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

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.


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.

2 thoughts on “Is There Such Thing as an Eco-Friendly Electric Toothbrush?”

  1. Its a shame you haven’t found any companies working on electric toothbrushes which are designed for disassembly and repair?

    Yes – the toothbrush heads need to be recyclable or biodegradable as they become expended with use, but the body of an electric toothbrush should last forever, why would I want to ever thro it away? Don’t be so quick to demonise plastic – its a durable material and we don’t need everything to be disposable. After all, we already have several decades worth of plastic in the world, its not going to disappear, and it’s currently in a toxic format (in our water, soil, air). What if we made electric toothbrushes from 100% recycled plastic and designed for repair? This also speaks to the business and service models behind these products supporting a culture of circularity and repair, not just the physical materials. Oversimplifying this important subject isn’t helping to educate consumers.

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