Green Products: Finding a green toothbrush

Ethical consumption is an odd principle to follow when you live in an extremely use-and-throw society. There are so many aspects of green living that you don't even think about because they are just micro-issues in your universe that you just take for granted. All this I pondered last night, when I changed my toothbrush - where do all the used toothbrushes go?

You are meant to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months which means that a person goes through 3-4 toothbrushes a year. In America alone, 50 million pounds of toothbrushes are tossed into landfills each year.  Using an electric toothbrushes (a ridiculous invention if ever) would add 48g of CO2 a day to your footprint. Every time I decide to replace mine, I am boggled by the amount of choices available - rubber handles, swivel heads, bent handles, criss-cross bristles  etc etc.

Of course at the end of your toothbrush's life you can always put it to other uses after you disinfect it - they are most useful, let me vouch for that. These mostly involve cleaning purposes so you can use your imagination here. Other than that, it is obvious that the bristles wear out sooner than the rest. There are companies that offer a replaceable head -  Eco-dent offers one such toothbrush. This reduces waste to a large degree. The same company also offers toothpaste, vegan floss and other eco-friendly dental hygiene products. Monte Bianco is another company that offers this same type of replaceable-head tooth-brush.

Preserve makes a toothbrush brush called Recycline with handles made of polypropylene plastic that has been recycled from used Stonyfield Yogurt cups. At the end of its life, it can be recycled with other recyclable or sent back to the company in an envelope they provide with your purchase and they recycle into many other nifty products. Your regular toothbrush might be recyclable as well - check the package.

Radius is a company offers recyclable toothbrushes made from naturally occurring cellulose derived from sustainable yield forests. Its battery powered toothbrush uses replaceable heads to reduce environmental impact. Shiken a Japanese company has introduced a hi-tech solar powered toothbrush. Shiken, a Japan-based company has introduced really an amazing gadget or product that uses solar energy that does not even require toothpaste. It contains a titanium dioxide rod in the neck which is moisture-activated, when light hits the rod it releases electrons that combines with mouth acids to break down plaque. How fancy!

Unfortunately none of these are available yet in India so I think back to what we did before toothbrushes became popular. I remember my grandparents using Vicco tooth-powder that is made of ground up herbs and other good-for-teeth-things which they applied with their fingers. Bit manky, you might think but they haven't had so much as a whisper of tooth trouble, touch wood. There are still many people in India who use a twig of the neem tree as a toothbrush; a veritable green product - eco-friendly, healthy and biodegradable. You can also use miswak chewing twigs instead of neem.

So now my old toothbrush is being recommissioned as a cleaner of things like bathroom tiles and such like. I have time to think of new alternatives until my fresh brush wears out. However I reckon I should start practicing now, excuse me while I go out to collect a bunch of neem twigs.