How to Dispose of Your Bamboo Toothbrush - 3 Easy Steps

So you’ve got yourself a mighty fine bamboo toothbrush, a great choice for reducing your environmental impact. Go you! But it’s about time to dispose of your much-loved ‘brush and replace it with a new one. So how do you dispose of a bamboo toothbrush properly?

Follow these three simple steps to ensure you’re recycling your bamboo toothbrush in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. 


How to dispose of your bamboo toothbrush

  1. Reuse your bamboo toothbrush
  2. Separate the bristles from the handle
  3. Compost the handle and recycle the bristles

1. Reuse your bamboo toothbrush

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The 3 ‘R’s are an important part of sustainable living and are applicable here in that order! You’ve reduced the amount of plastic waste you’ve consumed. Now you should try to reuse your bamboo toothbrush and get as much longevity out of it as possible before disposing of it. Bamboo toothbrushes can come in handy in a number of ways:

  • Cleaning - toothbrushes can get into those hard to clean places like the tread on the bottom of your shoes, hairdryer vents, the grout in your bathroom or any other place you might not be able to reach
  • Craft - old toothbrushes are a great addition to your craft box. They can be used for texture on clay or making interesting brush strokes while painting
  • Plant markers - stick your toothbrush into your pot plants and use them as markers for your favourite herbs and seeds

Just remember to wash the toothbrush with some dish soap and warm water to sanitise it before using it for any of the above.


2. Separate the bristles from the handle

If you feel like you’ve gotten as much use out of your bamboo toothbrush as you possibly can, now it is time to get recycling. 

It should be known that there are two sections to a bamboo toothbrush: the handle and the bristles. The handle is biodegradable but the bristles are not. Bamboo toothbrush bristles are made of nylon so they need to be removed from the handle before you compost. 

This can be done with a pair of pliers pulling out small chunks of bristles at a time. It can take some practice, but you’ll get used to it. 

3. Compost the handle and recycle the bristles

Now that your handle and bristles are separated you can:

  • Compost your handle - Put your bamboo toothbrush handle in your compost, a green waste bin, bury it in some soil or just throw it into your garden. It will take between a couple of months and up to 5 years to decompose based on where you dispose of it.

  • Recycle your bristles - Your bristles can be recycled with your regular plastics recycling. Bunch up the bristles and put them inside another plastic container, such as a milk carton, so that they don’t get lost.

    You may have to check if your local council recycles nylon. Most do these days but, if not, the bristles will just have to be discarded in your regular garbage.

There you have it, with those three simple steps you now know how to properly dispose of your bamboo toothbrush. 

Although they’re not a perfect solution, each bamboo toothbrush means one plastic toothbrush going into landfill or our oceans. We’re always keeping our eyes and ears out for 100% biodegradable options, but nylon is currently the best material for the job. There are companies that use boar hair bristles but those are neither vegan nor hygienic as they harbour bacteria. For now, we’ll have to settle for nylon and take solace in the fact that bamboo toothbrushes are still a much better alternative to plastics.