Recycling Mystery: Toothbrushes & Toothpaste Tubes


Precycle your oral care products

While recycling options exist for nearly every type of oral care product packaging, you'll make disposal much easier for yourself by choosing easy-to-recycle products and packaging ahead of time (aka "precycling").

For toothbrushes, consider switching to a model with a removable head to minimize waste. Rather than tossing an entire toothbrush every three months, simply replace the head and continue using the handle for months to come. Most replaceable head models, like these from Eco-Dent and GreenerStep, cost about the same as conventional toothbrushes.

To take the guess-work out of toothbrush disposal, you can also sign up for a Toothbrush Subscription with Preserve - an upcycling company that makes toothbrushes and other products from recycled #5 plastics. Through the subscription, Preserve will mail a new toothbrush to your home every three months, along with a "mail-back pack" to send the old one in for recycling.

Learn More: Recycling Mystery: #5 Plastics

When choosing your toothpaste, consider a brand that offers a take-back program for tubes and packaging, such as Tom's of Maine. Or do a little research beforehand to find a company that notes packaging materials on its Website to make finding a recycling solution easier.

If you're feeling ambitious, you can also make your own toothpaste at home from natural ingredients, eliminating packaging waste entirely. Check out these homemade toothpaste recipes from Instructables, DIY Natural and Crunchy Betty to get you started. Since different mouthes have different needs, talk to your dentist before making the switch to a homemade toothpaste to make sure the recipe you chose is right for you.

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Mary Mazzoni

Based in the Phoenix metro area, Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.