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Decrescita e Autoproduzione

Toothbrushes for Green Pandas

Toothbrushes for Green Pandas

We talked about the problem of the necessary reduction of plastic waste here: fortunately, following the new EU directives, by 2021 part of the disposable plastic objects will disappear from the store shelves to make room for recyclable and / or biodegradable alternatives, but there are many everyday products that continue to be made of materials that are enemies of the environment, regardless of the environmental impact.

Knowing how to choose the ecological alternatives, when they are available, is a critical and attentive choice: to do our part it is not necessary to wait for the international organizations to definitively cancel the plastics from production, we can already influence the market today by consciously choosing what we buy (or we do not buy) paying attention to our environmental impact and to the protection of the environment in which we live. For this reason, in addition to the objects already banned by the new legislation, we must also actively intervene on many other everyday products that we can choose or avoid depending on a conscious consumption criterion based on numerous factors such as environmental policies of companies, more or less ethic investments, cultivation methods, type of raw materials, energy consumption, packaging and durability.

Certainly it will not be possible to completely change our habits from one day to the next, but in this path towards degrowth just take one step at a time to find yourself slowly but inexorably different, more attentive to the world around us, less involved in the insensate mechanisms of mass consumption.

We use certain products for habit without realizing the environmental impact we produce: most seem harmless, like liquid soaps and toothpaste, wet wipes, plastic bags, disposable razors. Did you know, for example, that we use around 300 toothbrushes over a lifetime? The ones we buy are traditionally made of non-recycled and non-recyclable mixed plastic and have a head made of high-impact nylon bristles. Would not it be nice to combine oral hygiene and critical consumption by purchasing toothbrushes in biodegradable and recyclable materials? The alternative ecology already exists, just know where to look.

To obtain an eco-friendly version of our toothbrush, it is simply necessary to go back to the origins towards highly sustainable and non-toxic materials, such as those used to produce older oral hygiene instruments. In fact, the first toothbrushes were chewing sticks, consisting of a twig with a frayed finish, often chosen according to the curative or antiseptic properties of the type of wood. Today we return to the bamboo, which is not only a natural raw material but also a renewable source, given the speed of growth of the plant, as well as a light, economic material. In addition to bamboo, of course, we can move towards biopolymers, derived from corn, tapioca and potatoes … but if pandas like so much this plant there should be a reason.

If we choose an ecofriendly toothbrush, we must be careful that even the bristles are biodegradable: the bristles of the toothbrushes with the lowest environmental impact are made of organic plastic, an aseptic material similar to nylon for quality and durability. Pay attention in every case to the indications of the producers: often the handles are completely compostable, while the bristles are to be disposed of in the special systems and must therefore be separated from the rest of the toothbrush.

Since we have put so much effort into the choice of our toothbrush, we also take into account the packaging: if it is supplied in a cardboard box, maybe recycled, it will be preferable compared to one with excessive packaging or maybe shipped from far away.

I chose a bamboo toothbrush from the German brand Hydrophil, which creates products for sustainable hygiene, with particular attention to consumption and water pollution. Their products are vegan, not tested on animals and fair trade; moreover, 10% of their profits are donated to the Viva association with Agua de Sankt Pauli, which commits itself to access safe drinking water for people in the countries of the South of the world.

By adopting a biodegradable toothbrush you will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 34 grams per plastic toothbrush not purchased. How do you feel to have made your small step towards more conscious consumption?

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