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Are Toothbrushes Recyclable?
Dentists around the world would emphasize tooth brushing as a hygienic act for everyone. Many would even recommend that you brush twice daily to keep a good set of teeth.
Since brushing is a daily personal thing, there’s more to consider than just your hygiene. Since it is not advisable to share toothbrushes, we can make a case for millions of toothbrushes in America.
Although your toothbrushes are not a one-time thing, you can’t use them for life. As such, after some time, you need to change them and get a new one. Where the old ones go are what our concern is today.
When you throw them away, what impact do they have on the environment? Can you put them in the recycle bin? Are there even other things your old toothbrushes can do? In this article, we will answer all these questions and more. Let’s go.
Contents [hide]Can You Recycle the Toothbrushes?Can You Recycle Toothpaste Tubes?Can You Recycle an Electric Toothbrush?Are Toothbrushes Bad for the Environment?1. Toothbrushes Are Likely to End Up in Landfills2. Toothbrushes May End Up in the Ocean or Back in the Environment3. Toothbrushes Are Mostly Plastic MaterialsHow Long Does It Take for A Toothbrush to Decompose?10 Genius Hacks to Reuse Old Toothbrushes1. Use Them for Cleaning2. Comb with It3. Apply Hair Dye Using a Toothbrush4. Remove Dust From Toys5. Use it For Art and Painting6. Clean Your Jewellery7. Clean Your Own Hairbrush8. Clean Blinds and Windows9. Clean Computer or Laptop Hardware10. Remove Sticky Marks on the WallConclusion
Can You Recycle the Toothbrushes?
Have you ever tried googling how long you can use your toothbrush? If you have not, then relax. The answer you would get is three or four months. What this means is that you alone use between three or four toothbrushes in twelve months.
If you multiply this by the number of people in America alone, you would feel concerned about the environment. The question to then ask is simple. To reduce the impact on the environment, can you recycle them?
Of course, recycling seems like the best option for toothbrushes. Especially since many toothbrushes are plastic materials, however, this is not the case. Many or even all your toothbrushes are Not recyclable.
True, they are plastic materials, but their plastic materials are different from what is easily recyclable. Many recycling companies complain that toothbrushes plastic materials have a hard time breaking down. And, more problematic is that it sticks into recycling machines.
This, of course, gives the recyclers a hard time. Besides, the whole thing ends up not being useful in the end. So, the best thing is not to bring toothbrushes into the recycling machine. And since you are not getting toothbrushes into the machine, you shouldn’t put them in your recycle bin.
You may wonder what’s next if you are not putting them in the recycling bin. Well, what’s best is for you to dispose of them properly.
Asides from this, you could locate where to send them. Yes, some centers help you keep used materials that you can’t recycle. The thing is for you to find them and send your toothbrushes to them. You can also send your other materials to them. They know what to do about everything without harming the environment.
Can You Recycle Toothpaste Tubes?
If you are reading this, you shouldn’t have a hard time knowing some things about brushing. Asides from your toothbrush, your toothpaste is essential.
See also Are Corks Recyclable? (And Ways To Reuse Old Corks)Unlike your toothbrushes, toothpaste may not last up to three or four months. And since the toothpaste come in different tubes, you have no option than to dispose of them when finished.
But then, is it possible for you to recycle the toothpaste tubes? It looks like plastic material, so that you may think recycling them should be simple.
If this is your thought, you are mistaken. Like toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes are not easy to recycle. The reason for this is not farfetched.
Due to its purpose, many of the toothbrush tubes contain aluminum materials. Asides from this, the plastic materials are not the same. They are different types that come together to make the toothpaste tube. As a result of this, it becomes tough to put them in the recycle bin.
First, the aluminum materials would mix with plastic materials. And this would prevent easy recycling. Aside from this, different plastic materials also present a problem. Since they are not the same, they would need extraction.
However, this may be a waste of time for recyclers as the plastic materials mix up in the process. Even if they want to extract the plastic materials, there is yet another problem with machinery. Not many of the recycling centers have the machines to do this properly.
So, it is better not to put your toothpaste tubes in a recycling bin in situations like this.
You may want to consider the option of sending them away to various centers. Some centers collect all your non-recyclables and use them for other things. This way, you save the environment. Otherwise, it would be best if you cultivated the habit of properly disposing of your toothpaste tubes.
Can You Recycle an Electric Toothbrush?
Technology and innovations have made life easy for all of us. Now, we don’t need to go manual with things we do. If they are not digital, there is a way to power them electrically for use.
If there is still something you are doing manually, you should consider checking the store for it. The chances are that there is an innovative product making life easy for people.
In this innovative quest, our hygiene, too, is not left out. Many things are now accessible to us. There is currently an electric toothbrush to use for us.
Yes, everyone commends the innovation, but there is a question we need to ask. What happens afterward? One thing is exact; you can’t use the electric toothbrush for life. Even though it is more efficient, it wears out after three months of use. It, therefore, means that millions of electric toothbrushes are going somewhere yearly.
The probable thing is to try and recycle them. But can you?
Electric toothbrushes are not like ordinary toothbrushes. They have different materials that you can’t recycle together. Although individually, you can recycle the materials, it still becomes a little complicated.
For instance, electric toothbrushes contain batteries, plastics, and other electrical materials. Recycling is not always advisable. Even the toothbrush head that you change intermittently is not recyclable.
The best thing is for you to try to recycle the materials individually. You can package the batteries separately for recycling. Do the same for other materials used for the electric toothbrushes too. This is probably, the only way you can recycle your electric toothbrushes.
See also Are Aluminum Cans Recyclable? (And 7 Ways to Reuse)If, however, you are not sure. You can reach out to your local recycling centers. One of them may have plans for electric toothbrushes. Or may even be able to advise you on adequately separating and packaging the electric toothbrushes’ materials for recycling.
If you can’t do any of these, it is better that you cultivate the habit of properly disposing of them. This way, you will be helping the environment. As we have pointed out earlier, you can also send your electric materials out.
All you need to do is locate a unique center that receives non-recyclables. Then, send your materials to them. They will take it up from there; it’s that easy.
Are Toothbrushes Bad for the Environment?
If you have been following through, you probably should have realized the answer to this question. It seems that since you cannot recycle toothbrushes, they would be bad for the environment. If this is your thought, you’ve made no mistake.
Toothbrush materials are not like your paper towel materials that biodegrade easily. Since they are mostly plastic materials, it would mean that they are bad for the environment. Let’s tell you how.
1. Toothbrushes Are Likely to End Up in Landfills
First, toothbrushes are not recyclable. However, we have advised that you send them to special centers. We still cannot move away from the fact that many people will toss the toothbrushes in the waste bin.
When you do this, there are no two ways about it. Your used toothbrushes end up in the landfills. Being in dumps create a lot of problems for the environment. And given their number and decaying rate, we should be more concerned.
2. Toothbrushes May End Up in the Ocean or Back in the Environment
The problem does not end because you have tossed your toothbrushes in the waste bin. They go to the landfill and stay there not for life but possibly until a massive flood washes them off. When flood washes them off, they end up in the ocean or the environment. In turn, they can harm the environment and even marine animals.
3. Toothbrushes Are Mostly Plastic Materials
Like you would have observed, your toothbrushes are mostly plastic materials. What this brings to the fore is the effect of plastic on the environment. Plastic materials don’t decompose quickly. Even where they decompose, they only break down into microplastics that remain in the soil. This, of course, would reduce the fertility of the earth and affect plant growth.
They may also end up in the marine environment where they can affect fishes and other animals.
How Long Does It Take for A Toothbrush to Decompose?
Recall that many toothbrushes are plastic materials. This means that it takes an extraordinarily long time to break down in the environment. On average, it takes close to 100 years before plastic materials decompose. It might even take longer, depending on the thickness of the plastic materials.
For electronic toothbrushes, the metal part may decompose after some years. But, if there is a part of plastic, you should not expect the same result. For the wires and batteries, they might not take a hundred years to decompose. This, however, will depend on the materials used in making them.
Nonetheless, since toothbrushes are mostly plastic materials, it might not be wrong to say they take decades to decompose. There is, however, still a problem after the plastic material appears to have decomposed. The truth is, plastic materials don’t break down entirely and vanish. Somewhat, they reduce to microplastics, which remain in the soil for many more years.
See also Are Tide Detergent Pods Bad for The Environment?
10 Genius Hacks to Reuse Old Toothbrushes
Since you have read to this point, you are worried about toothbrushes’ impact on the environment. The right way to go is to find alternative uses for your old toothbrushes to reduce these impacts. Don’t just toss them in the bin after three or four months. You can get creative with them. How do you do this?
1. Use Them for Cleaning
Let’s face it. The primary purpose of toothbrushes is to clean. True, you have used it for your teeth, but you can use it for something else. You can always use it to clean narrow surfaces or places you can’t quickly reach. There are many things you can clean with your old toothbrushes. The list is endless. You can clean your desks, shoes, tiles, edges, doorknobs, toilet seats, and many other things.
2. Comb with It
Why did you think your toothbrush is a combination of two words? Well, probably because the manufacturers know you can also use it to brush. For instance, you can use it to brush your eyebrows and your hair edges. It’s just convenient using it for this purpose.
3. Apply Hair Dye Using a Toothbrush
If you are short of hair combs that come with your hair dye, you can use your toothbrush to apply hair dye on your hair. The toothbrush will work much better than those little separating combs.
4. Remove Dust From Toys
Your kids’ toys can be a haven for dust and other small particles. A used toothbrush is a perfect tool to remove those dust particles so that your kids can play with it happily again.
5. Use it For Art and Painting
A used toothbrush can add texture to your paintings or pottery. You can create your own designs and showcase them to your friends and family.
6. Clean Your Jewellery
Your old jewelry might have got some dust if you haven’t used it in a while. Your old used toothbrush is a perfect tool for cleaning your old necklace and other jewelry. The bristles would help to remove dust from those tricky areas and keep your jewelry clean as earlier.
7. Clean Your Own Hairbrush
Your comb might have those unwanted hairs that you have to remove every time you pick it to comb your hair. A used toothbrush can be used to lift the hair out of it in no time.
8. Clean Blinds and Windows
Toothbrushes work best when it comes to cleaning your home blinds and windows. Just take them and slide them across your windows to get rid of the dust.
9. Clean Computer or Laptop Hardware
The computer and laptop hardware is just so hard to clean. Those tiny circuits on your hardware can get some dust on it and can be easily cleaned using toothbrush bristles.
10. Remove Sticky Marks on the Wall
Those sticky marks on the wall can be very frustrating to look at. Use a used toothbrush to remove stiffy marks from the walls and doors.
Toothbrushes are our daily materials. As we use them, we should also be conscious of their environmental impact. By following the information in this article, you should not have a problem with the environment. Keep your mouth clean and keep the environment safe.