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Replaceable-Head Toothbrush

By Jenn (TinyChoices.com) | August 7, 2007

It was time to purchase a new toothbrush. Before hitting the Overwhelming Carnival of Toothbrushs (i.e, the average U.S. pharmacy), I paused and reflected on all the toothbrushes I’ve known over the years. I envision most of them laying together in a garbage dump (one so big it’s visible from space), waiting to begin breaking down into smaller particles, which should take a good 1,000 years or so. But that’s ok, ’cause everyone knows that toothbrushes are very patient implements.

There are better enviro-options out there, and I wanted to use one. So the next time I visited my food Coop I surveyed the options and bought a Fuchs Ekotec replaceable-head toothbrush. At around $6 it was pricier than an average toothbrush, but considering that fancy disposable options now run around $3-4 a pop, and that the Fuchs Ekotec brush comes with a total of three heads equaling three toothbrushes, the price becomes moot. General opinion thus far: I like it just fine. I’m glad that the disposable part (the head) is small, and it’s neat to think that I could conceivably use this very same handle for the rest of my life.

Here are some other eco-options:

Preserve toothbrush: Made from 100% recycled polypropylene (mainly sourced from Stonyfield Farms yogurt cups), everything produced by this company is a winner. Use their postage-paid envelope to send the toothbrush when you’re finished with it, and they’ll recycle it into plastic lumber. I’ve bought their tableware, also made from 100% recycled/recyclable plastic, and keep it around to use at casual gatherings year after year. The company also make razors and drinking cups.

Eco-Dent replaceable head toothbrushes. Not much to say about them besides the replaceable-head part.

Radius toothbrush: The handle is made from “Wood Fiber blended with PLA, a plastic derived entirely from Nebraska maize. The resulting material is 100% renewal resource.” The disposable head is presumably made from regular ol’ plastic. I’ve always wondered what the draw of these jumbo toothbrushes is… anyone have personal experience with them?

Topics: Home, Waste | 20 Comments »

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Comment by Karina
2007-08-07 06:14:39

I use Preserve toothbrushes and I love them! I have a “thing” where I like to have a brand new toothbrush every once in a while – so Preserve allows me to have that AND feel good about reducing disposables.

And, Will Ferrell uses a Preserve toothbrush in the movie Stranger than Fiction!

Comment by Jenn
2007-08-07 08:07:39

So do you send your Preserve toothbrush back to them using the prepaid mailer (made of plastic, is it recycled/recyclable?) or a label that you print from their site?

I think it will be good once those Stoneyfield farms cups are made from a regionally-appropriate, organic, whole-grain cracker-like material that one can eat after they’re done with their yougurt. Until then, Preserve is pretty cool for diverting that plastic from the waste stream…

Comment by Karina
2007-08-07 09:23:45

I grabbed a couple of the plastic mailers from the store the last time I bought toothbrushes – it might be tyvek, in which case it’s recyclable, but I’m not sure what they do with them upon receipt. maybe we should try and find out? Field trip!

I wonder what flavor of cracker-cup would be most tasty with yogurt?

Comment by Stacey
2007-08-07 10:26:30

Graham, of course.

Comment by Stacey
2007-08-07 09:56:52

Sad news (well, not really sad, but somewhat disappointing) – you won’t be able to use the same Fuchs handle forever because they’ve discontinued that toothbrush. We’ve been using those toothbrushes for years and love them. My future former husband does quite the number on toothbrushes and needed to replace them all the time, so the replaceable heads are great. Affordable, easy pop-in, pop-out, etc. I just recently found they were discontinued and I bought up enough soft replaceable heads to last me at least a year or two, but I’m always on the lookout for more (hint: great cheap gift for Stacey idea!).
Also, if you have an extra handle or two, there’s always toothbrush available for an unexpected (or forgetful) overnight guest.

Comment by Jenn
2007-08-07 11:33:38

That is sad/disappointing. And Fuchs doesn’t even collect the handles for recycling, so it’ll be off to the landfill for yet another toothbrush… I’ll start collecting replaceable heads now too.

Comment by Stacey
2007-08-07 11:55:25

I’m thinking of ordering oodles online! Ooodles!

Comment by Stacey
2007-08-07 10:47:19

HEY – It’s a landfill, not a dump

Comment by Karina
2007-08-07 11:47:12

says the girl from staten island!

Comment by Sangu
2007-08-07 11:27:41

Funny! I just watched Stranger than Fiction the other day. I didn’t notice his toothbrush brand, but have been thinking about Will Ferrell every time I brush (which at the moment happens to be a Preserve brush). I’ve used the Fuchs before and I like both the kids Radius and Preserve as travel toothbrushes.

Comment by Crafty Green Poet
2007-08-08 08:35:39

I’ve used toothbrushes with re-usable heads for years. They’re great. So far the company whose products I use have never changed the design, I wonder how old my toothbrush handle is?

Comment by shandy
2007-08-08 14:13:58

I love the Radius toothbrush–so much gum coverage, but for some reason I got out of the habit of using them (I felt the Original was too much plastic, so I can’t wait to check out the Source). But, is the Source recyclable?
I had a brief fling with Fuchs, but found found the brush head too small, and sometimes they stick and are a bitch to change.
Evev if they are not recyclable, it is still great that you can get recycled burshes. I just picked up a recycled razor by Preserve, since it’s time to replace my 20 year old razor. I guess I’ll be mailing this one in sometime in the future.

Comment by dorkas
2007-08-09 03:38:35

hello ladies, just discovered your blog and love it. (i’ve pimped you over on mine.) definitely going to check out these toothbrushes.

i’ve got a suggestion/request for y’all: i’ve long been wanting to switch over to some method of, ah, feminine product that isn’t so horribly wasteful. i know there are reusable options out there, and if you guys have any experience with them, i’d love reviews in the style of what you’ve done with toothbrushes here.

keep up the great work!

Comment by Jenn
2007-08-09 06:29:22

Hey Dorkas, welcome and thanks for the shout-out! Your question is a great one, and we (and a good number of our friends) have experience with the alternative menstrual products world… if you would be so kind as to add your question to our Q&A list, we’ll get to it asap!

Comment by Aurora
2007-08-13 18:30:21

I’m just wondering what the source for this Fuchs Ekotec discontinuance rumor is? There still seem to be lots of brushes and heads online. If they really are being discontinued, I’d like to know who I’m believing before I go buy my co-op out of heads for my favorite toothbrush ever.

Here’s a related question: Who has actually gone as far as to refuse to take the free toothbrush from the dentist? I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet, but I keep those as extras for people who forget theirs when they visit.

Comment by stacey
2007-08-13 22:43:01

I couldn’t find them at my favorite natural market in Princeton and then I looked somewhere else and didn’t see any. And at the third market, I was told they were discontinued. If they’re not discontinued, the co-op will just reorder.

My dentist doesn’t give me a toothbrush – but that is a good idea.

2008-01-01 06:04:01

[...] either a replaceable head or recycled/recyclable plastic toothbrush (click for video of Preserve toothbrushes on the Sundance [...]

2008-08-04 06:01:51

[...] webpage doesn’t say much about it either. And they are so slightly gimmicky, too. While I LOVE my recycline toothbrush (and that’s love spelled with a heart-shaped-letter-”o”), I’m not sure how [...]

Comment by Andy
2009-06-07 10:08:47

I found another new product which its head is replaceable also and is T-shape ! The brand called “Denson”. The T-shape head can clean our teeth more effective. The handle is wholelife warranty and it is cheap. Check it our at http://www.edensonworldwide.com/andyng

Comment by Morgan
2009-09-02 18:35:58

I noticed you’re all looking for the same thing: an eco-friendly toothbrush that actually works. I’ve been using the Radius Intelligent Toothbrush for a marketing course at the University of Kansas and I love it. Not only are the heads replaceable, but you can send in the handle portion for recycling of the body and batteries and you’ll get a $1 off coupon for your next handle. The price is a little steep (around $8) but includes an extra replacement head and as with most things, you can buy in bulk and save. Plus, right now they’re having a summer sale with 25% off.


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