Are disposable plastic toothbrushes recyclable?

Disposable plastic toothbrush

I grew up using disposable plastic toothbrushes.

At that time, they were ubiquitous. Beside being the only choice, they were cheap, did their job and best of all, they were disposable! Yay! Just toss it in the trash when you're done with it and it's gone forever! How convenient is that?!

Fast forward several decades (and close to 100 toothbrushes later) and one night I had a thought: if I'm throwing my used toothbrush in the garbage, then so is everyone else. That's a LOT of toothbrushes going into landfill.

National Geographic steps in here to really make me feel queazy:

“The American Dental Association suggests that everyone replace their toothbrushes every three or four months. At that rate, brushers in the U.S. alone would go through over one billion toothbrushes each year. And if everyone around the world followed those recommendations, about 23 billion toothbrushes would get trashed annually.”

To put that into perspective, if you laid 1 billion disposable toothbrushes end to end, they would circle the earth more than four times. 

So why aren't disposable plastic toothbrushes recyclable?

This is a very good question.

The first plastic toothbrushes rolled off the production line in 1938. They were probably hailed as a miracle. Before then, toothbrushes were made of different natural materials, including bone. The bristles were natural animal hair such as pig and boar. 

But when Dr. West's first plastic toothbrushes with DuPont's new nylon bristles hit the market, they became the norm in no time.

And they barely changed since.

Todays toothbrushes are almost exclusively plastic, but they have become more complex in their design. Multiple plastics are fused together to give them some qualities like "ergonomic grip". I call this "marketing"—how to make something that costs pennies seem like it's worth $5 – 10. 

The problem is the composite plastics are almost impossible to separate, so they can't be recycled. 

The even scary part is that because plastic is so durable, pretty much every single plastic toothbrush that's ever been produced is still on the planet today and will be for centuries.

Enter Nada

It was for these reasons that I started Nada toothbrush. My goal was to try and eliminate plastic waste by offering people a sustainable toothbrush option. 

Nada's aluminum handle is both beautiful and functional. It lasts for years and means that the bulkiest part of disposable toothbrushes don't get produced, shipped and then thrown away. 

Plus, we take back our used brush heads and send them to TerraCycle (a commercial recycler) to be 100% recycled. (If you're wondering how our brush heads can be recycled, it’s because ours use only one plastic and the bristles, which can be separated.)

Gold Nada toothbrush handle with a brush head being inserted

Thanks for reading!

Simon

Unlike disposable toothbrushes, Nada doesn't collect germs, roll over or end up in landfill. Keep our hygienic aluminum handle for life and return your used brush heads to be 100% commercially recycled. Learn more here.

 


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Green Nada Sustainable Toothbrush with a Metal Handle and Replacement Toothbrush Heads
"So happy to have found Nada Tothbrush" – Krysti
Pink Nada Sustainable Toothbrush with a Metal Handle and Replacement Toothbrush Heads
Arctic Blue Nada Sustainable Toothbrush with a Metal Handle and Replacement Toothbrush Heads
Purple Nada Sustainable Toothbrush with a Metal Handle and Replacement Toothbrush Heads
Ocean Blue Nada Sustainable Toothbrush with a Metal Handle and Replacement Toothbrush Heads
Gold Nada Sustainable Toothbrush with a Metal Handle and Replacement Toothbrush Heads
Black Nada Sustainable Toothbrush with a Metal Handle and Replacement Toothbrush Heads
Nada eco-friendly toothbrush starter kit with one aluminium handle, 3 toothbrush heads and a return envelope
Christine with a Gold sustainable Nada Toothbrush

Nada Toothbrush

Regular price$19.99
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The toothbrush 2.0 – Nada is an aluminum handle you keep for life and premium brush heads we take back and have recycled into plastic pellets.

What’s included:

1 Forever Handle + 3 Brush Heads
• Rinses clean, no gross buildup
• Lays flat & won't roll over
• Soft, “floss-tip” bristles get 6X deeper
• Built-in tongue scraper for fresher breath

    Color
    1 Aluminum Handle + 3 Brush Heads
    • Rinses clean—no toothpaste or bacteria buildup
    • Lays flat—won’t roll over
    • Soft tapered bristles, for a gentler, deeper clean
    • Elevated Brush heads won’t touch dirty surfaces

    Nada brush heads and bristles are 100% recyclable. Please return your used ones in the pre-addressed envelope included with your order. We send them to be recycled into plastic pellets. ♻️Learn More

    Our Guarantee – If you’re not completely satisfied with your order, return it within 30 days and we’ll refund your money 😁. 

    Lifetime Warranty – If you have a problem with your toothbrush, we'll make it right.

    Nada Toothbrushes

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    Nada Toothbrush

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    Kids Nada Toothbrush

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