For sustainable society


Bamboo toothbrush good for the mouth and the environment

 People use a toothbrush every day, but no one has brushed his teeth while thinking about its history and what happened after it was discarded. Toothbrush has become widespread due to the development of chemical fibers, but now, it has become a non-recyclable “nuisance at sea.”

The history of toothbrush dates back to the end of the 15th century in China. The toothbrush at the time was made of hairs from a boar with a bone handle, which was a luxury item that was unaffordable for common people. According to literature, even in the 1920s when more than 400 years had passed after the introduction of toothbrush, only one in four Americans could buy a toothbrush.

 The toothbrush began to spread due to the development of chemical fibers (nylon) in 1938. Inexpensive and durable nylon was perfect for the material of the brush. Toothbrush, which had been a luxury item until then, became affordable to common people, and the toothbrush and the post-meal brushing habit rapidly spread.

 However, in recent years, there has been a movement to review the plastic material that has contributed to the spread of the toothbrush. This is because that the toothbrush is difficult to recycle since it is disposable and combines different plastics, and it is the cause of “marine plastics,” which has recently become an issue.

 Colgate-Palmolive Company, the United States, has launched a project to produce a toothbrush made with 100% sustainable materials. The company selected bamboo as material. Since bamboo is a biodegradable material, it can be composted. It also can be regarded as a sustainable material suitable for mass production since it grows at an incredibly rapid rate without the use of pesticides or fertilizers.

 In addition, hairs from a boar with Binchotan charcoal are used for bristles. In order to prevent mold, it is waterproofed with natural beeswax, and the package is made of recyclable cardboard. The use of plastics is also reduced as much as possible. Regarding brushing comfort, it is somewhat harder than chemical fiber brushes, but there is no problem for normal use.  ”Colgate” is a leading brand company of toothpaste in Europe and the United States. Colgate-Palmolive Company has released various kinds of toothbrushes, most of which are made from petroleum-based materials. Although toothbrush still has many challenges in achieving plastic-free because of its ease of use and manufacture, an effort that the leading company went into action for plastic-free is a big step forward. It is better to incorporate some sustainable products into everyday life and reduce the environmental impact at the individual level.

Photo:Colgate-Palmolive Company

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