How we recycle our plant-based heads
The vast majority of toothbrushes are difficult, or even impossible to recycle owing to the composition of different plastics and other materials involved in their construction. While a number of brands have started to offer outlets for recycling their toothbrushes, the processes are often inconvenient or not widely publicised.
So when it comes to recycling our own brush heads, we wanted to make sure it was as simple as possible. We’ve taken full responsibility for the end-to-end process so we could really track our impact.
How does our recycling program work?
1. Return your used heads in our prepaid compostable mailer bags
Each brush comes with a prepaid compostable mailer bag so when you’ve accumulated three or four used heads, you simply seal them in the bag, and post them back to us. We’ll take care of the rest.
2. Our machines separate the bristles from the heads
One of the largest obstacles when it comes to recycling toothbrushes properly, is the cost and difficulty of separating the different materials that make up the brush. Once returned to our warehouse, our purpose-built machines automatically pluck the bristles from the heads, remove the copper clips that hold them in place, and isolate the different parts of the head.
“We chose to make our bristles from castor oil because it matches the familiar feel (and dentist-approved clean) of regular nylon bristles, but without leaving microplastics behind once broken down.” Dylan Fealtman, Head of Product
3. The materials are ground down and pressed into small pellets or spools
The heads and bristles are heated to high temperatures in order to sterilise them and allow them to be broken down and pressed into small pellets or thin spools. The small copper clips that hold the bristles in place are melted down and recycled separately.
“After trying bamboo toothbrushes we wanted our heads to be made from a material that felt much smoother in the mouth. Using cornstarch balances strength, longevity, and ergonomics, while allowing us to have a minimal impact on the planet.” Dylan Fealtman, Head of Product
4. The newly recycled materials are then used to create new SURI heads
The resulting pellets and spools can now be easily turned into new SURI heads. To maximise the efficiency of the recycling process and ensure we’re not wasting energy, we first need to reach a critical mass of used brush heads. We shipped our very first toothbrush in May 2022 and since then we’ve seen thousands of customers engage with our mail-back scheme. We’re looking forward to sharing footage of the process (and the resulting recycled heads) with you soon.
“Our brush handle is made from aluminium because it’s light, durable (so we can use less of it), and endlessly recyclable. It feels great in the hand.” Dylan Fealtman, Head of Product
When it comes to our handle, we’ve taken a repair-first approach and deliberately designed it so we could open it up to change the battery, carry out repairs, or reuse and recycle the components.
Completing the circle
We’re just at the start of our journey towards making our toothbrush a fully circular product. From a recycling perspective we believe cornstarch and castor oil are the very best materials to make our heads from.
“We intend to keep pushing the boundaries of material science, and innovate even better recycling methods as we go. One day even develop a brush head that you can easily compost at home.” Dylan Fealtman, Head of Product
We want to make the process even more convenient for you – collaborate with our high street partners to offer heads collection points, Stay with us on this journey.