo one seems the best choice, although it is too bad that it is being shipped all the way from Australia. That really ups the environmental cost. BTW thanks for all your efforts on what to me is often just an incredibly depressing part of modern reality.

I’ve also been using the Environmental Toothbrush for a couple of months now and I find that it is better than the plastic toothbrushes I was using before. They also have a child-size toothbrush for those who are interested in them for their children. I had bought a packet of 12 and have been giving them away to visitors in a hope that they’ll adopt them as their choice for a toothbrush…

I would love to try the neem. It seems as the most sustainable natural alternative. Can we win one of these to try?

I’ve been using the Environmental Toothbrush for a few months now. It took a while to get used to the bamboo in my mouth – it’s kind-of more “sticky” than plastic. But I don’t even think twice about it now. If the bristles didn’t come from China, I would have liked to try the wooden one with the boar bristles. However, China has a horrible reputation for how they treat animals, so leave me out of this one. I’ll stick with the bamboo from Australia.

Loving the life without plastic wooden brush! I am a meat eater and I believe in eating/using all possible parts of an animal….as an environmental and ethical belief. Plus this option seems to have minimal packaging and good looks!

I currently use Life Without Plastic’s toothbrush. It took me a while to get used to. The bristles were really hard at first, then quickly became too soft. I find that using two, one in the morning and one in the evening, allows the bristles to dry out completely which makes them stiffer again. That’s the way it goes when you use animal hair, I suppose. But this seems to work for me. I was tempted, but leery about trying Preserve’s plastic toothbrush, as it is still plastic. If my intention with using less (or no) plastic was that I… Read more »
I have recently fallen in love with my Cebra toothbrush [also from sustainably harvested wood and boar bristles “from happy boars”]. I’m a huge fan of the adult wooden toothbrush. I was a bit skeptical at first, because of the woody feel and I was applying way too much pressure [thereby tangling my bristles]. I’ve found that, in combination with regular flossing, this toothbrush works better than a typical nylon brush. Overall the best part is knowing that at the end of it life, this toothbrush can go into my compost pile. Hurrah for Cebra! The Life Without Plastic Toothbrushes… Read more »

For me the Life Without Plastic’s Plastic-free Wooden Toothbrush would be the best choice. My mother mentioned that when she was a girl she was always given boar bristle toothbrushes and you knew they were worn out when the bristles started breaking off in large quantities in your mouth. I’ve never seen any of the options you mentioned in stores but that’s probably because the nearby town has only 1500 people! LOL

I use Preserve. Not too hard…really, nice and soft. Curved nicely. And I always send them back to them when I’m done. And, they’re available at Trader Joe’s. Would love to try some of the other ‘natural’ ones though. A little more difficult to find.

Very timely Beth-I have been wanting to find a new eco-friendly toothbrush. Seems that there isn’t the perfect, eco toothbrush yet….some work needs to be done. I would love to try The Environmental Toothbrush. I have to admit, when you reviewed the wooden toothbrush and mentioned “natural bristles made from pig hair” i gagged. Yep, I’m an almost vegan.

Neems all natural sticks, it does not get any better than that!!!

I would love to try the bamboo one or the preserve one so I can show my dentist. I can’t do the pig hair one being a veg too and kosher.

I wonder also about Peelu, which is a gum which does not have plastic in could sub for brushing your teeth?

Anna, how is Peelu wrapped? And what are the ingredients?

Alison, you would have to check with your Whole Foods to see what they accept for recycling. As far as the Preserve program goes, they only accept items that have a #5 on them. They might also say PP. Cup lids are usually #6 polystyrene. And straws are a variety of materials.

I would choose the twigs first then the pig hair brush. I’m somewhat ovsessive about being self sufficient in addition to plastic free so the twig trees option would take it one step further.
For toothpaste, I’ve been putting baking soda in a small baby food jar and mixing in (with a chop stick) just enough tea tree oil to moisten it. i just dunk my damp toothbrush into the top of the jar and enough sticks to the brush.

I have a bag of plastic to take to whole Foods. like cup lids, etc. do they take straws too? I just bought a box of paper straws! love those!
my daughter uses the preserve toothbrushes, so thay will be our choice. We love Tom’s of Maine too! We went to their store years ago, I don’t even know if it is still there!

Wow! Decisions, decisions…I guess we should be glad there ARE actually multiple alternatives out there, thanks to more conscientious consumers demanding change, and willing to pay a little more for it. I love Preserve, and have given them as gifts and used them (atoning for years of yoghurt consumption).

But, for me the Life Without Plastic wooden toothbrush is the best choice, since it doesn’t use any plastic, and doesn’t get recycled into more plastic stuff (like fences & park benches) which we really don’t need.

I use Preserve toothbrushes, but I’d like to try the Environmental Toothbrush. It seems intriguing :)

I love the bamboo one! We use a lot of eco-friendly bamboo products in our home, and this would take the cake!