Making our Bamboo Toothbrushes
How it all started
You would be astonished to see how many plastic toothbrushes you can actually find washed up on the beaches. This happens everywhere around the world, in Bali too. It’s pretty shocking if you really think about it. Unlike straws or utensils, toothbrushes are normally only used inside the confines of your home, in your bathroom. They’re normally not taken outside (unless you brush your teeth when you go to the beach).
The truth is that around 12 billion plastic toothbrushes are being thrown out every year. Most, if not all, never end up being recycled, which means they continue existing today. Think about it, all the plastic toothbrushes that have ever existed, still exist today! So when you actually realize that a product that you only use in the most private area of your home, can end up in the ocean, really comes to show the problem of plastic waste management our society is facing right now.
In our quest to provide our customers with solutions to lead a sustainable life without plastic we decided we wanted to start offering Bamboo Toothbrushes. So we set out to find manufacturers that could help us provide a product that really ticked all the boxes for us.
We started our quest in Bali, where we just couldn’t find anybody that produced bamboo toothbrushes. We found a couple of suppliers in Indonesia that claimed they were doing the bamboo toothbrushes themselves, but we soon found out it was not true. They were importing them from outside. We never thought it was that difficult to actually find them, so we continued on our search.
Our research led us to China. We’re not going to lie to you, we’re not super proud of it, but sometimes the good outweighs the bad, and we think this is one of those times.
We talked to at least a dozen suppliers. Most of them looked the other way when we asked the ’10 million questions’ we had. We needed to know that the product we were getting was up to our standards of quality, sustainability, and ethics. After a lot of emails, we finally found a supplier who responded to all our questions with more details, certifications, and proofs than we actually had asked for.
How are Bamboo Toothbrushes made?
As always, the first process to make any bamboo product is sourcing the bamboo. The bamboo we use for our Bamboo toothbrush is Moso bamboo, a species of giant bamboo that is natural to China. Because Bamboo is considered a type of grass, and not wood, the FSC certification doesn’t apply strictly to it. Nonetheless, we still managed to source bamboo that comes from FSC certified (Forest Stewardship Council) private plantations, which means it comes from sustainable and protected areas. Because the handle of our toothbrush is made from 100% natural bamboo, it means that it is 100% biodegradable, and will take around 6 months to turn into compost (or reuse it to make cool vegetable garden signs, door stoppers, or any other crazy thing you can come up with).
As for the bristles, unfortunately, there aren’t any 100% natural alternatives out there, except those made with animal hairs (which we personally didn’t like). That is why we decided to go with charcoal-infused nylon bristles. Our charcoal-infused bristles are made with Nylon-6 and are infused with bamboo charcoal.
Bamboo charcoal is made of bamboo and is produced through the anoxic dry distillation and pyrolysis of the plant. The process takes around 30 to 50 days and is done through special furnaces that carbonize the bamboo at over 800 degrees. This technique originated hundreds of years ago in China and Japan. To make the bristles, the Nylon and the charcoal are mixed together, after which they are fed into an extruding machine that makes the bristles.
All of the above make the Bali Boo Bamboo Toothbrush a 100% Vegan, FSC, FDA, CE, and LFGB certified toothbrush. So you can be sure that we’ve done our homework and you will know that the toothbrush you purchase from us is made in the most sustainable way possible.