Toothbrushes are made from a combination of plastic, rubber, nylon, (and a mix of plastic and cardboard for the packaging). None of these materials are biodegradable and remain in landfills indefinitely, end up in our oceans, and are washed up on our beaches or consumed by marine life. If they are burnt, they release a combination of toxic gases and greenhouse gases.
I use bamboo toothbrushes as an alternative to plastic ones. This doesn’t completely address the environmentally unfriendly, non-degradable nylon bristles, however, it would represent a major reduction in the environmental footprint of using regular plastic toothbrushes.
You can buy bamboo and biodegradable toothbrushes online.
Here are some crazy facts about toothbrushes:
The average life expectancy of a toothbrush is about 75 years
Each of us will replace 300 toothbrushes during our lifetime (4 toothbrushes per year)
A single conventional toothbrush weighs approximately 18 grams
Each of us will throw away about 6 kg of plastic toothbrushes in our lifetime
There are 7.6 billion people on the planet
Plastic toothbrush waste generated during our lifetime = 45 billion kg