Small and useful as they are, toothbrushes create a lot of waste when thrown out: If every American changes toothbrushes every three months, as dentists recommend, that adds up to almost 100 million pounds dumped into landfills.
Should you ignore the American Dental Association? No. You can and should replace your old toothbrush, which gets worn out and loaded with bacteria, but you don't have to throw it away. Here are some greener alternatives.
GET A GRIP.
Designed by dentists, the Recycline Preserve toothbrush ($3; www.preserveproducts.com) has a handle made from recycled Stonyfield Yogurt cups. When the brush wears out, you can send it back to the company, where it's reprocessed into source material for plastic lumber.
OFF WITH ITS HEAD.
Radius offers several stylish, architect-designed, recyclable toothbrushes made from sustainable natural cellulose. The Source Toothbrush with its re-usable handle made from 50% recycled plastic combined with 50% recycled natural fibers ($7; www.radiustoothbrush.com) uses replaceable heads, so instead of throwing an entire toothbrush away, you will only be discarding 7% of the toothbrush.
Eco-Dent TerraDent toothbrushes ($4 and up; www.eco-dent.com) also have snap-on replaceable heads. The company offers natural tooth powders, flosses, rinses, and dental gum.
Join the Save The Planet One Toothbrush At A Time toothbrush recycling program and help protect the environment while receiving convenient home delivery of your favorite oral care products. For a one-time nominal charge of $3.49 you will receive a resealable, pre-addressed, postage-paid recycling kit.