You know I'm all about simple swaps. When you're newly transitioning to zero waste, why bother right off the bat about where you can get coconut oil in bulk (answer: almost nowhere! someone fix that!) or what to swap for your beloved face wash when there are so many other easy steps to take first? Alongside other simple changes like using cloth napkins instead of paper, stashing a reusable container for leftovers in your bag when you head to a restaurant, and ditching individually wrapped tea bags in favor of bulk loose leaf tea, switching to a bamboo toothbrush is one of those changes that requires very little effort for a big sustainability impact.
I've spent the majority of my life using plastic toothbrushes, and it makes me kind of crazy when I pause to consider that every one of those toothbrushes is currently in a landfill somewhere, and will be for the next few hundred years at minimum. Conversely, the bamboo toothbrushes that I've used since moving to zero waste three years ago have since been resting peacefully in the compost, decomposing back down into soil. (This video helps explain that point a little further, if you'd like to see).
The bamboo toothbrushes I reach for these days are from Brush with Bamboo. There are many reasons I've chosen Brush with Bamboo, but what sealed the deal for me is their fully recyclable and compostable packaging. When I open a new toothbrush, the outer paper sleeve goes into my recycling and the plant-based inner wrapper goes into my compost. And, of course, the handle from the old toothbrush is tucked into my compost bucket, too, after removing the spent bristles (find a how-to on that, here). The only bamboo toothbrushes that are available in stores local to me are packaged in non-recyclable plastic, which in my mind defeats the purpose of a bamboo toothbrush, so I'm happy to have an option that's completely zero waste.
A few other reasons to love them - they ship free within the US using all recyclable packaging and paper tape. I'm concerned about the reliance of the zero waste community on bamboo products, because bamboo serves as important habitat, so reading more about Brush with Bamboo's commitment to sustainable sourcing gave me peace of mind on that score.
I dry my brush after each use to keep the bamboo in good condition, and have found that each toothbrush lasts me about two months - the same as plastic toothbrushes. If you're committed to making the switch, buying brushes in larger quantities (which can be shared among family and friends, or simply stored in your linen closet) reduces the price per brush, and ensures you never have to run to the drugstore for an emergency plastic toothbrush again. :)
PS. For Chicago readers, anyone who comes to our upcoming meet-up on April 1st will receive a free bamboo toothbrush, kindly donated by Brush with Bamboo. I'm so happy to be able to help you make the switch to compostable - hope to see you there!
This post is in partnership with Brush with Bamboo, whose toothbrushes I've used and loved for years.