There is a BIG difference between a product being Degradable, Biodegradable, Compostable, Sustainable or Recycable.
ALL products are Degradable! With enough time everything degrades. A regular plastic toothbrush can take several centuries to completely degrade in nature and your average tomato takes around 3 months.
Biodegradable plastic products often require an a specially developed Industrial Compost with temperatures well above 60 Celcius only available at certain Recycling Plants to degrade the plastic fast.
If you don't have an Industrial Compost to deliver your Biodegradable plastic to it basically makes it normal plastic since the time to degrade is more or less the same as regular plastic.
Compostable plastic DOES NOT EXIST. Period. And today there is no such thing as a compostable toothbrush. Even if the handle is made from bamboo and the bristles are pigs hair the bristles are anchored down by a metal anchor. That metal anchor is pretty small but still not compostable..
The only toothbrushes that are truly compostable are old toothbrushes made from bone and animal hair where they used pieces of bone to anchor the bristles.
Sustainable plastic or material derives from a renewable source and are often NOT recyclable BUT biodegradable. Normal plastic is made from Crude Oil... which is a fossil fuel and does not regenerate. A sustainable plastic is made from Corn, Bean, Sugar Cane, Vegetable Oil etc. A sustainable plastic is often called Bioplastic.
Another sustainable material is bamboo, which regenerates fast and is strong with tight fibers. Bamboo is both anti-bacterial, sustainable and compostable and makes it the best available material to use as toothbrush handles.
Check out Tandkvist's T20 bamboo toothbrush if you are looking for the best bamboo toothbrush.
Recyclable plastic is plastic that can be reused time and time again. Grinded down into plastic pulp and then melted down and injected into another mold. For a plastic to be recyclable it cannot be contaminated with other materials or plastics. For instance, a toothbrush with plastic and rubber is not recyclable because the rubber and plastic cannot the separated. But a regular plastic toothbrush made from PP plastic can be recycled if the bristle head with the anchors are cut off.
Bioplastic are often NOT recyclable.
To determine the "greenness" of a product, one must also keep in mind the production process and machines involved. A product made by hand is much "greener" than one that is machine-made, since the machine requires energy to function. Energy that is often created by other materials in different machines and are included in a different production process.
If you are looking for a "green" toothbrush of superior quality; Tandkvist offers the best bamboo toothbrush on the market today: