Environmentalists are calling on people to take part in Plastic Free July to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
Environmentalists are calling on people to take part in Plastic Free July to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Contributed

The plastic polluter in your bathroom

THINK plastic bags are bad for the ocean? There's an equally bad offender in your bathroom.

Australia throws away an estimated 30 million toothbrushes every year and the 1000 tonnes of rubbish generated by those brushes are a big target during this year's Plastic Free July campaign.

The movement started in Western Australia in 2011 and calls on people across the world to reduce the amount of single-use plastic they use for the month.

Environmentalists such as Tracey Bailey are hoping the ban on single-use plastic bags in states such as Queensland will get people looking at other major polluters in their house - stretching from toothbrushes to water bottles.

The founder of Queensland chain Biome Eco Stores said the bag ban has built momentum against single-use plastic.

Her stores are increasingly seeing people across the country take up plastic-free alternatives. About 25 per cent of its online customers in the past year have come from regional areas.

"People are becoming concerned by the impacts plastics are having," Ms Bailey said.

"It's all becoming very graphic for people."

The store is part of the movement hoping households will ditch the traditional hard plastic toothbrush and other plastics such as disposable razors. 

Ms Bailey said she only realised a few years ago that they can't go in the recycling, unlike hard plastics like bottles.

She is urging people to use bamboo toothbrushes instead. 

"The handle can be put into compost, or buried in your garden," she said.

The bristles are still made of nylon, and still go into landfill.

"You just snap off the head," Ms Bailey said.

Depending on your location, you can also recycle your toothbrushes, toothpaste containers and floss packaging through Terracycle's Oral Care Bridage program.

Plastic pollution reaches remote island: Researcher discovers 17 tonnes of plastic waste on remote Henderson island, part of the Pitcairn group.

Plastic Free July comes just as most of the country adjusts to the plastic bag ban, and Ms Bailey said the bags were the easiest thing to give up for the month.

They are part of Plastic Free July's 'Top 4 Challenge' which calls for people to give up plastic water bottles, bags, straws and coffee cups.

"We are so excited about the plastic bag ban," Ms Bailey said.

"It's really ignited people's awareness of how much disposable plastic we use.

"People are realising how great it feels to be part of the solution."

Head here to find out more about Plastic Free July.