Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Climate change, such as long-term changes in temperature and weather patterns, is a sign of the ‘doomsday’. This change is actually natural. However, various human activities since the 1800s have increasingly triggered global change, such as burning fossil fuels, the effects of greenhouse gases, and even the use of toothbrushes.
In the 1900s, humans began to create toothbrushes, mouthwash and dental floss to keep their teeth clean. However, toothbrushes actually encourage climate change, at least since modern toothbrushes were invented.
If you look at history, toothbrushes were made from natural materials, such as bamboo or tree bark. As time went by, the basic materials for toothbrushes began to vary, such as using animal bones as handles and animal skin as brushes.
However, toothbrushes began to contain materials that were not environmentally friendly since the 1900s, namely handles made of plastic and bristles made of nylon. According to Greenbiz, these two materials are non-renewable and are very difficult to decompose in a short time, making them dangerous for humans.
According to National Geographic, this problem makes toothbrushes part of the environmental crisis. Why?
For your information, toothbrushes are items that don’t last long. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), toothbrushes should ideally be replaced every three to four months. Thus, a person has to throw away their toothbrush and replace it three to four times every year.
As a calculation, if the total population of Indonesia is 273 million and it is assumed that they regularly replace toothbrushes, there will be at least more than one billion toothbrush waste in one year. For the record, this number still exceeds the figure for all people in the world.
If calculated based on the number of people in the world, namely eight billion people, there is at least around 24 billion toothbrush waste in one year.
Then, assuming that replacement occurs regularly, each person will use around 280 to 300 toothbrushes until they are 75 years old. This number has not been multiplied by the number of humans on earth.
Based on a National Geographic report, the amount of toothbrush waste in the United States (US), with a population of 331 million people, is equivalent to four turns of the earth in a year.
According to Haeckels, a company that produces environmentally friendly goods in the UK, there are around 264 million toothbrushes that are thrown away because they have passed their useful life. This calculation does not include electric toothbrush models that contain batteries that are not environmentally friendly.
Similar to plastic, toothbrushes can only decompose after 200-700 years. During that time, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that plastic would emit greenhouse gases. If it is in the sea, plastic can kill zooplankton which has a role in absorbing carbon.
“It’s very difficult to find plastic-free brush options. Biodegradable plastics are not necessarily better for the planet than more traditional plastics,” wrote journalist Alejandra Borunda in National Geographic.
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