Photo: What's the eco-friendliest toothbrush?

Stay vigilant, experiment, and ask questions of each company selling eco-friendly toothbrushes. (Credit: Lazarius via Flickr)

Well that depends on your preference of hard versus soft—boar bristles are stiffer than horse hair! I'm half kidding.

Until 1938 toothbrushes had bone handles and animal hair bristles. Today, nylon bristles adorn plastic handles and most of us send at least four of these to the landfill each year.

On a plastic diet but not vegan? You could try the boar hair bristle option. Two reviews I dug up: "You get used to the wet pig taste" and "Gross".

Another plastic-free option is The Environmental Toothbrush from Australia. Its bamboo handle and polymer bristles are compostable and biodegradeable. In Vancouver, you can find them at The Soap Dispensary on Main Street for five bucks.

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What if last week's number five yogurt container turned into your next toothbrush? Meet Preserve. This company's toothbrush handles (and razors) are made in the US from 100 per cent recycled plastic. And you can send the toothbrush back for recycling as part of their Gimme Five program.

Radius makes Source toothbrushes with replaceable heads. And the reusable handle is made from flax, recycled plastic, or old dollar bills! Eco-dent takes a similar approach; their TerraDent toothbrush has replaceable heads with a handle to last a lifetime. Both replaceable head options mean less plastic destined for the landfill.

Deep in my backyard compost bin I'm testing the biodegradability of a Clean Idea bioplastic toothbrush. Their resins are made from corn, wheat, tapioca, and potato starches. They are certified as biodegradable and compostable in the US and Europe, and meet BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) standards for compostability, and European Bioplastics standards.

By the time you read this, there will be more eco-friendly toothbrush choices on store shelves. Stay vigilant, experiment, and ask questions of each company! And never flush your floss—it's a water treatment plant worker's nightmare.

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