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Executive Summary

Every year in the United States, 50 million pounds of plastic toothbrushes are sent to landfills. This project aims to change that by convincing the American public to switch to compostable bamboo toothbrushes. To do this, I created a pilot program for the University of Washington School of Dentistry faculty and students to receive informed feedback. Funded by the UW Campus Sustainability Fund and the Community Support Grant through the Community, Environment and Planning major, the project produced 150 complete “green” goodie bags with compostable floss, biodegradable toothpaste, and a compostable bamboo toothbrush packaged in a compostable bag with a survey. The survey’s purpose is to assess the user experience of UW Dentistry faculty and students. The initial results of the study show barriers to adapting to “green” dental products, specifically bamboo toothbrushes. This was particularly acute among respondents, who expressed hesitation towards the green dental products. This study demonstrates that attempts to make dental care more sustainable will face challenges, including technological, regulatory, economic, and cultural barriers to change.

Primary Contact:
Isabelle de Mozenette