Is There Such Thing as an Eco-Friendly Electric Toothbrush?

More and more of us are looking to cut down on our plastic waste and switch to zero-waste alternatives.

Toothbrushes are a major contributor to plastic waste as you’re recommended to replace your toothbrush head every 3 months.

They often aren’t recyclable or are difficult to recycle, as they contain several different materials.

Since electric toothbrushes are made primarily from plastic and use electricity, they’re not especially eco-friendly.

However, some electric toothbrushes are more eco-friendly than others, and several companies are creating innovative new ways to reduce the environmental impact of electric toothbrushes.

In this article we’ll look at some of the most environmentally friendly options.

Be – a battery-free toothbrush

 

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Instead of using batteries or plugging it into the mains, you power this toothbrush by twisting the bottom of the brush. It’s essentially a wind-up toothbrush.

Be, which stands for “Beyond Electric”, started as a Kickstarter project that received over $400,000 in funding.

The product isn’t available for sale yet, but Goodwell Co., the company behind Be, are planning to launch the it in spring 2019.

As well as being battery-free, this toothbrush is eco-friendly in a few other ways:

  • Recyclable body
  • 100% biodegradable brush heads

The Be toothbrush hasn’t been released yet, so we can’t say how well it performs. The inventors have been accused of faking a demonstration video showing the toothbrush running for 2 minutes without slowing down.

LiveCoco Recyclable Toothbrush Heads

These electric toothbrush heads are made of plastic, but are recyclable and you can send them back to the manufacturers (LiveCoco) for recycling. The packaging used is also completely recyclable, but contains plastic as well.

The toothbrush heads contain binchotan charcoal, which could help whiten teeth.

These toothbrush heads are compatible with most Oral-B toothbrushes, but not Oral-B Sonic and Cross Action toothbrushes.

While they might be more eco-friendly than some of the other options, these toothbrush heads still aren’t particularly good for the planet. They contain plastic which needs to be recycled and might not be recycled by your local council.

You can send it back to the manufacturers to be recycled, but that will use energy.

Recycling Electric Toothbrushes

You can take electric toothbrushes to your local recycling centre if they accept electricals. It’s unlikely that the whole thing will be recycled as electric toothbrushes use lots of different materials, some of which are easier to recycle than others.

Read more about recycling your electric toothbrush here.

Recycling toothbrush heads is possible, though still quite tricky. You could buy recyclable heads such as those from LiveCoco discussed above, though they may need to be sent back to the manufacturer if your local authority can’t recycle them. You could also put them in a Terracycle Zero Waste box, but this would cost you money.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a zero-waste electric toothbrush on the market at the moment. All electric toothbrushes contain plastic and all except the Be toothbrush discussed above use electricity.

Manual bamboo toothbrushes are more eco-friendly, but even they use plastic bristles.

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