7 Eco Friendly Electric Toothbrushes & Heads For The Most Sustainable Brush
Is an eco friendly electric toothbrush a thing?
With its various materials and components (looking at you, battery), it’s not hard to see why an electric toothbrush is worse for the environment than its manual counter-part.
And compared to a sustainable bamboo toothbrush, its climate impact is 11 times greater.
But what do you do if your dentist recommends one or you can’t imagine clean teeth without the buzz?
Fortunately, some electric toothbrushes are better than others for cleaning our pearly whites without dirtying the planet in the process.
etee makes us smile with their sustainable electric toothbrush that comes with compostable bamboo electric toothbrush brush heads.
For an eco-electric toothbrush that isn’t actually electric (but behaves like one), Goodwell‘s Be.Brush helps you avoid e-waste and can also be sent back for recycling.
Already own a Philips Sonicare model?
Give it an eco friendly spruce up with bamboo replacement heads from The Humble Co whose charitable giving makes us smile (without plaque build-up).
To find out how we brushed up on finding the best eco friendly electric toothbrush, (de)scale down to the bottom of the article.
*This post contains affiliate links
About etee’s eco friendly electric toothbrush
etee is a one-stop shop for zero waste cleaning, personal care and home essentials.
It comes with 3 replaceable bamboo electric toothbrush heads and a matching usb charger which you’ll only need to use once a month.
You can choose between several different cleaning settings, built-in timers and it comes with a one year warranty.
etee’s ethical and sustainability practices
The bamboo electric toothbrush brush heads are made from bamboo with castor-bean oil bristles. Altogether they’re 98% compostable.
The plastic and metal main body and charging dock are 100% recyclable.
etee’s factory is powered by renewable energy and they always ship plastic free.
The company has made donations to several organizations including the Mississauga Food Project and Westcoast Children’s clinic.
etee has been featured in our article on shaving soap bars.
About Georganic’s eco friendly electric toothbrush
Their sustainable electric toothbrush uses “sonic technology and high frequency vibrations” to get your teeth clean.
With different cleaning modes, 3 stroke speed adjustments and a built-in timer, it ticks all the tooth-techy options you’ll need.
A full charge lasts up to 5 weeks.
Georganic’s ethical and sustainability practices
The toothbrush is made from plastic with nylon bristles and a lithium battery and you can send both the heads and body back to Georganics for recycling with their ‘Zero-to-landfill’ scheme.
Apart from their peace silk floss, all Georganics products are vegan.
Georganics uses biodegradable and compostable cardboard packaging printed with vegetable inks.
They give back via product donations to projects around the globe.
Georganics has featured in our article on zero waste floss.
About FOREO’s Sustainable Toothbrush
Swedish brand FOREO brings to market the world’s first sustainable sonic toothbrush made of silicone.
The ISSA™ has 16 adjustable intensities, a smart memory feature and a low battery indicator LED light.
FOREO’s Eco Friendly and Sustainability Practices
FOREO might just create the most eco friendly electric toothbrush on the market.
Made from durable silicone, both the ISSA™ and ISSA™ mini come with Foreo’s 10-year quality guarantee.
The long-lasting brush head is made from a combination of medical-grade silicone (for gum massage) and PBT polymer bristles to clean off your plaque. They only need to be replaced once per year.
That’s as tough as they come (er gum?).
The whopping battery life means that the ISSA™ only needs to be charged twice per year.
FOREO don’t currently offer a recycling service and recommends visiting your local electronics recycling center. If they won’t accept the unit whole, Foreo says it’s easy to dismantle into smaller pieces.
FOREO’s factories run on solar power and none of their products are tested on animals.
4. THE HUMBLE CO BRUSH HEADS
About The Humble Co bamboo electric toothbrush heads
Swedish brand The Humble Co was founded in 2013 by dentist Noel Abdayem.
They’re on a mission to create innovative oral care products that are good for people and good for the planet.
Their Sonicare bamboo electric toothbrush heads use 88% less plastic than traditional alternatives and are compatible with all Philips electric toothbrush models starting with: HX3/6/9.
About Humble Co’s ethical and sustainability practices
The heads are made from bamboo with BPA-free nylon bristles (that you’ll need to remove before composting).
They’re vegan and cruelty-free. And the eco friendly electric toothbrush heads are dentist-approved, too.
The Humble Smile Foundation has supported dozens of projects worldwide, by donating products and funds for preventative oral health care programmes.
About PearlBar’s Eco Friendly Electric Toothbrush
PearlBar will help you look after your pearly whites with their range of oral health care products.
They’re another brand to consider and arguably the best sustainable electric toothbrush in the UK.
Their sonic-powered eco toothbrush has 5 brushing modes, 3 cleaning speeds and each unit comes with 3 replaceable bamboo heads.
You can get specific with each bamboo electric toothbrush head designed for a different function: whitening, sensitivity, and plaque removal.
PearlBar’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
Once the nylon bristles and cornstarch plastic insert in the brush head have been removed, the rest of the bamboo electric toothbrush heads are 100% biodegradable and can be composted at home.
The ‘bamboo-look’ main body and charging dock are made from recyclable plastics and metals.
Pearl bar donates 10% of all profits to charity.
Previous recipients include the Salvation Army and Love Without Boundaries. They also donate toothbrushes to people in need around the world.
6. SUSTAINABLE TOMORROW
About Sustainable Tomorrow’s eco friendly electric toothbrush
Their sustainable electric toothbrush features 5 different cleaning modes, 3 intensity levels that reach up to 40,000 VPMs and a 2 minute timer.
Each brush comes with a year’s supply of compostable and biodegradable bamboo electric toothbrush heads made with castor bean oil bristles.
Sustainable Tomorrows ethical and sustainability practices
Each replaceable FSC certified bamboo head will last for 3 months and when you’re finished with it you can add it to your compost heap where it will decompose in around 6 months.
The battery lasts for up to a month in between charges.
Sustainable Tomorrow also sells bamboo electric toothbrush heads for Philips Sonicare models.
Toothbrushes are packaged and shipped in zero-waste packaging.
Available: Sustainable Tomorrow
About Goodwell’s sustainable electric toothbrush
Goodwell sells oral health essentials including bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.
They offer one of the most sustainable electric toothbrushes around.
You’ll find no batteries or cords in the ‘Be. Brush’. Its patented design uses a spring motor and a set of gears to power the brush head without using any electricity.
Give it a few twists to power up and you’re good to go.
Goodwell’s ethical and sustainability practices
All of Goodwell’s products are vegan.
The main material for the Be.Brush body is stainless steel and the Be. Brush head is made of polypropylene and nylon bristles.
Goodwell says they are working on a non-plastic bristle solution but have yet to find a suitable vegan option.
Both the replaceable heads and the main unit can be sent back to Goodwell’s ‘Take Back’ programme where they’re recycled via Terracycle. You can also send in non-Goodwell products.
Goodwell’s suppliers are regularly audited to ensure ethical and fair practices. Certifications include ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 14385.
You can choose to carbon offset your order at the checkout.
Goodwill supports a number of charities donating oral care products to those in need. They are also members of 1% for the planet and Climate Neutral.
WHY CHOOSE AN ECO FRIENDLY ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH
If everyone in the US replaced their toothbrush every 3-4 months (the recommended time frame) then over 1 billion toothbrushes would be thrown away every year.
That’s a lot of toothbrushes, the majority of which are plastic, contributing to the vast amounts of plastic waste and pollution across the globe.
Unfortunately, going electric isn’t the solution.
The main body of an electric toothbrush is usually made of plastic, most consumable heads are also plastic with nylon bristles. And then there’s the battery which requires difficult to mine metals like lithium (with often questionable workers’ rights) and it isn’t always easy to recycle either.
A lifecycle analysis flags up various issues regarding materials, energy use and waste.
There’s a lot to unpick and the ecological impact of electric toothbrushes can’t be brushed off easily.
With around 55 million US brushers using electric toothbrushes, the toothbrush industry is in desperate need of a sustainability overhaul.
HOW WE FOUND THE BEST SUSTAINABLE ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH
Admittedly, the options on this list aren’t perfect and there’s a long way to go on the quest to create a truly sustainable electric toothbrush.
That said, the brands we did find are moving things in the right direction.
Sustainable electric toothbrush heads that are mostly made of compostable materials help to curb the amount of plastic waste going to landfill.
Although the castor-oil bristles used by some brands aren’t “compostable” (because they take too long to break down in your home composter), they are at least plant-based and biodegradable and will eventually break down without leaving microplastics behind.
Fully recyclable plastic heads (which can be easily sent back for recycling) are also a more eco choice.
The main body of the toothbrush needs to be easily recyclable so that it doesn’t add to the growing amount of e-waste. metal is the current best option, followed by recycled plastic.
The jury’s still a little out on the eco friendliness of silicone.
To a large extent it depends on how it was manufactured. It’s potentially a great way to cut down on plastic waste as it’s much more durable than plastic lasting decades.
But would the other components of the toothbrush last this long? Silicone is also not widely recycled.
Minimal Charging: Long-lasting battery life is a big plus. The most energy efficient brushes only need to be charged twice a year.
Longevity/Durability: The most eco friendly electric toothbrush is one that lasts a very long time. Warranties are a good indicator of durability and how willing a brand is to stand behind its products.
Recycling Programme: Whilst not all brands have one yet, those that do offer a recycling programme make it easier for customers to properly recycle their old units.
THE FUTURE OF ECO FRIENDLY ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES
So, is there an eco friendly electric toothbrush? One that’s sustainably made under ethical conditions.
These are the changes we need to see to achieve the tricky task of (almost) perfecting a truly environmentally friendly electric toothbrush.
We’d love to see some innovations in sustainable materials.
Moving away from plastic to bio-based and biodegradable heads makes the most sense for consumable parts like electric toothbrush heads.
If plastic is being used it needs to be safe, (non-toxic) and easily recyclable (and be composed of recycled plastic, too).
The main body of an eco friendly electric toothbrush needs to be as durable and as long-lasting as possible, ideally compostable, biodegradable or at least 100% recyclable.
Whether that’s bamboo, stainless steel or another environmentally friendly body, it must be able to be responsibly returned to the earth at the end of its useful life.
Supply chain & labor practices:
Sustainable electric toothbrush brands are generally quiet regarding manufacturing and supply chain. We’d like to see more information about where the materials are sourced, factory specific details like location and codes of conduct.
Green business practices:
- Transparency. To tell the truth, (er tooth?), there’s a fair bit of greenwashing going on in the world of toothbrushes. We’d love to see brands being open and honest about the trials and tribulations of creating an eco friendly electric toothbrush so that there can be more conversation to further the eco efforts in the industry.
- Repair Service. To keep e-waste to a minimum, repair services are essential for prolonging the life of electrical appliances. Compared to other electronics, the small size of electric toothbrushes mean they’re much easier to send back for repair.
- Full recycling service. For replacement toothbrush heads that can’t be composted at home, we’d love to see a recycling service in place. This could work on a subscription basis. When new heads are sent out, the company could include a (sustainable) envelope so that you can send back your old heads for recycling.
- Sustainable packaging. As usual, thoughtful packaging using compostable and recycled materials is an eco-minded change that goes a long way to showing us that a brand cares.
- Reducing carbon emissions. E.g. through carbon offset programs and the use of renewable energy.
Community & charitable giving:
Nearly all of the brands on our list donate products and/or profit to charitable organizations.
HOW TO PROPERLY RECYCLE ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES
Properly disposing of electronics is important if we’re going to tackle the increasing amount of e-waste.
Before recycling your electric toothbrush, consider first if it can be repaired either through the company (e.g. if the product is under guarantee with repairs offered) or at a local repair shop.
If you enjoy a challenge, you could even have a go at a d.i.y repair. There’s a few guides on youtube for this.
And if your toothbrush is still working but no longer needed, consider selling or giving it away.
If repair and re-sell options are exhausted and it’s definitely time to recycle:
1. Check to see if the company offers a recycling service. This the easiest option and something we’d like to see a lot more of. Linked to the point about transparency above, we’d also like to see clear instructions on brand websites about how to recycle your toothbrush.
2. Check for local recycling options via programs like Terracycle. You might have a drop-off point in your local area (or you can start your own one and raise money via the program for schools or charities).
Terracycle also has free, company-sponsored postage options for collecting and sending in electric toothbrush heads and other oral care products.
3. Visit your local recycling center to see if they have an electronics recycling bin. Some of the bigger electronic stores also have bins you can use.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUSTAINABLE ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES
Hands down, a zero waste toothbrush which is compostable or biodegradable is a better deal for the planet.
So if you can manage without the electric buzz, do it.
If you already have an electric toothbrush, keep it in use for as long as possible by repairing, reselling and finally recycling it.
If you’re looking to buy, second hand or refurbished models on platforms like e-bay or facebook marketplace are a good start. One that’s compatible with biodegradable bamboo electric toothbrush heads would be even better.
And if you’re buying new, consider sustainable and ethical electric toothbrush brands who are making conscious efforts to reduce their products’ environmental impact.
We’ll grin from ear to ear if you share this article with family and friends. Let’s spread the word about the eco-nsiderations involved with keeping our planet as clean as our pearly whites.