Are Wooden Toothbrushes Worth Buying?

I’ve seen many pictures of toothbrushes in the ocean and washed up on beaches. These are meant to make us want to change and the only way to change that I could see is to buy a toothbrush that can decompose. The only likely candidates I can find to buy are wooden ones so I tried one make of wooden toothbrush and composed my thoughts on the subject.


As you can see, after a short time the handles start to look disgusting before the bristles are worn out. They looked worse than the image as I washed the worst of the mould off and dried them before taking a photo. Not good for use in a typically damp bathroom. So from that point of view they don’t feel good to use. Otherwise they are OK to brush with and made my teeth feel clean. I did find myself wondering how much mould has gone into my mouth and rinsing with extra water every time.

In terms of disposal I can see no way to recycle these and no good way of reusing them so they go into landfill. By going into landfill the carbon they contain is buried underground instead of being released into the atmosphere but it’s no better than a plastic toothbrush in this regard.

In terms of manufacturing, these are made in China and we know that in general things are not done in a sustainable way there. It’s not surprising as it’s cheap to get products made there but disappointing for a so-called ‘Environmental Toothbrush’. You would hope for such products to be made in a more ethical country in a more eco factory. Being made in China I doubt the wood used was from a sustainable source either. Working out the full carbon footprint for this product is beyond me but I suspect it’s much higher than a cheap plastic version.

Overall I’m not that impressed and I won’t be buying this type again. It is still important to ensure such plastic waste gets buried in landfill and won’t make its way into the seas.