9 Sustainable Toothbrushes Cleaning Your Pearly Whites & The Planet
Let’s talk teeth.
More specifically, let’s talk about how we all need to make some serious improvements to our dental routine by switching to a sustainable toothbrush.
Brushing twice a day and using your zero waste floss every night might make your gums healthier, but what about our planet?
The average person uses 300 plastic toothbrushes in their lifetime, equating to billions of plastic sticks finding their way to landfills each year.
But a toothbrush is perhaps the most essential of all eco-friendly bathroom products. Mouth hygiene is connected to whole-body health—and that of our planet’s.
That’s why we’re taking a bite out of plastic dental care and diving into zero waste toothbrushes.
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Biting Into The Best Bamboo Toothbrushes
ZWS Essentials offers the only completely zero waste wooden toothbrush that can be composted in your backyard—bristles and all.
EcoRoots’ earth friendly toothbrush may not have biodegradable bristles, but they are recyclable, unlike many other options on the market.
If you’re restocking on zero waste toothpaste, add some bamboo toothbrushes from Georganics. Their Zero To Landfill scheme makes it easy for UK customers to responsibly dispose of frayed bristles.
Pick your way to the end of the article to see what makes a toothbrush sustainable and how we picked these brush-worthy brands.
The Best Zero Waste & Eco Toothbrushes
- ZWS Essentials | Visit Store
- EcoRoots | Visit Store
- etee | Visit Store
- Georganics | Visit Store
- Brush with Bamboo | Visit Store
- The Humble Co. | Visit Store
- Me Mother Earth | Visit Store
- Battle Green | Visit Store
- Bite | Visit Store
1. ZWS Essentials
ZWS Essentials’ All-Natural Toothbrushes
The ZWS Essentials reusable bamboo toothbrush from ZeroWasteStore.com is hands-down the best 100% biodegradable toothbrush available.
Because it’s the only 100% biodegradable one, period,
Made with a 100% sustainably sourced bamboo toothbrush handle and plastic-free castor bean oil bristles, they claim these are backyard compostable toothbrushes.
However, we’ll be checking to see if they have any certifications to back up that because other castor bean oil bristles we found appear not to be compostable.
Just be sure to use some pliers to remove the metal staples holding the bristles in place, which they recommend collecting and recycling.
About ZWS Essentials
ZeroWasteStore.com isn’t just one of the best zero waste online stores to find a collection of eco lifestyle brands.
They also offer an in-house ZWS Essentials line of organic, compostable, and sustainably packaged items that cover anything else you might need for your zero waste bathroom: razors, shampoo bars, hairbrushes, and much more.
Each purchase not only minimizes harm due to the plastic-free packaging, but does a little good thanks to ZeroWasteStore.com’s Climate Neutral certification and 1% for the Planet membership.
If you find yourself in the City of Angels, you can check them out in-person at their zero waste store in LA.
EcoRoots’s Eco-Friendly Toothbrushes USA
One billion plastic toothbrushes are disposed of every single year in the US and EcoRoots wants to reduce that number with their sustainable bamboo toothbrush.
Certified vegan and cruelty-free, they bear a 100% compostable bamboo toothbrush handle that’s anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and antimicrobial (all the things we want from something that goes in our mouth!).
The recyclable toothbrush bristles are still made with soft nylon, but they’re BPA-free and non-toxic.
They’re also infused with activated charcoal for whitening benefits.
While that means this isn’t a plastic-free toothbrush option, you can remove the bristles and recycle them through TerraCycle. Then toss your toothbrush without bristles in the compost.
When it comes to sustainable packaging, toothbrush sets are shipped plastic-free
If EcoRoots sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve talked about them before when we scrubbed through some of our favorite zero waste cleaning brands and browsed around for the best ethical online shopping resources.
From tooth to toilet, they’re committed to helping customers fill their homes with things that aren’t plastic.
The Colorado-based brand is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny and ships everything plastic-free in only recyclable/compostable materials.
To date, they’ve donated almost $15,000 to Ocean Conservancy.
Also available on Amazon
etee’s Reusable Bamboo Toothbrushes Canada
One of our favorite sustainable electric toothbrush brands also happens to be behind some of the best bamboo toothbrushes.
Like their electric toothbrush, etee’s eco-friendly toothbrush is made of FSC-certified bamboo.
Each minimalist toothbrush handle is indefinitely reusable; all you need to order is replaceable heads, further minimizing waste.
The water-based paint on the bamboo toothbrush handle protects it from water damage, so you can use it for longer.
While the bristles are made of castor bean oil, etee warns that they’re not yet biodegradable toothbrushes, but assures customers they are working on a solution.
To compost the head, use a pair of pliers to remove the staple keeping the bristles in place and compost the head sans bristles.
From refillable cleaning products to clean dental essentials, Canadian zero waste brand etee is aiming to remove as much plastic from everyday items as possible.
They started with beeswax wraps and took flight from there.
Aside from the beeswax used in their refill pods and wraps, everything they sell is vegan, cruelty-free, 100% natural, plastic-free, and made using renewable energy.
etee gives back to the Mississauga Food Project and various medical clinics serving those in need.
etee has also featured in an article on bamboo electric toothbrushes.
Georganics’ Eco-Friendly Toothbrushes UK
Georganics does something a little different with their version of the most eco-friendly toothbrush.
Instead of bamboo, the compostable handles are made of FSC-certified Swiss Beechwood.
Every tree their supplier cuts down is replanted, and any excess wood scraps are used to heat their German factory.
Their BPA-free non-toxic toothbrush bristles are made of gum-safe nylon that is recyclable through Georganic’s Zero-To-Landfill program once you’ve collected five—for UK customers only.
Just write “Free-post Georganics” on the package and ship it for free!
There are several options for this zero waste toothbrush: soft bristles, medium bristles, firm bristles, or a kid’s size.
Their recyclable toothbrush packaging consists of a cardboard box, but because it’s printed with vegetable inks, you can toss this in the compost bin along with the compostable toothbrush handles.
Whether you’re in need of palm oil-free toothpaste or peace silk floss, UK-based Georganics is your do-good dental shop.
Everything they sell—toothpaste tabs, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, electric toothbrushes, and more—is certified COSMOS organic and plastic-free.
Though the toothbrushes are made in Germany, many products are made in the UK
Each purchase helps them support organizations like Dentaid and environmental nonprofits, as per their 1% for the Planet membership.
5. Brush With Bamboo
Brush with Bamboo’s Zero Waste Toothbrushes
Brush with Bamboo’s eco toothbrushes for adults and kids come with bristles made of 100% castor bean oil.
While 100% biobased, they’ll break down more slowly than standard items in your home compost, so the bristles should still be removed using pliers before composting the handle.
In other words, they’re biodegradable, but not compostable.
Instead, recycle them through Terracycle, along with the aluminum staples.
Sustainably-harvested wild-grown Moso Bamboo is used for the handles, which is not one of the 42 bamboo species pandas eat—so no risk to pandas from your pearly whites!
The chemical-free non-plastic toothbrush bristles are made in the EU and the final product is responsibly made in China, at a factory overseen by a full-time American-managed on-the-ground team.
About Brush with Bamboo
Brush with Bamboo helped pave the way for sustainable oral care with “the world’s first and only plant-based toothbrush”—at the time, anyway.
Thankfully, they’re no longer the only maker of bamboo toothbrushes, but they remain one of the best eco-friendly toothbrush and eco-friendly hair brush brands.
Every claim BWB makes is backed by the necessary paperwork and certifications: vegan, FDA registered, USDA Biobased, and Green America certified.
Their packaging is an origami-folded cardboard box, which eliminates the need for tape. There is no inner wrapper, just a 100% paper box that is home compostable.
6. The Humble Co.
The Humble Co.’s Bamboo Toothbrushes
The Humble Co. has a range of eco-friendly toothbrush options for kids and adults.
And by options, we mean color options—you can choose from pink, yellow, blue, black, or white bristles nylon bristles—”high-quality” DuPont nylon-6, to be exact.
While the bristles are BPA-free, they will need to be removed before composting.
The handle is also made from 100% biodegradable and sustainably-grown bamboo, treated with natural, non-toxic wax to protect from water, improve grip, and increase hygiene.
About The Humble Co.
The Humble Co. is a Swedish company founded by dentist Noel Abdayem, so you can be sure their oral care products were designed with both mouth health and sustainability in mind.
Their FDA-registered dental products are certified cruelty-free and responsibly made in China.
Partnering with the non-profit Humble Smile Foundation, The Humble Co. has supported projects in vulnerable communities around the world.
Each purchase allows you to “give smiles” to those in need of safe and healthy oral care products.
7. Me Mother Earth
Me Mother Earth’s Compostable Bamboo Toothbrushes
Every single toothbrush ever made, used, and accidentally dropped in the toilet is still in existence—unless it’s made with bamboo, that is.
That’s the reasoning behind this next bamboo toothbrush maker.
Me Mother Earth combines their bamboo with BPA-free nylon bristles.
If you’re choosing an adult version, these bristles also feature bamboo charcoal fiber for extra whitening and detoxifying benefits.
Their sustainable kids’ toothbrushes swap the black bristles for paint dipped handles.
Once they start looking fuzzy, remove the bristles and compost both the handle and the kraft box it came in.
About Me Mother Earth
Las Vegas dwelling Husband and wife duo, Alberto and Amanda, are behind the Me Mother Earth brand.
They started out with a collapsible straw kit, but now have a range of individual products and zero waste kits and gift sets that have been consciously designed to simplify our lives and reduce plastic waste.
They sell everything packaged sans plastic, down to the compostable packing peanuts.
While you’re brushing away coffee stains, they’re brushing away even MORE plastic waste by also donating to ocean conservation and similar environmental charities.
8. BATTLE GREEN
Battle Green’s Zero Waste Toothbrushes UK
Cutting out plastic waste can sometimes feel like a battle, so let Battle Green help.
Their zero waste bamboo toothbrush is 100% plastic-free, with a bamboo handle and plant-based bristled.
Containing no nylon, bristles are instead made from castor oil, a renewable material that is processed in Germany.
Battle Green toothbrushes are not home compostable (so still separate those bristles from the handle), but they are compostable in an industrial facility.
About Battle Green
Battle Green is a UK-based store that has spent the past several years sharing plastic-free alternatives with thousands of happy customers.
Today, they have a wide selection of some of the most sustainable body care and household products we’ve stumbled across, from zero waste deodorant to zero waste shampoo.
They use recyclable/compostable packaging materials, palm oil-free ingredients, and contribute to their local beach clean-up organization, Surfers Against Sewage.
Bite’s Eco-Friendly Toothbrushes USA
Bite’s bamboo toothbrushes feature 100% castor bean oil soft bristles.
The bristles are plant-based but not compostable yet.
While the brush separates into two parts—handy for traveling—you can’t buy replacement heads at this time because Bite hasn’t found a way to make these without ALSO making a separate handle.
Before removing the staple and bristles to compost the handle, Bite recommends giving a little extra life by downcycling it to clean hard-to-reach areas like grout or compost keyboards
Order a two-pack as needed, or join their money-saving subscription service. Either way, your toothbrush will come in a plastic-free kraft box.
Bite has been taking bites out of dental waste for years. They even discovered the secret to making zero waste mouthwash.
Today, their expanded range of person care products is vegan, cruelty-free, all natural, and mostly made in California.
They’re a Certified B Corp, Certified Palm Oil free by The Orangutan Alliance, and Carbon Free partner through the carbon offset program Carbonfund.
In addition to receiving your order in zero waste materials (including compostable refill pouches for their toothpaste bites), they ship using existing postal routes, reducing carbon emissions.
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How We Found The Best Zero Waste Toothbrush Brands
What is an eco-friendly toothbrush? And what makes a toothbrush sustainable?
In matters of the mouth, materials matter (now there’s a mouthful).
The most popular plastic-free toothbrush handle alternative is bamboo.
Bamboo has a lot of properties that make it good for mouths (anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial) and it’s 100% compostable—even in your indoor compost bin.
It’s also one of the fastest-growing least water-consumptive plants and, once it’s harvested for toothbrushes, it can continue growing because harvesting doesn’t kill the core plant.
Bamboo may be the best sustainable toothbrush for now, but we’ll see how the industry continues to evolve. For example, recycled and reusable aluminum handles paired with a compostable toothbrush head would further eliminate waste.
However, to make a bamboo toothbrush zero waste in every way, we have to consider the bristles, too.
The Challenge Behind Zero Waste Toothbrush Bristles
Now we get to the real complication in the world of eco-friendly toothbrushes: bristles.
It’s not too difficult to have a biodegradable toothbrush as far as the handle is concerned, but bristles often get in the way of a toothbrush being fully compostable.
Also, remember that nearly all materials (even if they’re made of plastic) will technically degrade after some time, but oftentimes it takes hundreds of years.
Compostable materials are biodegradable, biodegradable materials aren’t necessarily compostable. Pretty simple concept, right?
Well, not for some brands who fall a bristle short and confuse the two and end up greenwashing.
My Plastic Free Life did some extra brushing (in a circular motion, of course) to discover supposedly “biodegradable” nylon bristles were in fact not biodegradable.
So what’s the best way to brush?
Well, we really only have a few “zero waste” toothbrush options:
1. Boar bristle toothbrushes:
Boar bristles would yield the only undoubtedly compostable toothbrushes currently available to us—but brushing our teeth with pig hair sounds like the worst way to get a fresh and minty mouth.
2. Castor bean toothbrushes:
While castor bean (AKA Ricinus communis) is a flowering plant, the bristles made out of it aren’t always as wholesome as they might sound.
Nylon-11 is what you get when you subject castor bean oil to a complex (and chemically intensive) process. Its biodegradability is still up in the air.
Some brands claim their castor bean oil bristles are home compostable, some state they’re industrially compostable, and some still place them on the list of what not to compost and recommend recycling. We’re inclined to err on the safe side and agree with the latter.
3. Miswak sticks:
This traditional oral care tool was popular in Pakistan, India, and parts of Asia and Africa. Studies show that it’s as effective (or perhaps superior) to other types of toothbrushes.
You can find several sellers for these organic chew sticks on Etsy.
Final Thoughts On Sustainable Toothbrushes
Feeling like you have a potty mouth after reading this?
Toothbrushes, like most consumable these days, are notoriously damaging to the health of our planet.
And zero waste toothbrushes—like the rest of the zero waste philosophy—aren’t quite literally zero waste. They’re just one of those things where we simply have no choice but to accept that caveat of imperfection.
But there is a shimmer to be found in our smiles; we’re getting closer to having a fully vegan and compostable toothbrush thanks to these bamboo toothbrush brands.
If you’re still wondering, “How can I make my toothbrush more sustainable?”, try to reuse your blown out brush for zero waste cleaning before retiring it altogether.
Then have your pliers at the ready to remove those burdensome bristles for proper recycling.
To help loved ones avoid both plaque and the insidious plastic toothbrush, pass along this article of toothy tips.
9 thoughts on “9 Sustainable Toothbrushes Cleaning Your Pearly Whites & The Planet”
Thanks for this article! I was surprised with more sustainable toothbrush than bamboo – paper toothbrush 🙂
Yes, I use a paper-made toothbrush, the manufacturer – Effa. They are a Ukrainian startup and they created, I guess, the best real eco-friendly hygiene amenity ever.
So bamboo brush is not the best one, guys. You can Google ‘Effa Toothbrush’ and look at that thing.
So I found this really cool Toothbursh. It’s not out yet but called the everloop. Their bristles are made of bamboo. The people(Who I contacted) said they hope to have it out by 2022
Thanks for the tip Angela!
Sustainable solutions for a plastic-free world are hard to find, but luckily Gaia Guy has Bamboo and Boar Bristle toothbrush (google it) for those looking for a truly biodegradable solution
On Brush Naked website, they specifically say the toothbrush bristles are made from “BPA-free DuPont nylon bristles”. I’m not sure if they stopped manufacturing their bristles from compostable material, but recommending them isn’t the best option anymore.
Thanks for the comment Jenna, they actually have two types of toothbrushes so you have to be careful to select the plant based bristles and not the nylon ones. Per their FAQs: “Each toothbrush handle is made out of 100% moso bamboo from the Ningbo region of China and each brush is sealed in 100% compostable cello wrap made from wood and cotton pulp. Our plant-based bristles are made from corn and tapioca, which means the entire brush is compostable! If you’re looking for something a little more durable, you can try out our nylon bristles.”
It’s difficult to find on their website! Here’s a link: https://brushnaked.com/products/adult-soft-toothbrush-with-plant-based-bristles-green
“That equates to 90 billion toothbrushes finding their way to landfills every.single.year”
Your math is off here. 90 billion toothbrushes per year would mean each person on earth would use an average of 11.5 toothbrushes per year.
It’s still a lot of toothbrushes, just not 90 billion big. I’ve seen 1 billion per year in other articles.
You’re right Guy, my back of the envelope gets me far more than 1B but a lot less than 90B. I guess it depends on your assumptions around how many people actually use toothbrushes and average lifespan. In any case, I’ve changed this to at least not be incorrect.