After reading my blog, and especially the review of several different eco-friendly toothbrushes, Rohit Kumar and his friend Rohit Sahdev were inspired to create the perfect plastic-free toothbrush. While they haven’t yet found a way to create a brush that is completely plastic-free, they’re getting close. Their company is called Brush With Bamboo, and I’ve really been enjoying using the various toothbrush incarnations they’ve developed over the past year and observing the Rohits’ efforts to create a brush whose materials and packaging are more and more sustainable. I gave Ro K. lots of feedback and suggestions, and he listened and took action. THAT is the kind of person/company I want to support!
I love the curved handle on the brush as well as the length. The one in the picture on the right is the earliest version. It’s more curved. But to achieve that effect, it had to be made out of several pieces of bamboo bonded together. Rohit Kumar says that he couldn’t get a guarantee that the adhesive was plastic-free and non-toxic, so in the second version, he opted for a brush that is slightly less curved and a bit thinner but made from one solid piece of bamboo. But compared to the handle of the Environmental Toothbrush that I reviewed in my previous post, it’s much more comfortable to hold and is longer as well.
When considering other bamboo toothbrushes or other bamboo products for that matter, consider the shape and size. If they are solid and round or thick, they are probably several pieces held together with some kind of glue. Just something to keep in mind as other toothbrushes come on the market.
The bristles, too, are curved, which is really nice compared to that other brush. The bristles, however, are not plastic-free. They are made of nylon. So far, no one has been able to come up with bristles that are both plastic- and animal-free. Rohit’s original brush included bamboo and tea fibers combined with the nylon, but he received feedback that the bristles wore out too soon, so in version 2 he eliminated those fibers. I would love someone to come up with the perfect natural toothbrush bristle fibers. Please keep trying!
The box is made of recycled paper, and does not contain any glue. It’s held together by tabs instead of adhesive. Rohit says that’s a real concern when choosing cardboard boxes. The box also has empty window cutouts instead of plastic windows.
Inside the box, the brush is wrapped in a corn-based compostable plastic wrapper. Ro even sent me the certification to prove it.
I expressed my concern about the wrapper to Ro. I’m not a big fan of these corn-based plastics because growing corn has a huge environmental impact and most of it is GMO. Also, these plastics require an industrial composting facility to break down.
I suggested using a cellulose wrapper instead, and Ro has told me he has sourced such a wrapper and will try it in the next iteration of the brush. He even mentions it in the FAQ on his website.
The Brush with Bamboo website also has information about proper disposal of the toothbrush once it wears out (including clever ways to reuse the handle) and other environmental information.
Made in China
Yes, these toothbrushes are made in China. So are the Environmental Toothbrushes. Bamboo grows like crazy in China. Ro has been there to visit the facility where the toothbrushes are made. He’s confident the conditions are good because he’s seen it with his own eyes and posted pictures of the facility and management on the website. Check out the photos of the visit and descriptions of seeking out more sustainable packaging.
Developing sustainable products runs in the family. Ro’s dad sells a line of reusable stainless steel food containers and dinnerware called Clean Planetware to encourage people to avoid disposable restaurant packaging.
09/28/2013 UPDATE: Brush with Bamboo is offering a DISCOUNT to My Plastic-Free Life readers. Use discount code ‘myplasticfreelife’ (needs to be lowercase) for 15% OFF + Free Shipping on anything they sell.