The proverbial straw, for me, was the disposable toothbrush. Of course, most toothbrushes are disposable (except for these), but I’m talking about the single-use variety. Apparently these have been around for a while, but (because I spend so much time avoiding popular culture) they’ve only just caught my attention. Could there be anything more absurd? Can they possibly do a better job on-the-go as a stick of chewing gum?
Presumably, we’re just too busy to plan ahead for our one-night stands… or whatever other occasion you might want to brush your teeth when not in your own bathroom. Likewise, too busy to put a tablet of Berocca into a glass of water.
Isn’t it about time that there was some kind of regulation governing this type of ridiculous product? Clearly, people can’t be relied upon to make intelligent, sustainable choices about these things. Tissues, paper towels, single-use plastic containers, bottled water… all these things are not only going into landfill, but also cost energy to manufacture.
I’m well aware that as a parent using disposable nappies (aka diapers) it’s hypocritical to say this, but at least nappies are used for a finite period of life. And I am actually giving cloth nappies a go. I’m probably better placed to do this than most women, as my husband does all our laundry: for too many families, cloth nappies are just another burden on women. So I’m all for seeing our disposable lives as a community problem that needs to be solved collectively.
That’s why I think we should deal with the most inane of these products first and work our way up to the ones that are actually useful — it might be worthwhile to create recyclable or biodegradable versions of these. (There are already several brands of biodegradable nappies). Half a brain and half a conscience should be enough to deal with this kind of rubbish.