Lion Corporation (President: Masazumi Kikukawa) has been carrying out a program to collect and recycle used toothbrushes since 2015. In the period from October 2020 through September 2021, Lion collected 167,220 toothbrushes. A report on the achievements of the program is provided below.
With use over time, toothbrush bristles lose their firmness and splay out, becoming around 20% to 40% less effective at removing grime. Because of this, to improve consumers’ oral health, Lion recommends that toothbrushes be replaced once a month. We are working to create mechanisms to recycle toothbrushes that have been replaced in the interest of oral hygiene, treating them as a valuable resource and thereby helping bolster human health and the health of the planet.
In 2015, we partnered with TerraCycle Japan* to launch the first program in Asia to collect used toothbrushes, melt them down and use the recycled plastic to make planters and other products. Anyone interested in participating in the program can register in advance to participate as an individual, school or other organization via the Toothbrush Collection Program website. Participants set up collection boxes in which they collect used toothbrushes. When 200 or more toothbrushes (approximately 2 kg) have been collected, they are picked up by the program operators, and the participants are awarded TerraCycle points based on the weight of the toothbrushes collected. These points can be exchanged for products made from recycled plastic, such as planters, or used to make a donation to an NPO or educational institution of the participant’s choice.
Steps of the Toothbrush Recycling Program
As of September 30, 2021, 908 locations had registered accounts with the program, representing medical facilities, schools, businesses and other organizations as well as individuals. From the program’s launch in May 2019 to September 2021, a cumulative 897,607 toothbrushes were collected.
In June 2019, the Lion Group established the LION Eco Challenge 2050 long-term environmental objectives. Based on these objectives, Lion is working to realize a decarbonized, resource-circulating society (including the goals of realizing advanced plastics recycling and optimizing water usage for sustainability). Going forward, we will continue to contribute to a healthy future for people and the planet alongside consumers.
* TerraCycle Japan
TerraCycle was founded in 2001 in the United States. Based on a mission to “eliminate the idea of waste,” TerraCycle now operates recycling programs in 21 countries. These programs collect used products at no expense to participants, operating systems in which participants receive points based on the amount of materials collected that they can exchange for recycled products or use to make a donation to an organization.
◆Lion’s toothbrush recycling activities (Japanese)
◆Toothbrush Recycling Program webpage on TerraCycle Japan’s website (Japanese):