Can a Toothcrush subscription really be more eco-friendly than buying 4 plastic toothbrushes from the supermarket?
A fresh toothbrush every month might be great for your teeth, but can it really be better for the environment than buying a toothbrush every three months from the supermarket?
With Toothcrush, it really is. Here’s how we've calculated our relative environmental impact…
A standard plastic supermarket toothbrush weights about 18 grams and comes in about 7 grams of packaging. No part of the brush nor any of the packaging is recyclable (even the cardboard is plastic gloss-coated), meaning you create about 100 grams of unsustainable waste each year if you change your brush with the seasons.
A Toothcrush brush weighs 11 grams and comes in a mailing box that weighs 24 grams and a hygienic wrap that weighs 0.65 grams. The wrap is made from PLA, a plant-based plastic alternative that is 100% compostable. The box is made from plain, uncoated brown cardboard that is 100% recyclable. The brush handle is made from bamboo — completely compostable and one of the world’s most renewable resources. The only part of Toothcrush that can’t be recycled or composted is the bristles. They’re made from nylon, which is our least-favourite part of our product, but which right now is the only material available anywhere in the world that meets dental standards.
But… the bristles on each brush weigh less than half a gram. So — you create just 5.5 grams of unsustainable waist each year if you have Toothcrush delivered each month.
That means that if you’re a Toothcrush subscriber, you’re creating 18 times less environmentally damaging waste than someone who buys 4 plastic toothbrushes a year.
And what about the environmental cost of delivering 12 brushes?
The total CO2 produced by each delivery from factory to letterbox is around 195 grams — less than a single 1km journey in an average car.
So depending on how close your supermarket is, you’ll likely have a greater environmental impact doing one trip to buy a plastic toothbrush than you will having an entire toothbrush subscription for a year :-)
We compared Toothcrush against a Colgate ‘360 Advanced’, a Macleans ‘Flex Direct’, a Reach ‘Between’ and an All Smiles ‘Total Care Pro’ — all purchased from a Countdown Supermarket in Auckland, New Zealand.
We used the carbon emissions information provided at timeforchange.org and by The Guardian newspaper, and the Fuel CO2 Calculator at drivingtests.co.nz