As is the case with seemingly everything I do nowadays, my new year’s resolutions received mixed reviews and a couple of death threats, with The New York Times calling them “lazy, uninspired and self-regarding”, the Daily Mail calling them “a bunch of Commies that threaten the traditional family” and Heating and Ventilation News complaining they had “little or nothing to do with either heating or ventilation.”

But criticism doesn’t sting me; instead it inspires me to act, much as Kevin Costner’s movie reviews must do to him. Except they don’t inspire him to act so much as to read out loud and remember not to look at the camera, but you get my point. My point being he’s not a very good actor.

One of my resolutions was to buy a new toothbrush and, on the surface, it seems like a fairly easy thing to tick off my list. Maybe it is if all you do is think of an item you need, go into a shop and buy it and then bring it home and use it. But my life isn’t that simple, my social conscience being the size of six double-decker football pitches and my life being ruined by a sense of duty that borders on a personality disorder. I lie awake at night thinking about the harm my toothbrush is doing to the world, its oil-spawned plastic bringing us ever closer to drowning in the Gore Apocalypse. It cannot go on, and so I find myself in search of the world’s most ethical alternative toothbrush. My options are as varied as they are dull to read about.

The most sustainable choice is probably the wooden toothbrush with pig bristles. There’s no plastic there at all, just degradable and recyclable materials. Much as I like its Flintstonian qualities it does undo the vegetarianism somewhat; it’s fairly pointless choking down hemp, tofu and glossop if I’m flossing my teeth with a lemur’s hamstring. I think on the whole I’d rather use plastic than animal parts.

That brings us to the Preserve toothbrush made from recycled yogurt pots. Although its bristles are made from new plastic, the whole thing can be recycled after use which means there’s almost no waste. They’re made in America so getting them here and back must take a hefty chunk of carbon, but its manufacturer buys carbon credits as a get-out-of-Gore card. It’s not ideal but it’s a contender.

Then we have the Monte Bianco toothbrush with replaceable heads. It would mean I could use the handle for the rest of my life and buy just a few heads a year, reducing my toothbrush waste by about 80%. That’s quite impressive but they’re made from first use plastic and the heads aren’t recyclable, and sending anything to landfill these days feels about as good as punching a seal pup in the tits. This is a good idea not quite there yet.

Right. Enough deliberating. A decision is needed; I’ve been writing this entry for sixteen hours now. I’m going to go for the yogurt pots. None of the options are perfect and none will improve my sleep significantly or stop me flagellating myself with the Stick of Shame but it’s about the most forward-thinking toothbrush out there. If it gets itself a factory in the UK it’ll be damn near perfect.

Life: needlessly difficult.

Photo credit: Frank E Wolcott via Google Patents