Important Considerations When Recycling Your Oral Care Products

Toothbrush waste on the beach

Staying with the guidelines put forth by the American Dental Association is a good way to guarantee that you’ll maintain the best oral health possible. Unfortunately, as one of their guidelines includes replacing your toothbrush every six months, it also guarantees you’ll generate an immense amount of waste. Replacing your toothbrush regularly ensures that you’re getting the most plaque, tartar, and debris removed from your teeth as possible. Conscientious people may be wondering if recycling is a possibility to reduce the amount of waste they produce. While possible, it also requires a special recycling process since they are made from multiple materials.

In order to be recyclable, plastic items must be made from a single type of plastic

Specialized Recycling Centers Available For Recycling Toothbrushes

Qualifying for recycling requires items to be made of a single material with all foreign material removed. With this requirement, it’s clear that recycling dental products can be a difficult endeavor. Consider how tricky it can be to remove the toothpaste from within a toothpaste container or separating the bristles from the toothbrush. Even worse, some toothbrushes are made from multiple interlaced materials or types of plastics that would have to be separated before they could be recycled. Since local recycling options are often incapable of meeting this need, what can the environmentally-conscious dental patient do?

  • TerraCycle – Terracycle is an organization dedicated to recycling oral health waste. Those who use TerraCycle put all of their waste into a container and ship it off to one of their specialized recycling centers. They even have a Free Recycling Program that users can enroll in to get points for their submissions that can be converted to donations to select organizations.
  • Preserve Toothbrush Takeback – Another option is to participate in this program. Users purchase Preserve brand toothbrushes and send them in for recycling. After their sixth toothbrush, they receive a voucher for $6 from the Preserve online store.
  • Local Recycling – This requires a little care and attention to your oral health care waste, but it is possible. You’ll have to research your products to determine what materials they are made from and contact your local recycling center to learn what recycling options the provide for those materials.

Every year an immense amount of waste is produced by disposing of toothbrushes alone. Nearly one billion toothbrushes are disposed of each year in the US, resulting in nearly 50 million pounds of plastic waste. This amount of plastic being thrown away threatens to have serious consequences for the environment.

The average toothbrush contains a plastic handle, nylon bristles, and a metal staple to secure them

Other Ways To Approach Reducing Dental Waste

There are other options available for those trying to find ways to reduce the impact their dental waste has on the planet. One suggested approach is the use of alternative materials, such as bamboo or biodegradable plastic, in the creation of toothbrushes. If you desire to learn more about properly disposing of your oral hygiene tools and materials, speak to your dentist today.