Eco-friendly alternatives to plastic toothbrushes

With eco-friendly toothbrushes becoming more common, here’s some info about the different products available including around composting and the materials in different products.

If you have a favourite brand or a product that is different to the types we’ve listed here, we’d love to hear about it along with your experiences.


The extreme cost of some of the options listed seems a contradiction with the green credentials of the products?

There is one product costing $30 with 2 replaceable heads, and more than $4 each for subsequent purchases of the replaceable plastic heads. It might seem better in the reduced amount of plastic, but at the cost of more than a fully plastic brush?

I’ve a simple a rule of thumb that the cost of a product is proportional to it’s embodied cost in carbon. IE materials consumed, energy in manufacture and distribution, footprint of the labour used to procure manufacture and supply. The more expensive an item the greater the carbon footprint of the product.

Some of the products and options Choice covers respond to these concerns. But for some of the products listed, are consumers being emotionally manipulated into paying a premium for no meaningful change? One of the products is produced by a multinational of less green products. Excuse some cynicism.

It’s a thought provoking article with numerous options.

Perhaps plastic Tooth brushes need to come with a $2 refundable deposit. At least to encourage most gravitate to the one collection point. If there is a premium to recycle brushes the value should be built into the cost of the brush. Likely at present to be much less costly than the eco alternatives, and more universal in it’s outcome. Not a carbon tax, just a service fee on waste to ensure it is recycled.


It isn’t just toothbrushes. Many ‘green’ products come with no real assurance that they achieve a net reduction in consumption of resources or of reduction of pollution compared to other products.

Many carry claims along the lines:

“The disposable version is responsible for leaving 123,456,789 plastics in the environment per year - use our product instead and save the planet”.

The problem is they don’t do a whole of life assessment of the two approaches to the problem that allows for direct comparison of inputs, outputs and consequences. We are invited to assume that there must be a net benefit without evidence. Some enthusiasts will defend their choice most vigorously and go as far a saying no such analysis is required as it’s obvious. Consequently we have no way to decide what is most effective and, should our budget only extend to buying some ethical products that cost more, which ones to choose.


Small items do add up, but if you have one memory foam mattress or even a memory foam pillow, you will have brought far more plastic into your home than a lifetime of toothbrushes.
So far as toothbrushes are concerned, are the eco-friendly versions as effective in terms of dental care?


Good question. People may have personal preferences regarding the shape of the brush or the firmness of bristles offered by different brands, but technically these brushes should be just as effecting at dental care as long as an effective brushing technique is employed

1 Like

I find that my bamboo one with the nylon bristles cleans my teeth better than a standard brush, but it may be because the bristles are so much thinner than standard. REally don’t know. I tend to use three different brushes anyway :slight_smile:

In my experience, most of these toothbrushes especially bamboo ones have poor quality bristles that don’t clean effectively. My dentist in Sydney sells an American toothbrush called Source. The handle is made from recyclable material and the brush heads are replaceable. The bristles are high quality and give the teeth are really good clean. When I can’t get to the dentist, I buy the Source toothbrush and brush heads online.