For those of you who are not aware, inspired by blog [https://myplasticfreelife.com] (LINK NOW FIXED), I am currently on a personal mission to de-plastic my life. I have already stopped using several plastic items completely and intend to cut out several more very soon, in addition to the things I never used to begin with. My motto for the moment is just to focus on the things I can do, not the things I can’t do…if I can reduce 80%, it’s still better than 0% reduction. We’re blessed to have a local almsround that doesn’t typically feature much plastic, but down the road in our local centre of Cabramatta it’s a different story & I can’t cut out Cabramatta 100% just yet!
Even today, I saw a bird trying to eat some plastic.
Image from The rise of the ibis: How the 'bin chicken' became a totem for modern Australia - ABC News. Plastic is a part of modern bird diets.
BUT today I have good news: the latest item I have cut out completely is plastic toothbrushes. The environmentally friendly ones which are sold locally are unfortunately not 100% plastic free as they have nylon in the bristles. Also they cost actual money.
Many/most of you would know that the benefits of using a toothbrush (dantaka.t.tha) are praised in the AN, but obviously this is a natural, environmentally-friendly chew stick.
So I had been wondering whether chew-sticks, which are typically made of neem etc, and used in rural India and in the vinaya historically, may be a 100% plastic free option.
I had also wondered if one of our many super-environmentally conscious friends might just be able to buy some miswak (another term for chew sticks in the Muslim/Arab world), but then I noticed that even miswak comes wrapped in plastic! Oh no!
I had been at a loss, because even if I had a neem plant, I wouldn’t be able to cut it as a bhikkhuni. But then…I found out you can also use olive or palm! Success!
So I took a little break from SC work today to make my own 100% FREE dantaka.t.tha/chew-stick/natural toothbrush from a fallen palm frond I found on almsround. (Very fun and easy to do on a 15 minute break from Sanskrit stuff).
- Take centre of fallen palm frond, peel bark, and cut into toothbrush sizes with sharp knife.
- Chew end until bristles appear (can be optionally pre-soaked for a day to soften…but I am not patient enough for that)
- use bristles like ordinary brush (I am still using conventional toothpaste with it).
- store in breezy location, not in jar as it may grow mold if not 100% dry
- keep trimming down as needed
Pics of my new home-made toothbrush:
There is basically no difference between using the palm fibre brush and any other brush (I actually prefer the soft palm fibre). It requires less than 10 minutes prep and can last a few weeks when you cut it down. and it’s free & hygienic because you can cut a fresh edge. I’m not going back!