Oral care products such as used toothpaste tubes, worn out toothbrushes, empty flossing containers, and mouthwash bottles normally end up in the garbage after serving their purpose but now they are being collected for recycling purposes.
Dentistry contributes to a significant amount of waste product because of basic hygiene protocol. With every new patient, there is a new set of instruments and barricades to be laid out. The question that remains is that what if there was a way to recycle and hence utilize all that waste?
Terracycle is a company working actively for the recycling of oral health care waste products and are using them to create items including playground and garden equipment, picnic tables, benches, and even bike racks. The company pays collectors $2 per pound of product.
These products vary significantly in terms of packaging and materials used therefore they must be recycled separately. All the components are first separated and sorted. Once completed, metals are processed through normal recycling methods whereas, plastic and nylon are shredded and pelletized for further use. The idea is to create something useful out of something worthless.
Most of the income generated from the collected used items is used to provide free healthcare services for those who are unable to afford it. Many people are under the misconception that the revenue generated from these is inconsequential but that is not the case.
People have often expressed their concerns regarding the seemingly disgusting and possibly hazardous nature of these products owing to the history of their use. If your toothbrush is being used to clean the bathroom with the help of an antibacterial cleaner then rest assured, it is clean, sanitized, and safe.