13 Great Ways to Recycle Your Toothbrush.
An old toothbrush has many uses, but in your mouth it’s basically useless.
From bacteria-destroying weapon to bacteria-breeding ground
Old toothbrushes are a bit like us when we get old – they lose their hair and their shape. Instead of being a bacteria-destroying weapon they become a bacteria-breeding ground, reintroducing germs to your immune system. Worn bristles damage your gums, exposing the root area. They can’t clean your teeth correctly, so plaque hardens, tartar builds up and bacteria sets up camp around your teeth infecting your gums.
A new toothbrush every three to four months is vital for the health of your teeth.
But what should you do with your old toothbrush? Normal recycling doesn’t work because of the way toothbrushes are constructed. Thankfully, you don’t have to throw them away.
13 great ways to recycle your toothbrush.
Terracycle has a few oral waste recycling options. They have community collection hubs around New Zealand. Click on the Icon to find one near you. Terracycle run a schools’ competition where they clean the donated oral waste and then melt it all into hard plastic, which is remoulded into products such as planters, benches with planters and even picnic tables.
As toothbrushes are perfect for getting into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, you can use them for cleaning things, such as:
Hairbrushes and combs – both of these collect a build-up of dead skin, oil and hair. Some hot soapy water and a good scrub with your old toothbrush will soon fix that.
Jewellery - Investigate the cleaning requirements of your piece of jewellery first. You can’t use toothbrushes on pearls, for example.
Bathrooms - around a tap, between tiles. All those tricky places a bathroom or a kitchen have can be tackled with vinegar or bi-carb soda, a little water and an old toothbrush.
Kitchen implements – graters, peelers, etc can chew up sponges and cloths but a toothbrush is perfect for cleaning them.
Computer keyboards – toothbrushes are perfect for cleaning out the accumulated dust (and crumbs) that collect on your keyboard, and other tech appliances and accessories, when used in combination with a micro-fibre cloth.
Footwear – Needing to clean between stitching, tread and grooves in your shoes? An old toothbrush, some vinegar or soapy water will do the trick.
Transport – from skateboards, to bicycles, motorbikes and cars, each has those hard to reach parts that need cleaning, and an old toothbrush is the perfect tool.
A toothbrush may have started its career as a cleaning implement but there’s no reason why it can’t become a well-beloved implement of your artistic endeavours.
Painting – artists have known of the ‘splatter value’ of toothbrushes for years, especially with watercolours and acrylics, but they also add texture when used as a paintbrush.
Pottery – those lovely bristles can be used to add texture to clay whether it’s in delicate indents or fine sweeps across the surface.
Calligraphy and other fountain pen tips – the bristles will clean the intricate pen tips removing the ink and preventing build up.
Foiling – the fragile nature of the foil requires the softness of an old toothbrush to smooth it down.
For healthier teeth and a healthier environment, buy a new toothbrush every three to four months and recycle your old one.