Every year in Australia, approximately 30 million toothbrushes are used and sent to landfill.
Toothbrush handles are made from a type of plastic called Polypropylene, which by itself is recyclable. However the irreversible bonding of the toothbrush handles during manufacturing renders the toothbrush unrecyclable. Toothbrush bristles are also not recyclable.
Toothbrush packaging on the other hand cannot as it is generally a mixture of plastic as well as cardboard, so make sure you separate the pieces and put them in your council recycle bin.
Toothpaste tubes are sometimes, but not always, recyclable in your council recycling bin, so check the recyclers tab for more information.Toothpaste boxes are made out of cardboard and are 100% recyclable in your council recycling bin.
While toothbrushes are not recyclable in your council bin, along with tubes, they are accepted by special recycling schemes, such as Terracycle, who offer specialised recycling. You can request a pre-paid postal label and mail your used dental care products to TerraCycle for recycling.
TerraCycle also have a number of businesses around Australia who collect on their behalf - like Biome Stores in Brisbane, where you can drop a whole range of plastics products including toothbrushes to them.
Think about converting to bamboo toothbrushes as the handles able to be composted after use. When shopping for body care products, make your buying decisions by paying forward - base your decisions on the recyclable nature of the company's product contents and packaging.
Images: Gratisography 220438 | Biome