Toothbrushes and a tube of toothpaste in a glass cup on top of the bathroom shelf

How to Recycle Your Toothbrush

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

The average American will throw away 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime. Between replacing your toothbrush every three to four months, after an illness, or when it begins to show signs of wear and tear, those used toothbrushes can really add up.

Not only can toothbrushes that end up in landfills harm the environment as they make their way to waterways, but the production of new toothbrushes can also lead to substantial air and water pollution. If you’re looking for ways you can go green with your oral care routine, there are steps you can take to help reduce your carbon footprint without sacrificing your oral health.

Why You Should Recycle Your Toothbrush

Toothbrushes come in many shapes and sizes. Sturdy handles made from polypropylene plastic molded, nylon bristles, and soft rubber parts are the typical components that make up a modern toothbrush. Unfortunately, none of these common materials are biodegradable, so they can take years to break down if not disposed of properly.

By recycling, used materials from toothbrushes get converted into new products that reduce the need to consume natural resources, and we save energy which reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

How To Recycle Your Toothbrush

You can now purchase recyclable toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes made from recycled or compostable materials such as bamboo or wood, but how can you recycle a toothbrush made from plastic?

  • Colgate Local Recycle Solutions accepts all brands of used or empty oral care products and packaging. All you need to do is find your nearest local drop-off location.
  • Contact your local recycling center to see if they accept the types of plastic you have.
  • Local grocery stores may accept used toothbrushes through their own programs.
  • Repurpose your old toothbrushes for household chores like scrubbing floors and polishing jewelry.

Next time you dispose of your old toothbrush, consider these tips and choose what’s best for you. Small changes to your oral care routine can reduce your impact on the environment.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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