New Zealanders buy and dispose of approximately 8 million toothbrushes every year: the equivalent of around 144 tonnes of plastic. And because 99% of those brushes are made of polypropylene (a material derived from non-renewable fossil fuels) they’ll never biodegrade. Instead, they’ll persist in soil and seawater for hundreds of years, and will release toxic greenhouse gases directly into the atmosphere if incinerated.
Toothbrushes and other oral care products which are collected for recycling are cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products.
Reduce waste to landfill by purchasing toothbrushes made of biodegradable components.
Sanitise then reuse old toothbrushes for cleaning intricate, small things such as jewellery, grouting, around the base of taps and plugholes, hairbrushes, showerhead (after soaking in vinegar), cheese grater, garlic press, microplane, sieve, or any other kitchen tools with small holes.
Oral care products are being recycled through the Terracycle programme. Place any brand of toothbrush and its outer packaging material into the wheelie bin at the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre (it's in front of the verandah to the main building).
Plastic toothbrushes do not decompose, please keep from landfill.