New formula: Used toothpaste tubes + innovation = kid’s playground

Dr Sushma Patel is pictured with the used dental products recycling box at Putney Dental Surgery. TWT On-the-Spot PHOTO

USED toothpaste tubes will be used to make school playgrounds under a new recycling partnership project between Putney Dental Surgery, Colgate and TerraCycle.

The project will see Putney Dental Surgery collect the used toothpaste tubes and other used bathroom dental products, which will then be recycled by TerraCycle.

Dr Sushma Patel from Putney Dental Surgery said the recycled items will be used by TerraCycle to create new playground surfaces and other school amenities.

“TerraCycle recycles or upcycles the vast majority of the waste collected into plastic pellets which can be moulded into a variety of new products, like pens, pencil cases, picture frames, garden and school benches, picnic tables, and even school playgrounds,” Dr Patel said.

“Putney Dental Surgery is now a collection point for your oral care waste and we encourage all readers of The Weekly Times to drop off any brand of waste oral care products: toothbrushes (not electric toothbrushes), plastic packaging, empty toothpaste tubes, floss containers and mouthwash bottles, for recycling.

“Our collection box is in the foyer of the dental practice and can be accessed during our working hours.

“Every time someone brings in used toothbrushes or other oral care items, Putney Dental Surgery will offer a complimentary toothbrush and make a donation of 2 cents per item to the Cancer Council of Australia.”

It is estimated that 30 million toothbrushes and 70 million toothpaste tubes are used in Australia each year, equating to about 350 tonnes of landfill waste annually.

The team at TerraCycle are aware of the dangers of incinerating these products and have introduced the plastic pellet initiative as an environmentally friendly alternative.

“The standard toothbrush is made of a hard plastic handle and a set of soft nylon bristles and most come in plastic packages,” the company said in a statement.

“These petroleum products do not biodegrade and release toxic chemicals if incinerated.

“Possibly every toothbrush ever made, still exists somewhere on our planet, in some form.”

Dr Patel recommends that readers “brush at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush” and replace it every three to four months.