Did you know Queen Elizabeth-I owned six gold toothpicks? Many wealthy and famous people from the erstwhile era, flaunted silver and enamel toothpicks as a status and fashion symbol. Nobody knew then that wooden toothpicks would become a common household and commercial product one day! The credit goes to the American businessman Charles Forster, who had the brilliant idea of mass-producing toothpicks made from wood. The rest, as we say, is history.
Today, the tiny, needle-like toothpick has become an indispensable part of our daily lives. Right from removing that stubborn piece of food wedged between teeth to serving delicious appetizers, testing cakes for doneness, and doing art projects, we depend on a toothpick in many ways. Some people even use toothpicks to clean nails, computer keyboards, brushes, etc. Toothpicks have more day-to-day uses than you probably know!
Wait a minute. Are you sure your toothpicks are safe for you and our environment? If not, then read further.
Materials Used in Making Toothpicks
Most toothpicks available on the market are made from a hardwood tree called birch. This tree’s texture and flavorless trait are two main reasons why toothpick manufacturers use it. Some wooden toothpicks are also made from willow and other poplar trees, although rarely now. The main issue is that we cut down these trees to source wood. Hence, it works against tree and forest conservation efforts.
You must have also seen toothpicks with colourful umbrellas, beads, and other designs. Such toothpicks are made from plastic and metals such as steel, which gives them a fancy and attractive look for cocktail platters or theme parties. Even if the toothpick is made from wood, the decoration material may contain plastic or paper.
However, a medical toothpick is an exception here, as it is manufactured from medical-grade materials, which might not necessarily be wood. So, whenever you buy toothpicks for oral hygiene, ensure you get the right recommendation from a dentist.
Since toothpicks are a single-use product (as they are discarded after every use), they can harm our planet. Could you have thought a humble thing such as a toothpick could leave carbon footprints? If you are an eco-warrior, this will bleed your heart. Moreover, poor-quality toothpicks can also adversely impact your teeth and gum health.
Bamboo Toothpicks: A Sustainable Alternative
Nowadays, many environment-conscious people and businesses are switching to toothpicks made from bamboo. The general misconception is that bamboo is a plant or tree. In reality, bamboo belongs to the grass family. It is the tallest grass that can transform into a forest. They look like tall and slender canes with ringed stems.
Today, bamboo has wide applications in making furniture, handicrafts, industrial products, mats, musical instruments, and many other products, including toothpicks. Now you may question whether bamboo is a safe and environment-friendly raw material for making toothpicks. In response, we would say ‘yes’!
Reasons Why Bamboo Toothpicks are Better Than Wooden Toothpicks
Let's take a closer look at the benefits of using bamboo toothpicks and why they are better than the wooden toothpicks.
1. Made from Renewable Sources of Energy
Bamboo is a renewable energy source because it takes a short time to grow. It is one of the fastest-growing grasses in the world. Some species can grow up to one metre in just one day! Unlike other hardwood and softwood trees, which take at least 10-15 years to reach maturity, a bamboo harvest is ready within 3-5 years. Bamboo also doesn’t cause soil erosion as its root system remains intact. It can regenerate from the same roots.
Bamboo can be cultivated easily. It grows naturally in almost all states of India except in scorching and freezing climatic conditions. India is the world’s second-largest cultivator of bamboo after China!
Hence, the uses of wooden toothpick are such that you can use it without worrying about depleting our planet’s natural resources.
2. Zero Carbon Emission
A fully grown bamboo crop is capable of producing more than 300 kg of oxygen annually. This quantity is just sufficient for an individual for the entire year. It also absorbs 80 tonnes of carbon dioxide per acre every year. So, the carbon footprint of bamboo toothpicks is actually nil!
3. Better Tensile Strength
Usually, poorly made toothpicks break very easily and quickly. Their splinters can get stuck in your teeth, gums or skin. It can be challenging to remove them. However, bamboo is stronger and harder than other woods and even steel. Hence, the durability of bamboo toothpicks is high. They can withstand pressure better than their wooden counterparts.
4. Biodegradable, Recyclable and Compostable
Toothpicks made from bamboo are 100% biodegradable. They also decompose much faster than wooden toothpicks. So, you can throw them away without feeling any guilt. Bamboo also burns quicker than wood without releasing much heat or fumes.
You can even recycle the toothpicks to make aesthetic bamboo art pieces, clean hard-to-reach spots, plug tiny holes, etc. Another option is to toss it in a compost container at your home or community.
5. Safe for Your Teeth
Bamboo is cultivated organically without being exposed to fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemical treatments. Moreover, bamboo has natural anti-bacterial compounds. Bamboo shoots are edible and an integral part of the cuisine of many countries, including India. Bamboo is also known to have medicinal and nutritional properties.
Something safe to consume for your body should also be safe for your teeth, right? So undoubtedly, the best toothpicks for teeth are the ones made from bamboo.
Bamboo Products are Your Contribution to India’s Development
Bamboo has a lot of potential to boost our country’s socio-economic development. The bamboo industry is estimated to reach an Rs25-30,000 crore market size. Many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and rural communities depend on bamboo production and utilisation for their livelihood.
When you buy bamboo toothpicks, you are contributing to a great cause for our nation and its people!
Do you now understand why we are emphasizing switching to sustainable toothpicks? It might be a small lifestyle choice to initiate, but it can benefit our environment and the next generation immensely.
Beco is deeply committed to protecting Mother Earth by using just natural ingredients in its products. Beco’s toothpicks are organic and chemical-free, as they are made from 100% bamboo. These toothpicks are packed in eco-friendly and plastic-free paper packages. They are also safe for your children and furry buddies.
Shop for bamboo toothpicks from Beco now and enjoy one of the greatest gifts from nature!
1. How can I dispose of sustainable bamboo toothpicks in an environmentally responsible way?
You can burn the used bamboo toothpicks in a fire pit or wood fireplace. You can also put them in compost bins to let them decompose naturally.
2. How are sustainable bamboo toothpicks produced? What materials are used in the process?
Bamboo toothpicks are produced by splitting bamboo culms into thin splits. Then, these splits are further refined for polishing and sharpening. They contain only one material, which is bamboo. No other material is used for its manufacture.