The Real Cost of Being Clean

By Lewis Braham - 2013-07-16T19:53:16Z

Photograph by Daniel Allan/Getty Images

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Tooth Care

Archaeological digs have turned up early toothbrushes made of bird feathers and porcupine quills. Today, Americans spend about $1.5 billion on toothbrushes, $3 billion on toothpaste and $1.9 billion on mouthwash annually. Some 50 million pounds of toothbrushes end up in landfills each year; Americans use three a year on average. Preserve, a Boston-based eco-friendly products company, will take your old toothbrush, give it to a company that turns it into plastic lumber for use in picnic tables, park benches and boardwalks, and send you a new one. The recycled Preserve toothbrush subscription service is $15 a year. 'Course, if you use an electric toothbrush, this isn't an option.