Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.

  • Wisdom from Winston Churchill

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    Why do we reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim, repurpose, reinvent, and reimagine? Because continuous effort is the key to protecting our planet. 

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on May 3, 2018

  • Simple Sustainable Swaps

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Feb 8, 2018

  • The Whole Tooth & Nothing but the Tooth

    Coming Clean with Sustainable Dental Hygiene

    I am really, really big on dental hygiene—why wouldn’t I be? My mom has been working as a dental assistant for nearly 30 years. I brush, I floss, I visit the dentist every six months like clockwork, and when I feel like it, I wear my night guard. But I started thinking…If I follow my dentist’s directions and throw out my toothbrush every three months, how many of my toothbrushes would go to a landfill in my lifetime?

    Let’s just say a person starts brushing their teeth around 6 months old (children start cutting teeth between 4 and 7 months), and the average U.S. life expectancy is 78 years old. If they replace their toothbrush every three months, that adds up to more than 300 plastic toothbrushes—all of which end up in the landfill (and sometimes the ocean)! Let’s explore other options.

    In one corner we have the standard plastic-on-plastic toothbrush. You can find this at any store, and if you have a dentist like mine, you get one every time you make an office visit.

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    Strengths:

    • Variety of shapes and colors
    • Soft, medium, hard options
    • Readily available
    • Readily accepted
    • Wide price range
    • Manual and electric versions
    • Standard reach

    Weaknesses:

    • Non-biodegradable (takes about 700 years to break down)
    • Ends up in landfills and oceans
    • Heavier than sustainable options
    • Possible plastic chemicals, entering your mouth (some reports say)
    • Bristles attached to toothbrush body with glue
    • Germy 

    In the opposite corner, we have the bamboo toothbrush. You can find these online or at your local natural foods store.

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    Strengths:

    • Lightweight
    • Strong and durable
    • Sustainable
    • Biodegradable (takes about one year to break down, in optimal conditions)
    • Soft, medium, hard options
    • Variety of styles and sizes (even pet versions)
    • Standard reach
    • Naturally antimicrobial
    • Glue is not used to attach bristles to body

    Weaknesses:

    • Not as widely available
    • Not as smooth as plastic
    • Few style varieties
    • Non-biodegradable bristles

    Both types are strong and and have multiple weight classes (sizes and shapes) and price ranges. They both use plastic bristles so should be replaced every three months.

    The bamboo toothbrush falls behind in two main areas. First, there is no electric version for those who prefer a bigger punch to plaque. Second, they are not widely accepted or popular at this point. While bamboo toothbrushes can be easily found online and at your local natural grocery store, they are not handed out for free at your regular dentist check-up or in the aisles of your regular store.

    However, the bamboo toothbrush comes out ahead in the area of sustainability. Bamboo can be organically grown and is a plant that can degrade over time, unlike petroleum-based products like plastic. Think of it this way: The toothbrush you learned with as a toddler is still in a dump and will remain there until long after you’re gone. A plant-based toothbrush will degrade in this lifetime, while plastic never truly does. And even though many sustainable brushes do use nylon bristles (some use pig hair—I’m not ready to commit to that!), the overall product has fewer long-term effects on the environment. And, I personally think they are a little more stylish aesthetically. In the area of effectiveness, they are equally matched.

    Because there are no glaring weaknesses when it comes to the bamboo brush, it’s an easy choice for me. Every morning and night when I attend to my oral hygiene, I am reminded to be more mindful about my consumables. And that’s the tooth!

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Feb 5, 2018