10 Seconds to Save 50 Million Pounds of Trash
Introducing my first feature: Ten second tip Tuesday! Simple tips to make your life more green. This week: switching to a compostable toothbrush instead of using a plastic/rubber/nylon based one. It takes 10 seconds to buy one online.
I usually buy mine from this local outdoor market in Boston (I know some booths always have them), but they are easily available from multiple vendors on Amazon. I even stock up on extras for guests who end up loving them and buying their own! I don’t have a specific preference of brand, but make sure the brush and packaging are both completely compostable. This means that after you have used the brush, it can be decomposed into fertilizer instead of ending up in a landfill or the ocean. Basically, these brushes come from the ground, and end up back in the ground.
If you don’t have your own composter (most people don’t) or a local compost pick-up service, look into the waste management website of your city. Often, you can find a list of compost dropoff sites (generally farmers markets, community centers, and occasionally even a Whole Foods). Make sure you ask before dropping off your compostable waste at a business if it is unclear.
I use City Compost in Boston and Recycled City in Phoenix to have my compostable waste picked up easily - both services are under $20 a month and have pretty much eliminated the entirety of my waste. I just leave my 5-gallon bucket filled with waste every other week, and they leave me with a new, clean bucket. Many cities are now providing compost pickup for free (most of Canada has had this option for years), so make sure to look into what your city offers.
I also use a stainless steel countertop compost bin from Target that was only $12.99 on sale! It keeps my food scraps from sinking up the kitchen, and the charcoal filter in the lid especially helps decrease any odors. (My apartment has never had a noticeable compost smell).
Speaking of charcoal… I also use a DIY charcoal-based powder for teeth whitening. If you would like to learn the recipe, comment below! Charcoal is a miracle product - I recently travelled without my face wash and shampoo, and used Charcoal for my teeth, face, hair, AND (bonus) as a shoe deodorizer. Talk about efficiency! Yay for charcoal!
If you want to learn more about why plastic toothbrushes are harmful to the environment and ultimately to us, there is plenty of great literature out there on the topic. Here area few quick facts:
- Manufacturing nylon releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310x more potent than CO2.
- 1 billion toothbrushes (50 mil lbs!) end up as waste annually in the US
- These toothbrushes end up in our water systems (contaminating our water and marine life - bas if you like eating seafood!), in the bellies of birds and other wildlife, and landfills
If none of this convinces you to make the switch, bamboo brushes are aesthetically pleasing (much better than a clunky plastic one!), cheap, and easy to order.
Let me know if you make the switch!
PS: There are FREE bamboo brushes at givingbrush.com. I have not tried their brushes yet, but please comment and let me know if you do!