According to the 2003 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, the toothbrush beats out the car and computer as the invention Americans can’t live without.
I agree. Brushing my teeth is the only daily routine I’ve had ongoing. Every morning. Every night. Even when I have a rare day away from reading my email, my toothbrush is with me.
Even though the American Dental Association recommends “replac[ing] toothbrushes approximately every 3–4 months or sooner if the bristles become frayed with use,” I’m an average American, who uses about 1.5 toothbrushes per year.
Still, that’s A LOT of toothbrushes that are made, used, and disposed of annually. 50 million pounds of toothbrushes end up in landfills annually. (I haven’t been able to find a source for this statistic, but it’s touted everywhere.)
My current toothbrush of choice is the Preserve Toothbrush, which is sustainable in terms of Manufacturing and End-of-Life Disposal. Besides being curvy and comfortable to use, the Preserve Toothbrush:
- is made with recycled materials (the handle is made from recycled plastic, including Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups),
- provides a postage-paid label (or envelope at some stores) so you can send back the toothbrush and its plastic case to be recycled into plastic lumber (for picnic tables, for example),
- and, from a price and an accessibility perspective is a sustainable option, because it’s available at Trader Joe’s (which is convenient for me.)
Or a more fun way to look at it:
- eat yogurt –> brush your teeth –> go to a park and sit at a picnic table –> have a yogurt snack
By the way, they have one for kids, too: Preserve Jr.