The Pearly White Club created the UK’s first bamboo toothbrush subscription service to address the 300 plastic toothbrushes we will EACH throw away on average over our lifetime. And there is no more wasteful time than when you’re on holiday: think of the amount of toothbrushes and toiletries in plastic bottles which hotels alone go through worldwide. Here, founders Jenny and Dave Hutchings discuss the motivation behind getting their new product on the market….
How and when did the company begin trading?
We started trading in November 2017 following five months of research and planning. The idea came from a desire to start a useful business that we could be passionate about – plastic pollution is something we have been alarmed by following media in the recent years and reducing the use of plastic in our own life is something we have been working on. Couple that with the frustration behind forgetting to change our toothbrushes regularly, The Pearly White Club was born offering a bamboo toothbrush subscription – a new brush every six weeks.
Why choose bamboo?
The initial idea of a toothbrush subscription was originally a NO, as we couldn’t send out yet more plastic into an already overloaded ocean and environment; when researching alternatives that is when we came across bamboo! It is a highly sustainable material that grows at an amazing rate (up to a metre per day!), it is naturally antibacterial so ideal for putting in your mouth, and we think it looks really good.
Do the toothbrushes need changing more regularly than plastic versions?
This is subject to opinion of course, but yes, we think so. Mainly because bamboo is a plant so it breathes and takes in moisture so can start to ‘degrade’ if exposed to water for long periods of time. So if you leave it on the side of a wet sink or in a toothbrush holder with water in the bottom you might see small signs of decay. That said if you are very careful with your toothbrush care, drying after each use and keeping it in a dry place then it can last just as long as a regular plastic brush. But this business is about convenience for the consumer as well as being environmentally friendly.
Are they more expensive than the average toothbrush?
Yes ever so slightly if you compare it to a branded plastic brush, but it is a small price to pay when you think of the environmental impact of plastic toothbrushes (your plastic toothbrush might still be around in 1,000 years, potentially killing sea life or littering the planet leaking toxins). We also donate a toothbrush to New Hope, which is a homeless charity we support for every subscription sold.
Why should hotels consider offering bamboo toothbrushes?
Hotels buy millions of toothbrushes every year, sometimes for just a single-use, one-night stay and the consumer might use it that night/morning and then throw it in the bin. What a waste, as that brush will more than likely just sit in landfill or end up somewhere within the environment. If the hotels brought bamboo brushes, firstly the consumer may be more inclined to keep it as they look much nicer, and the story behind it will be appealing. Secondly, even if they don’t when they are thrown away it's with the knowledge that they will decompose over a short period of time.
What is the effect of using the bamboo on panda habitats?
We use MOSO bamboo, a type of bamboo that panda’s don’t eat, so we aren’t taking anything away from them. The MOSO bamboo is sourced from an FSC-regulated forest.
The Pearly White Club offers:
- A new toothbrush every 6 weeks
- Compostable bamboo handle
- Stylish and colourful design
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Different coloured brush for each member of the family
- Sizes suitable for children
- Different firmness from soft to medium
- 100% vegan-friendly
- FSC regulated bamboo which doesn’t damage panda habitats
- Bristles made from BPA-free Nylon 6
- A toothbrush donated to the homeless with each subscription