A couple of years ago, I switched from conventional plastic toothbrushes to those now ubiquitous recycled plastic toothbrushes, which I can pick up at my local Trader Joe's for a few bucks a piece. But, while the company has a pretty good thing going, I've continued to have some reservations about a product made of non-biodegradable plastic (it turns out they have a mail-in recycling program, but I had no idea until I wrote this post, so I've just been tossing the toothbrushes in my regular recycling bin and crossing my fingers that something good would come of it).
Then Mable reached out and offered one of their bamboo toothbrushes for review and I was stoked (can you tell I visited southern California recently?) to get a chance to see what the bamboo experience was like. Bamboo is a sturdy, fast growing plant, which makes it one of the most sustainable materials in the world. Plus it's biodegradable, which makes a huge difference when you consider that "nearly five-billion plastic toothbrushes make their way into the earth and oceans every year." The Mable toothbrush is made from bamboo and new nylon, and the handle is designed so that the brush can stand all by itself on a counter top.
So what did I think?
I have mixed feelings. In terms of sustainability and design, the brush is spot on. I don't have to send in my toothbrush once it's worn out because it will biodegrade naturally over time (though Mable does recommend taking the nylon out of the handle and disposing of it since it's not biodegradable). The silhouette of the product is also really cool. I feel like it makes my bathroom look like a fancier place than it is. And since bamboo is antimicrobial, I feel a little bit less worried about delaying the purchase of a new toothbrush or sealing it in a bag when I travel.
On the downside, the self-standing aspect isn't that useful to me because I have limited counter space. I usually store my toothbrush in a little ceramic cup on one of those relic-of-the-past, built-in toothbrush holders that's been mounted to the wall of my apartment since the 1960s, but I need to store the Mable brush on the windowsill so it won't end up falling into the sink. The bamboo also feels a bit weird against your gums at first, but it loses some of its friction with continued use, so I'm adjusting to it now that I'm a couple weeks in.
Conscious consumerism is often about finding compromises you can live with and, as far as bamboo toothbrushes are concerned, Mable is a good option. They offer a subscription service that mails you a new brush every three months at a reduced rate ($8.00 instead of $10.00) and they're working on broadening their options to include new colors and a range of bristles (currently, they only offer Medium bristles).
If you've got more counter space than me and love good design, I think the Mable Toothbrush may suit you just fine.
Hannah at Life Style Justice reviewed the Mable brush last week. Check out her review here.