How to recycle a bamboo toothbrush?
How do you recycle a bamboo toothbrush or wooden toothbrushes? This is actually a slightly misleading question….
… to recycle means to convert waste into reusable material, or to use something again for a different purpose.
When we talk about recycling glass, plastic or metal we are talking about taking a product we are finished with and processing that waste so that it can be made into something new. Glass can be recycled indefinitely whereas plastic can only be recycled a finite number of times.
Bamboo is unlikely to be recycled in this way as it’s not a finite resource. It grows rapidly with no need for pesticides or fertilizer, plus it is compostable, and so there is little incentive for it to be recycled in this way.
The term recycling may also refer to reusing a product in a different way. For example, you might recycle yoghurt pots into planters, or old greeting cards into gift tags. And you certainly can reuse your toothbrush in a similar way.
5 recycling ideas to reuse a bamboo toothbrush
- 1. Brush things other than your teeth. Toothbrushes are great for cleaning. Use them to scrub the grout in your bathroom, clean your trainers or help out with the washing up. (just make sure you sterilise them before you get to work on your cheese grater or garlic crusher.)
- 2. Keep in on your desk. Use your old toothbrush to keep your keyboard and other electrical items dust-free.
- 3. Keep them for crafts and DIY. Old toothbrushes make great paint stirrers and can be used creatively as well. You might find they’re the perfect texture to create a fab new paint effect or just the right size to plug a gap. You could even save them up and make them into a photo frame.
- 4. Use them in the garden. Remove the bristles and an old toothbrush makes a great plant marker. Just write on the handle and stick them in the ground.
- 5. Use as a chew toy. Take the bristles out and they make a great chew toy. And they’ll compost a lot faster once they’ve been chewed into tiny pieces.
Disposing of your bamboo toothbrush
Once you’ve recycled and reused your toothbrush as long as possible it’s time to dispose of it.
The first step is to remove the bristles as (unless they are made of boar hair) they generally won’t be compostable. Even bristles made from natural materials such as castor oil still won’t break down in your garden compost.
Find out more about what bamboo toothbrush bristles are made of here.
Remove bristles using a pair of pliers or just snap off the whole head.
Nylon is recyclable so check with your local recycling centre to find out the best way to dispose of or recycle the bristles. You might be best off collecting them up for a while until you have a decent amount.
Now you are left with just the bamboo handle. This can then be put in your garden compost, food waste or even just buried in the garden. You could even add it to the woodpile if you have a stove or fireplace.