Plastic-Free July 2020: Day 31 – Toothbrushes!

I’m a little disappointed in how we seem to have given up on toothbrushes. What I mean by that is that most of us are ignoring the fact that bamboo brushes still use nylon bristles.

Are we really okay with this?

Are we really happy with the idea that we have to take a pair of pliers and rip out the bristles to send them to Terracycle to process? It can be difficult to pull those little suckers out!


From a 2017 Post: Pull Out Those Bristles

What’s even more frustrating is how all these eco-friendly companies make it difficult to figure out what the bristles are. Many just say BPA-Free. It’s like if you went to a restaurant, and you asked the waiter what’s in the soup, and he starts listing all the things that aren’t in it. Just tell me what it is. Why are you skirting over the most important question?

Probably because they don’t like to advertise that the bristles are nylon and have to be plucked from the brush and shipped to be recycled. That’s not a huge selling point.


ignacio-f-gFixufaXB0k-unsplashCharcoal-infused bristles are still nylon.

If there was more of a demand for truly backyard compostable bristles, trust me, some company would find a way. The dollar speaks volumes. So let’s demand it! NO MORE PLASTIC BRISTLES!

Wait, wasn’t there a totally Plastic-Free Toothbrush?


About a year ago, there was a company on Amazon called Truly Eco Friendly that sold a bamboo toothbrush with nylon-free bristles. What were the bristles made of? Well, that information wasn’t easy to find, which is always a red flag. But through more searching, I found a small blurb stating the bristles were made from a combination of charcoal, bamboo fibre, and Bio-Pet (Food Based starches).

The term “Bio-anything” always alerts my greenwashing senses, just like Spider-Man, but with… trash.

If this toothbrush was really the first 100% plastic-free toothbrush, wouldn’t you ADVERTISE THAT EVERYWHERE?! Like literally, that should just be the name of the toothbrush: “THE FIRST PLASTIC-FREE TOOTHBRUSH.

I would plaster that info on the frikkin’ sun.

But they didn’t. Why?

They just went with “NON-NYLON.”And again, companies need to stop skirting over the real ingredients by telling us what ISN’T in it.

And on top of that, these toothbrushes have been sold out for about a year with no plans on restocking.

So have we just given up? Are we all okay with nylon bristles that have to be plucked out and shipped to recycle?

If there was more of a demand for truly backyard compostable bristles, trust me, some company would find a way. The dollar speaks volumes.

Then literally the night before this was scheduled to post, I found a Nylon-Free, compostable toothbrush on Amazon.

Gaia Guy Boar Bristle Tooth Brush


From their Amazon store:  “Gaia Guy is proud to offer a bamboo handle and boar bristle toothbrush. It’s the ultimate natural and renewable resource based toothbrush to help you start and finish every day feeling good about your commitment to living as close to nature as you possibly can.”

This is great, unless you’re vegan. It leaves me to wonder… what about the boar? How many boars would it take to make enough toothbrushes on earth? Is that sustainable? Ethical? What conditions are these boars living in? Gaia Guy talks a lot about the packaging and the boar hair, but not about the boars themselves.


Maybe animal-free, plastic-free bristles aren’t possible:


Well, I have a story for you, buddy. I’ll wait for you to go get a snack and maybe some juice.

Ready? Comfortable?

Let’s dig into some history.

I’ll set the scene. We’re in England and it’s the early 1930s. Up until this point, the Britain was truly an island: literally and figuratively. That’s because the only way to reach the country prior to aircraft was by sea, giving the country a natural defense. In fact, the weather on the English channel was largely responsible for the massive defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

But now, the Nazis were gaining momentum in Germany and the German Luftwaffe could reach England in less than a couple hours. Worse, German aircraft could now drop bombs.

England needed a defense. They needed a warning system to give citizens time to get to bunkers and to launch aerial defenses. They needed radar.

The British army employed scientists with the sole mission of developing radar technology. But after many failed tests, the initial team of scientists claimed that this technology was not possible.

So what did the British Army do?

They found new scientists.

And not to oversimplify the science, because developing radar technology was clearly not easy and involved developing a cavity magnetron. But I digress.

The fact is, they developed radar. And quite quickly and extensively.

In less than four years from the initial experiment, radar was an operational defense mechanism. By 1938, a wide series of radar towers were constructed along the British coastline.

Girl power:

These stations were almost entirely operated by women. The Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, which consisted of women as young as 18, “manned” the radar stations across Britain. These were some of the first women to work on the frontline.

Just wanted to throw that tidbit in there.


Where there’s a will, there’s a way. When there’s demand, companies will find a solution. And we’re not talking about something as complex as radar with 1930s technology.

We’re talking about toothbrush bristles. TOOTHBRUSH BRISTLES!!!!!!!

It’s 2020. We can fly into space, and back! We can tell a button on our fridge to order toilet paper and have it delivered to your front door in seven seconds. We can tell a Tesla where to go, and take a nap while it takes us there (don’t actually do this, super dangerous). We can hold up a phone and have a video conversation with our friend on the other side of the planet. We can snapchat ourselves to look 90 years old. We can acknowledge that TikTok exists.

Don’t tell me we can’t have backyard compostable bristles. That actually work.

So let’s demand it! NO MORE PLASTIC BRISTLES! 


Wrapping up…

This wraps up our third year of Plastic Free July Challenges. Thank you so much for coming along for the ride and I hope you found some inspiration to keep trying! Even when times get tough and zero waste seems truly impossible, don’t give up!

We can do this 🙂


Disclosure statement: As an Amazon Associate I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases if accessed from this site. As always, use Amazon as a last resort to buy the items necessary to prevent future waste. For more information, check out 5 Zero Waste Shopping Tips

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