No.1 - Toothbrushes & Paste
Firstly, if you are reading this post, congratulations for taking the first step in the fight against plastic!
Getting in the know and researching about how you can make small manageable changes is the best and easiest thing you can do. I understand how daunting the idea of making dramatic changes in your lifestyle is (especially when you start looking around at products you use daily and realising that hardly anything is 100% sustainable - sad times).
Like I said, small and manageable steps is key here! I am swapping out items every other week and documenting on this blog, in the hope that it might help people follow along with me. So, I decided to start in the bathroom - as, mine is filled with plastic bottles galore!
The first thing I will mention, is to use up everything you have already. Don't feel the need to rush out and buy tonnes of shampoo bars when you have multiple unfinished bottles at home. Over the last few weeks, I have been delving into the very back of the bathroom cupboards and using the last little bits of products I have had sat around seemingly forever, then cleaning out the bottles and chucking into the recycling hopefully for the last time.
This week I will be writing about bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tablets.
Bamboo toothbrushes have been around for a while now, so if you already have one, well done to you! If not, they are cheap and very easy to find.
I have a 5 pack of Humble brushes from The Humble Co.
I love them.
The handle is 100% biodegradable bamboo and can be thrown into your compost bin, returning to soil in a couple of months! Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial, so no need for fertilisers or harsh chemicals in the growing and manufacturing process. Plus, bamboo grows fast and very quickly. The bristles are made of nylon-6 which need to be pulled out and placed in the plastic recycling. They recommend using a new brush every 3-4 months or so.
You can purchase them online from Holland and Barrett:
They cost £3.99 or £16.99 for the 5 pack (so you are basically getting one free).
From a quick google search, these fall into the average price range.
However, I did spot some lovely
looking colourful bamboo brushes from Green Leaf Monkey at £10.99 for 10 (plus shipping), which is very good value.
I'm going to be totally honest here, it does take a while to get used to them. It feels slightly different to brushing with a plastic toothbrush, but I got used to it very quickly. The other thing I noticed was that the bristles are quite soft, but you often have a choice to select soft or harder bristles when buying.
The other thing worth mentioning is that it should be kept dry! I was putting mine straight back into my toothbrush holder after use and the end went a bit gross constantly sat in damp - This is easily solved by keeping your brush in a better toothbrush holder or
drying it before placing in a pot.
Now, lets talk about toothpaste:
This was a tricky one, as I struggled to find your classic toothpaste but in non-plastic packaging. However, there WAS a huge variety of sustainable swaps: Pastes, powders and toothsoaps (whatever that is!)
I ended up going for these toothpaste tablets from Georganics. They sounded the least scary out of all the options and the reviews all seemed positive. I also like the fact that nearly all of these options are vegan, cruelty free and free from preservatives.
These came posted in compostable material. The tablets are in little glass jars, which as well as being recyclable, can also be taken to refill shops to top up.
The way these work:
Chew 1 tablet in your mouth and let it dissolve, brush as usual for 2 minutes, spit out and rinse well. Store in a dry place for up to 12 months from opening.
In all honesty, I've been using these for a couple months now and they take a lot of getting used to. I will definitely stick with them, as I think sacrificing what you're used to and embracing change is 100% worth it when it is helping the planet. Here's my breakdown of the positives and negatives:
- No preservatives! (It's not uncommon to be allergic or sensitive to these - I am one of those people, so I'm please I don't react to them)
- The little jar stores nicely on the shelf and the packaging they came in was lovely
- They last a long time. 120 tablets lasted 2 months.
- Range of flavour options
- Leave your teeth feeling super clean and fresh. No sensitivity.
- Take a while to get used to (the feel when brushing almost feels like you are brushing with water after a while) but they do work!
- I ordered the peppermint flavour, thinking it would be similar to standard toothpaste. However, it was very bitter. I think next time I will try the orange flavour as it might be more tolerable.
Overall, I am very glad I have switched. It is definitely different to what I am used to but I did expect that.
Well, there you have it!
My run down of my new toothpaste tablets and brushes. I hope that you have found this useful. There are honestly so many options out there and it is really worth while trying out a few until you find one that works for you.
Remember, every year 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes end up in landfill - you can help reduce that number and spread the word!