Used toothbrushes see new life in recycling challenge - Education Matters Magazine

Used toothbrushes see new life in recycling challenge

Australian students are recycling used toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss containers through a nationwide competition diverting thousands of oral care items from landfill.

As part of the Colgate Community Garden Challenge, over 1000 schools from across Australia are competing to win one of five recycled community garden sets and monthly prize draws of 60 upcycled pencil cases.

Run by Colgate, Chemist Warehouse and global recycling business TerraCycle, the competition invites is open to all pre, primary, intermediate, special and secondary schools in Australia; which invites students to collect and ship all their oral care waste to TerraCycle so it can be turned into new products.

Five schools will win a community garden set – three schools who collect the most waste and earn the most votes online and the other two winning schools will be drawn from a prize draw.

There will also be seven monthly prize draws awarding the monthly winner with 60 upcycled pencil cases (valued at $340.80). Schools that sign up late still have a chance to win as long as they send in at least one shipment between now and September.

Each recycled community garden set includes three garden beds, two custom-made benches, three customised garden plaques made from recycled oral care waste, plus a $500 Bunnings Warehouse voucher that can be used to buy seeds and plants.

In addition to demonstrating how recycled materials can be used as a sustainable alternative to virgin plastic, Colgate, Chemist Warehouse and TerraCycle hope the community garden sets will promote gardening and healthy eating among schools.

So far in the competition, 30,000 votes have been cast online and more than 40,000 pieces of oral care waste have been shipped to TerraCycle. This waste will be sorted, shred, washed and melted down into plastic pellets to be used in the manufacture of new products such as garden beds, park benches and playgrounds.

“So far in the competition, Colgate has been very encouraged to see the students’ recycling efforts and enthusiasm to promote sustainability within their community. We would like to thank all the participants and wish them the very best of luck,” said Colgate Vice President and General Manager of South Pacific, Julie Dillon.

“At TerraCycle, we love promoting ways to keep ‘non-recyclable’ items out of landfill,” added Jean Bailliard, General Manager of TerraCycle Australia and New Zealand. “By giving Australian kids the chance to take the lead in recycling on behalf of their school and community, we’re getting them to think outside the box and, at the same time, encouraging sustainability for the future.”

The results achieved from last years’ Colgate Community Garden Challenge saw  approximately 200,000 pieces of oral care waste diverted from landfill, collected from 813 schools that took part in the program.

Schools can register for the competition by clicking here.