In a time where we are greatly concerned with the acceleration of climate change, many of us are looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and plastic consumption.
Plastic contributes to the pollution of our oceans (as often highlighted in the media). It also contributes to climate change through the CO2 emissions released from producing and then incinerating these plastics after we are finished using them. As a result, we as consumers may find some simple alterations in our lifestyles will help to reduce our plastic consumption.
When thinking of what single use plastics we have in our homes, you may find most of the dental shelf is stocked with plastic. Looking for effective ways of recycling and reducing dental plastic whilst also maintaining optimal oral health is becoming easier as demand grows.
Alternatives to plastic dental supplies:
If you prefer using a manual toothbrush you will be pleased to hear there are many biodegradable bamboo versions on the market. This is a beneficial alternative to a plastic manual toothbrush, when it’s time to throw out your toothbrush the bamboo will decompose naturally (reducing CO2 emissions and plastic pollution). Most bamboo toothbrushes will come with instructions on how to correctly dispose of your toothbrush. Below is a link to one of the many Dental companies creating bamboo dental products (created by dentists and environmentally friendly).
There are also biodegradable alternatives to floss to help minimise waste. Unfortunately, I have yet to find plastic-free packaged floss but the plastic packaging is recyclable (which we will discuss later on).
Interdental Brushes are excellent for removing plaque in between the teeth to help keep your gums healthy but there is again the concern of the plastic handles. There are a few alternatives we can use here. If you’re a fan of bamboo products, you’ll be pleased to know there are an assortment of available sizes of these brushes with bamboo handles (allowing the same benefits of bamboo toothbrushes). If you find you’re not a fan of the bamboo, Curaprox has created a reusable metal handle (dishwasher friendly) that you can fit the bristle part into, again reducing your plastic waste.
Terracycle and Colgate have partnered together to create many drop off recycling points across the country. This specific dental recycling program allows you to recycle many single-use plastics you wouldn’t otherwise be able to recycle effectively.
Many items are recyclable under this scheme such as toothpaste tubes, electric toothbrush heads, plastic floss boxes and more. Full details are on their website of accepted waste and drop off location points near you. Recycling through Terracycle also helps the community, they recently launched a competition with Colgate and are making their first school playground from hard to recycle plastics.
Whilst we have a long way to go in terms of plastic reduction and it’s impact on pollution and climate change, these small changes will also show a change in demand for ethical, clean products. It’s also important to support companies who pride themselves on creating a better planet for our future, in hope more companies follow in their footsteps.
(Please note these are just suggestions through personal preference)