I prefer an electric sustainable toothbrush over a manual one. I feel the small replaceable heads are more eco-friendly in the long run (assuming that the main unit lasts for many years).
In my Best Eco-Friendly Electric Toothbrush article, I explain why I feel a good quality electric toothbrush is the best eco-friendly toothbrush option.
I also cover why good dental hygiene is important and how electric toothbrushes give better results.
I realize my opinions on electric toothbrushes are not held by everyone. If you believe that only manual toothbrushes can be considered eco-friendly and zero waste, then this article is for you.
Read on to discover exactly what to look out for when buying an eco-friendly toothbrush, and my picks of the best on the market.
Before I get to that, I’d like to cut the chase and announce the overall winner.
They Say: Did you know over 4.7 million toothbrushes that will never biodegrade are dumped in our landfills and oceans every year? Vote against plastic pollution with Brush with Bamboo's Adult Toothbrush, made from 100% Certified Organic Giant Moso bamboo harvested in the wild mountain ranges in South China. The easy-to-grip handle is paired with plant-based bristles made from 100% Castor Bean Oil and is USDA Certified 100% Biobased. Plus, when you're ready to get a new brush, simply remove the bristles and you can commercially compost the handle!
We Say: Bamboo is a great choice when it comes to a zero waste, eco-friendly toothbrush. It’s the bristles where many brands let themselves down.
There is little point in having a super eco-friendly, compostable toothbrush handle if the bristles are going to end up on a landfill site, slowly leaching toxins into the earth for hundreds of years.
As you will see with a number of the additional recommendations further down this article, a small amount of nylon is almost unavoidable when it comes to eco-friendly toothbrushes.
However, I felt that the overall winner needed to be nylon-free to be as zero waste as possible. Step forward Brush with Bamboo.
Over the years, they’ve been slowly increasing the biobased content of their bristles, and I’m happy to report that they’re now made from 100% castor bean oil and certified 100% biobased by the USDA.
These BPA-free toothbrush bristles are as eco-friendly as can be, but still, a small amount of care is needed when the toothbrush comes to the end of its life.
Although the bristles are 100% biobased, they’re not certified compostable and will not break down as quickly or as environmentally friendly as the bamboo handle.
To ensure you dispose of this toothbrush as sustainably as possible, you need to pull out the bristles and recycle them with Terracycle or an appropriate local recycling service.
This process applies to all ‘zero waste’ toothbrushes, but Brush with Bamboo made it as the overall winner because the bristles are not made from nylon.
The handle is made from wild-grown organic bamboo and certified to be commercially compostable. You can even toss it in your home compost bin if you have one.
These toothbrushes are shipped in a folded recycled paper box containing no glue or tape. There is no unnecessary inner wrap either, making the packaging 100% sustainable and zero waste. Simply dispose of it in a recycling or green waste bin.
I feel this is currently the best bamboo toothbrush on the market. Switch today and help save the planet with your dental routine.
If you’ve read my Eco-Friendly Electric Toothbrush article, you’ll know that one billion toothbrushes are thrown away in the U.S. every year. This is madness and simply has to stop!
Adding an eco-friendly, zero waste toothbrush to our daily oral care routine is a small act that can have a big impact on the planet.
I feel I need to add a caveat here. Although moving to a more zero waste lifestyle is the ultimate aim, it’s not always possible to be 100% zero waste in everything we do.
Eco-friendly toothbrushes are one such example where a small amount of leniency is needed.
Those pesky nylon bristles just pop up time and time again.
They Say: No need to cut out the head, this toothbrush is 100% compostable. No nylon bristles. Its bristles are all natural as they are made of boar hair that have been thoroughly disinfected. This hair is a byproduct of the meat industry in China. Rather than discarding the hairs, this supplier cleans and uses them to build brushes. You might think "yuk, pig hair!", but worry not, the pig hair is completely cleaned before being used to make the brushes.
We Say: So this is actually my unofficial runner-up. I love this toothbrush, and it so nearly made it as the overall winner because the entire toothbrush, bristles and all, can be composted. This is because the bristles are made from natural boar hair.
Proper zero waste credentials!
It didn’t quite make it as the overall winner because, in my experience, the boar bristles did not last as long as the 100% castor bean oil bristles used by Brush with Bamboo. They also need extra care and attention to keep them clean and hygienic.
Also, although the boar hair used is a fully sustainable byproduct of the Chinese meat industry, this product is not vegan and, therefore, not suitable for many of our readers.
Saying that, if you can get over the fact that you’re brushing your teeth with pig hair, this is an excellent eco-friendly toothbrush worthy of consideration.
This BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free, lead-free, fully compostable, eco-friendly toothbrush is shipped in a recyclable cardboard box.
I’ve recommended the ten brush option because this makes your life easier (it will last you over two years) and reduces the impact of shipping one brush every three months.
They Say: Wasteful plastic toothbrushes? Not for us! Next time you need a new toothbrush, make the eco-friendly switch. Designed by The Humble Co. and their team of dentists, this bamboo brush is made from sustainably grown harvested bamboo plus durable, long-lasting nylon bristles that gently but effectively clean teeth and gums.
BPA-free, non-toxic, and sustainably made, this bamboo toothbrush is the perfect alternative to plastic toothbrushes (which can never be recycled!). When it's time for a new brush, simply remove the bristles and compost the wooden handle. Plus, this product supports the Humble Smile Foundation, supporting oral health initiatives for those in need worldwide!
We Say: The Humble Co was founded by dentist Noel Abdayem in 2013. They offer a wide range of zero waste oral care products, including the Humble toothbrush.
Their range of eco-friendly bamboo brushes comes in soft and medium. There are many bristle color options and even activated charcoal-infused bristles if that’s your thing.
Bamboo toothbrushes for kids are also available, as is a bamboo tongue cleaner.
The Humble Smile Foundation, a Swedish non-profit organization, has been set up to carry out projects in vulnerable communities in 37 countries worldwide. All funded by the purchase of Humble Co products.
The bristles are nylon, so these toothbrushes cannot be considered 100% zero waste, but they’re certified vegan and cruelty-free.
The handle is made from 100% biodegradable bamboo. The bristles will need to be removed and recycled with Terracycle or an appropriate local recycling service.
They Say: EcoRoots Bamboo Toothbrush is a great alternative to plastic toothbrushes that usually end up in landfills or oceans. By making the switch you will help to protect and preserve our beautiful planet from plastic pollution. Quit single-use plastic & brush sustainable with our natural toothbrush!
We Say: Eco Roots are another brand producing many zero waste products, including bamboo toothbrushes.
I like the fact that these toothbrushes come in a pack of four. This means you can place one order per year, and your toothbrush needs are covered.
The nylon bristles used are BPA-free and non-toxic, but they still need to be removed before the bamboo handle is tossed in the compost.
Eco Roots are based in Aspen, Colorado and take their eco-credentials very seriously.
All their products are certified cruelty-free and shipped in 100% plastic-free and recyclable materials. They’re also a member of 1% for the planet.
They Say: The original that took the world by storm. Cleans just as well as a plastic toothbrush but made from mother earth’s best invention, bamboo. Equipped with the highest quality nylon bristles to ensure dentist approved results, the iconic toothbrush has to date sold in excess of 35 million pieces.
We Say: I recommend isshah toothbrushes as an alternative in my eco-friendly electric toothbrush article here, and my opinion on them hasn't changed.
These vegan, cruelty-free, toothbrushes are shipping in 100% recycled and biodegradable craft paper.
The soft bristles are charcoal-infused to help keep teeth whiter for longer.
The natural bamboo handle is fully compostable once the bristles have been removed and recycled separately.
The range of products appears to be growing as there is now an eight pack and a ten pack, offering even better value for money.
There are also children's brushes, interdental brushes, natural dental floss, and bamboo cotton swabs.
Click here to view the entire product range.
I didn’t set out to only recommend bamboo toothbrushes. It just happened organically when I started testing/researching and learned even more about the beauty of bamboo.
Bamboo is an incredibly sustainable material. It’s fast-growing and needs little water.
Bamboo is also naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. All perfect qualities for something that goes into your mouth for two minutes, twice a day.
It’s no wonder that the leading makers of sustainable toothbrushes are all turning to bamboo.
Bamboo is, in my opinion, by far the best material for an eco-friendly toothbrush. If you decide that bamboo is not for you, then you might want to consider 100% recycled (and recyclable) plastic.
The planet already has a severe problem with plastic waste. The one billion plastic toothbrushes being thrown away in the U.S. annually are just adding to the plastic waste caused by other products (bags and bottles, for example). Switching to an eco-friendly toothbrush option is such a simple switch to make.
According to WebMD, “For the vast majority of people, a soft-bristled toothbrush will be the most comfortable and safest choice. Depending on how vigorously you brush your teeth and the strength of your teeth, medium- and hard-bristled brushes could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel. For even more tooth protection when you brush, be sure the bristles on the toothbrush you select have rounded tips”.
According to Dr. Sienna Palmer, DDS, dentist at Meridien Dental in Santa Monica, CA, “The average person should be swapping out for a new toothbrush every three to four months”. The same applies to the replaceable heads on an electric toothbrush.
This article didn’t take shape as I expected.
I expected to be comparing bamboo, recycled plastic, and other eco-friendly recycled materials.
However, in the end, there was only one clear winner. It turns out that the best eco-friendly toothbrushes are the best bamboo toothbrushes.
In all honesty, it wasn't even a fair fight. Sustainable bamboo is DEFINITELY the material of choice when you're next in the market for a sustainable toothbrush.