Oral Care products and packaging vary greatly by material and can include different numbered plastics, along with aluminum, steel, and nylon.  Toothbrushes are one of the most complicated items for recycling, simply because they’re made up of three different components: nylon bristles, a metal staple that holds the bristles in place, and the plastic handle- making them non-recyclable through traditional mechanisms. In order to recycle a toothbrush, all three of these materials need to be separated before beginning the process.  Olson Orthodontics works with TerraCycle to solve this problem.  Through the Tom’s of Maine Brigade, toothbrush components  are separated. Metals are processed through standard recycling. The nylon and plastic components are shredded, cleaned, and pelletized for use in upcycling through the manufacturing of items ranging from picnic tables and benches to playground equipment and bike racks, among other things. Let’s all do our part this Earth Day and help Olson Orthodontics work for a better tomorrow with the recycling and upcycling of toothbrushes!

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