A pair of designers are taking on the humble toothbrush, but rather than trying to add yet another tweak to its shape or function, they're looking at a way to make it more sustainable with bio-based materials.
"People use around 400 toothbrushes during their lifetime, which produces the corresponding amount of waste," the development team behind the Tio toothbrush said in a news release. "Couldn't this be done more sustainably?"
Designers Benjamin Beck and Fabian Ghoshal said that bristles made from animal hair for so-called "eco brushes" can split with use, creating a place where bacteria can hide and grow. So instead, they turned to bio-based Vestamid nylon from Evonik to improve sustainability while also providing a good, safe product.
The pair also joined forces with Volker Dreher, an experienced mold maker who knew how to make their ideas into a manufacturable product.
"Suddenly we had contacts with material and toothbrush manufacturers," Beck said in a news release from Evonik.
In addition to using plastics sourced from castor oil, the Tio brush has a replaceable head, so the same handle can be used multiple times, reducing waste.
And in one other sustainability move, the toothbrush uses thermoformed packaging only for the smaller head — because the handle does not need to meet the same cleanliness standards — another move that cuts down on the amount of plastics used.