Monte Bianco: Resource-efficient toothbrushes

Previously mentioned in our Top 5 Picks for Personal Care back in 2004, we figured it was about time Monte Bianco toothbrushes got their own post. We are pretty sure that the standard toothbrush does not rate as one of the most polluting or resource intensive items in most households. However, (almost) everyone has one, and (almost) everyone replaces it every few months. It is neat then, when an everyday product like this is redesigned to drastically reduce waste. The Monte Bianco basically consists of a reusable handle, and a replaceable head, thereby ensuring that the plastic (and therefore oil) used in manufacture is kept to a minimum. Replacement heads are even available that use natural fibres, instead of plastic, for the bristles, reducing oil use even further. The heads come in packs of three, and each package is in itself much smaller than your average toothbrush packet, so energy used in packaging and transportation is also significantly less.
We have been unable to find a website for the manufacturers, but toothbrushes, and replacement heads, are available from Mariposa Alternative Bodycare in the UK, Eco Essentials in Australia, Internatural Alternative Health in the US, and Natractiv in Germany. Of course we’d be interested to know whether a German-made Monte Bianco used in Australia uses less energy than an Australian made standard toothbrush, so if anyone feels like doing the calculations, please let us know…