Yesterday, I wrote about toothbrush companies incorrectly claiming that their toothbrush bristles were biodegradable, and I mentioned that I personally use a Brush with Bamboo toothbrush. It’s not perfect, and the bristles are not biodegradable, but the difference is that the company isn’t claiming that they are. And, after doing much research, they have come out with an upgraded toothbrush with bristles made from plant-based plastic instead of petroleum-based plastic. Yes, they are still plastic. But the company is striving to get away from fossil fuels, and I think this new bristle could be a step in the right direction.
Watch this video about the Kumar family and all of the steps they have taken not only to develop the most sustainable toothbrush, but also to create an urban educational organic farm in their neighborhood.
What I Like About Brush with Bamboo
- The polyamide bristles are made from 62% castor bean oil, which means that they require less fossil-based carbon than traditional Nylon bristles. Read more about castor bean plastic here. According to the manufacturer’s website, because castor beans grow in poor soil, they do not compete with other food crops.
- The toothbrush is Certified 95% Biobased by the USDA, which means that the claims are verified by a third party. (Note: Certified BioBased simply means that the product is made from plants, but not that it can biodegrade.)
- The box is 100% paper without any plastic tape or glue to hold it together. (It has tabs instead of glue.)
- The toothbrush handle is made from a single piece of bamboo, so it doesn’t require any adhesive either. (Curvier handles often require multiple pieces of bamboo to create that shape.)
- The clear bag inside the box is compostable in an industrial compost facility. (However, there are better options. More on that below.)
- The company believes in full disclosure and doesn’t make claims it can’t back up.
How Brush with Bamboo Could Be Better
- As I mentioned above, the inside wrapper is compostable in an industrial compost facility. That is because it’s made from PLA, a corn-based compostable plastic. However, there are better options out there, and Brush with Bamboo has been working on them. For example, a bag made from cellulose that could compost at home and would not compete with the food supply would be more sustainable. And some people question whether the bag is necessary at all.
- 100% plant-based bristles that are truly compostable should be the over-arching goal. I appreciate that the new bristles use less petroleum than the previous ones, but I’m still on the lookout for a completely biodegradable toothbrush whose bristles are not derived from the Chinese meat industry.
What kind of toothbrush do you use?