AS ever, when getting rather mad (livid actually) about the poor signalling of drivers on roundabouts – why are they still signalling right when they actually go left off the roundabout? – I tried to think of something else, and it happened to be if I could recycle my used toothbrush. That is after it has been used for many other little cleaning tasks.

I vaguely remember that, in my childhood, my toothbrush handle was not made from plastic. I decided to look online for a history of the toothbrush; from "chew-sticks" in 3000BC, via bamboo and hog-bristle brushes in China in 619, to 1780 when a prisoner in jail in England invented a brush from bone and bristles all glued together, and became rich and famous; he was William Addis and his toothbrush was eventually sold as the Wisdom toothbrush. Wisdom now manufactures more than 70 million toothbrushes per year.

In the 1900s celluloid replaced bone as the handle material and nylon bristles appeared in 1938. But I was still concerned about disposing of my plastic toothbrush handles. I see there are bamboo-handled brushes available and they can be carefully composted. What one would do with the little “chewable” toothbrush I don’t know but they are supposedly handy when travelling. Interesting to note that the Islamic "Miswak", which looks like the early chewstick, is recommended for use to clean the teeth before prayer.

All this, and much more, doesn’t solve the problem of those drivers who cannot, or will not, signal left when leaving a roundabout. I suppose that I could just come home and do what is also recommended – “boil your toothbrush”.

Thelma Edwards,

Old Comrades Hall,