Can You Recycle Toothbrush Heads in the UK?

Electric toothbrush

Most of us are becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact of waste on our environment.

Local councils provide us with different bins for our recycling, usually divided into garden waste, paper and cardboard, and plastics.

There are also options for recycling other household items (white goods, electronic items etc.) at our local recycling centres.

There are many everyday objects we can now recycle easily, but if we look around our homes there are still plenty of items we aren’t recycling, sometimes because we don’t know where or how to recycle them.

Around 23.1 million people used electric toothbrushes in the UK in 2017 according to Statista.

Dental hygienists recommend patients change the heads every 3 months, which amounts to a lot of used toothbrush heads adding to the UK’s waste.

So, is there anywhere we can recycle our used toothbrush heads, and are there any other eco-friendly options available?

Read on to find out more.

Recycling Companies

TerraCycle offer recycling programmes to help recycle hard-to-recycle waste, including toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads.

TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box can be filled with all kinds of oral care waste.

Once the box is full, the box can be sent back to TerraCycle who will safely recycle the contents.

The Zero Waste Box costs over £100, so you’re not likely to buy one for your own home, but there might be one at a local school, dentist surgery or other nearby business where you could take your old toothbrush heads.

The company have recently partnered with Colgate to create a free recycling programme for all oral care products and packaging aimed at schools and charities, and more details can be found on their website here.

Supermarkets

Larger supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s, are now providing recycling boxes in store for hard-to-recycle items.

Most supermarkets are now committed to reducing waste, so even if facilities aren’t available to recycle your toothbrush heads yet, keep checking your local supermarket regularly as more recycling options are introduced all time.

Buying Eco-Friendly Toothbrush Heads

If you’re struggling to find anywhere to recycle your toothbrush heads, you could try buying eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush heads.

Manual bamboo toothbrushes with replaceable heads can be bought easily online, with replaceable heads only costing around £2 here.

If you prefer to use an electric toothbrush, you can now buy recyclable toothbrush heads  made by a company called LiveCoco. They are specifically designed to be used with Oral B electronic brushes and can be bought from Holland & Barrett or on Amazon here.

These toothbrush heads have a 100% recyclable body and charcoal fibre bristles, and they can be recycled by sending them back to LiveCoco.

For more tips on how to reduce your plastic waste, see our guide to using less plastic.

4 thoughts on “Can You Recycle Toothbrush Heads in the UK?”

  1. Thank you so much!
    I’ve been saving up my old electric toothbrush heads while I tried to figure out what to do with them and this info is exactly what I needed.
    The LiveCoco recyclable charcoal brushes look great and I wouldn’t have thought to look for them (although I might try to avoid Amazon!)
    Really helpful article!

  2. Thanks for the article. You said, “These toothbrush heads have a 100% recyclable body … and they can be recycled with your usual waste or at a local recycling centre.”
    I think you meant to say that they “have a 100% recycled body” because as you know, every thing is recyclable but only if there are accessable facilities in existance to recycle them. But providing facilities isnt on the government’s profit over people agenda as they dont make or save them money.

    I think it’s very important to educate people on the difference between reusing and recycling and also the difference beyween recycled and recyclable. Just because something is recyclable doesnt mean there exists a facility to do it, and, “Recycling” centres don’t recycle everything they receive.

    On a Wise Up To Waste website there’s a message from one recycling centre which says “There is no longer a cost-effective market for recycling such goods. We regret that we will not therefore be accepting hard plastics for recycling” which I think is the case nationally as a family member used to work in a “recycling” centre.

    To say hard plastic items (whether recycled, recyclable or both) “can be recycled with your usual waste doesnt make sense whether you meant through your general waste or actual recycling. Black wheelie bins go to landfill and I’m not aware of any kerbside recycling or recycling centres which actually recycle hard plastics.

    Also people with morals should never use Amazon. Net searching Boycott + Amazon gives you endless reasons from newspspers and Ethical Consumer type professionals.

    Paying a tiny bit more supports social, environmental justice and human rights and affiliate marketeers with an ethical conscience would support ethical businesses.

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