An Irish couple have designed a biodegradable toothbrush in an effort to curb the 3.5 billion made from plastic that are sold annually.
Niamh McGill and Joe Finnegan from Ashbourne, Co Meath designed the Bambooth brush in a bid to help eco-conscious people cut down on their plastic use.
Ms McGill, who works as a vet, has done voluntary conservation work around the globe and together with partner Joe, she is trying to make a positive change with her product.
The 34-year-old, who is studying a masters in conservation, said that the idea for the product came about after seeing similar designs while in China in 2017 and realising there was a hole in the market in Ireland.
“I really started to notice how much we were recycling in the house and there’s only two of us and we don’t eat in all the time,” Ms McGill said.
“So basically, one day when I was brushing my teeth, it kind of dawned on me, ‘why would you not use a biodegradable handle if everything else was the same?
“Joe was doing woodwork at the time as a hobby. So, when he came home one evening he carved a bamboo handle out of a piece of wood.”
Each plastic toothbrush takes a minimum of 450 years to biodegrade with the vast majority ending up in our oceans and landfill.
The Bambooth is made from Panda-friendly Moso bamboo which is a renewable natural material and is 100pc biodegradable, unlike plastic. The brushes’ nylon bristles are also BPA-free.
“It’s really obvious that people should be using these,” Ms McGill continued.
“Our tagline is ‘change the handle, change the world’, and I think the bottom line is that everybody wants to make a change and is willing to do so if they’re not giving up on anything.
“Dental hygiene is really important to people but if you can be assured that your toothbrush is doing the same thing but all you’re changing is the handle you’re going to hold but that it’s going to be gone in six months rather than hanging around for 500 years, I think that’s a case for making a change.”
Ms McGill and Mr Finnegan are currently living in London but plan on moving home next year to continue their efforts with environment-friendly products.
For every Bambooth sold, a small donation is made to four conservation efforts linked to habitat protection. In the coming years Ms McGill and Mr Finnegan hope to work more closely with these groups.
The toothbrushes come in four colours, each representing one of the groups the Bambooth is associated with.
Forest Green is linked with the Jane Goodall Institute, Sea Blue is linked with Plastic Oceans UK, Coral Pink is associated with the Coral Reef Alliance and their Aqua Marine brush represents a link with The Marine Conservation Society.
“It’s 10c per brush goes to those organisations with a minimum donation,” Ms McGill said.
“I picked the groups because they’re all ones I really like. I’ve done a lot of research; I haven’t had a chance to work with them yet but my plan with my masters is to work with some of these organisations next year.
“I’ve done conservation work as a vet, so it’s all animal related, in Africa, Thailand, Borneo and places like that.”
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