The environment, the oceans… and your toothbrush

Nov 12, 2017 · 3 min read

Today, more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans. A combined mass of more than 250,000 tons. And growing…

Every year at least 8m tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean — which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. This is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050, at which stage there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans.

See also : The 10 most insane images of plastic suffocating our oceans

The scale of the problem is so massive that it can feel difficult to know what to do about it.

But one of the simplest ways to contribute to a fix is to switch out something that you (hopefully ) use every single day: your toothbrush.

It’s something we often overlook, but it’s a big contributor to ocean plastic.

“The amount of plastic-to-sand ratio at Kamilo Beach (in Hawaii) is shocking, even to me,” says artist Sophie Thomas. “In my half hour walk along the coastline I picked up 18 toothbrushes alone.”

Over 99% of the toothbrushes the world uses are plastic. The kind of plastic that’s not recycled, and which ends up in either landfills or the ocean and never breaks down.

But these days, there’s actually no need to use a plastic toothbrush, when they’re now so easily and cheaply made from bamboo.

Toothcrush brushes come in adult and childrens sizes

Toothcrush, a bamboo toothbrush delivery service, is working to make bamboo toothbrushes commonplace.

“As far as sustainable materials go, you can’t do much better than bamboo,” says Toothcrush founder Annabel Hurman. “Bamboo grows up to two feet a day, and being a grass it’s completely biodegradable and compostible.”

Hurman’s company creates bamboo-handled brushes that are delivered to subscribers every month or two months, with annual subscriptions starting at just $25 including delivery.

Toothcrush ships a different bristle colour each month to keep it interesting

“We’re determined to make it affordable and convenient for people to switch away from plastic toothbrushes,” says Hurman. “We want it to be a no-brainer, and so we’ve put Toothcrush together in a way that means there’s very little effort or sacrifice required to make the switch.”

Switching to a bamboo brush also brings a style upgrade, with these sleek bamboo handles looking a whole lot sharper than the garish plastic equivalent.

Toothcrush deliveries come in 100% compostible packaging

Toothcrush subscriptions are available to adults and kids on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, with free shipping anywhere in New Zealand and Australia.

To subscribe or learn more, check out


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