Think about your toothbrush for a second.
Yes, i'm serious.
It's made of plastic, most likely, and comes packaged in plastic and you will probably use it for a month or whatever until it gets all gnarled up and then throw it in the trash because what else are you supposed to do with it, right?
My friend Ro Kumar has the solution to eliminating plastic toothbrushes that will stick around much, much longer than you will, and I must say, it's pretty awesome.
Ro is founder of Brush with Bamboo, a brand that sells gorgeous, biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes that will rid you of your toxic toothbrush troubles once and for all. I have used them for years now and they are my fave!
PS - Guess what, if you want to grab a toothbrush from Brush with Bamboo, enter code 'TrashIsforTossers' for a 10% discount and free US shipping!
Okay, back to Ro. Ro is really cool. Not only is he an expert on plastic pollution, he is a grad of both Berkeley and Stanford and has been featured in the Huffington Post, at the Plastics 360 Conference, and the Zero Waste Youth Summit! Also - his parent's house in Cali produces 5000 lbs of Organic produce every year. If that was not enough, he is helping to produce a doc called Generation Food, with filmmaker Steve James and best-selling author Raj Patel. I know. I wanted to be friends with him too.
So I decided to ask Ro a few questions to learn a bit more about him:
What is Brush With Bamboo and how was it created?
It all started almost 3 years ago. I watched a documentary movie called Plastic Planet with some friends and family. The film opened my eyes to how plastic is destroying the environment and human health. That night, I remember looking at my plastic toothbrush and it just didn't make sense to me anymore. Originally, I just wanted to find an eco-friendly toothbrush for myself. But when I couldn't find a good one on the market, I decided to create my own - and that was the birth of Brush with Bamboo.
Today, Brush with Bamboo manufactures what is currently the most environmentally-conscious toothbrush on the market (aside from using a neem stick or miswak stick, this is the best available bristled toothbrush!). We use a bamboo handle, a commercially compostable wrapper, a box made from paper that folds together using no glues, and nylon bristles.
Why is bamboo more sustainable than plastic?
Simply put, plastic never biodegrades because it is not part of nature's food chain. There is a common misconception that plastic takes a really long time to biodegrade, but the reality is that as far as we can project, plastic never goes away because there is no other corresponding thing in nature that can break plastic down.
Bamboo, on the other hand, is one of the most versatile and sustainable materials on earth. Bamboo can grow up to 4 inches per day with minimal water, it is naturally vigorous and does not need pesticides or fertilizers to grow, and it has the tensile strength of steel. It's truly a gift from nature, and as we begin to replace plastic with other materials, I think we're going to see bamboo becoming an essential part of the new green economy.
What does the future of BWB look like?
I am extremely passionate about bringing our production as close as possible to true long-term sustainability. It's my promise that as we grow, we will change our model to become more truly ecological. I think this is why we have received public endorsements from many leading environmentalists like Ed Begley Jr., 5 Gyres, and Beth Terry.
We're working on plant-based alternatives to the plastic nylon bristles that we currently use. Currently, the only alternative to nylon bristles is pig hair. Most of all though, our main work is to expand awareness about plastic pollution. The more people become aware, the more our business will grow. This is why we put our full weight behind change makers like filmmaker Angela Sun, who just came out with a new major documentary movie called Plastic Paradise that will be hitting theaters soon.
If you could make a suggestion to someone about something they could do to create a more sustainable world, what would you tell them?
I would say: start by eliminating single use plastics. We mostly see these in the form of bags, bottles, cups, and utensils. I really feel like plastic is the biggest symbol of everything that is wrong. Start by refusing single use plastic. It's hard, and even I slip sometimes, but after a while anything done consistently becomes a stronger and stronger habit.
Do you have any sustainability tips/secrets?
Visualization. I try to visualize things like plastic forks, batteries, or plastic toothbrushes being picked up by some kid 2000 years in the future. I think about how in the future they will wonder why we were so complacent, and why we tolerated living in filth. I don't want to be someone that just stood around and watched it happen. I want to be one of those people that stood up for something better.
When i'm done with these biodegradable toothbrushes, I remove the bristles and use them as garden markets or coffee stirrers for my french press, but the possibilities for reuse are endless!
Again, if ya want to order some toothbrushes, head over to Brush with Bamboo, enter code 'TrashIsforTossers' and you'll get a 10% discount and free US shipping! Sweet, doood.
ANNNDDDD to make life even more Zero Waste and plastic-free - here is my Zero Waste Toothpaste recipe that you can use with your new Brush With Bamboo toothbrush!Zero Waste Toothpaste Recipe:
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
25-30 drops Organic food grade peppermint essential oil (or cinnamon oil, it's delicious, but try 10 drops and then add more as desired)
Mix all three ingredients in a glass dish (I use a mason jar).
To use, scoop out a little bit with a spoon and put it onto your toothbrush. Add more or less peppermint or coconut oil depending on your textural preference.
I suggest using it for a few days. Give yourself some time to adjust, I had to. It's pretty different, but that's OK.