Written on the 16 October 2009
WITH more than 30 million toothbrushes going into Australian landfills every year, a Brisbane dentist has introduced a solution that is biodegradable and renewable – the bamboo toothbrush.
Environmental Toothbrush founder Dr Natalya Taylor says the idea was sparked when she saw the waste produced from hospitals in East Timor, where she was working as a dental officer in 2001.
“That’s what made me think, is there a better way for people to use what’s available to them that will lead to a better quality of life, whilst not using too much?” she says.
“Some species of bamboo can regrow metres in 24 hours and the species we use regenerates in three years, they basically grow like a weed – each piece that you harvest can be used to make hundreds of thousands of toothbrushes, depending on the size of it.
Taylor says her business is less about the product than it is about empowering people by inspiring them into action.
And while Taylor came up with the idea independently, she found that bamboo toothbrush production dated back to the world’s first toothbrushes in China.
So Taylor contacted a company called Wesmo Industries in Guangzhou and her first shipment of bamboo toothbrushes came in March last year.
“I just started selling at fetes and festivals, but now it’s available at Flannerys Organic Food Shops, a few organic stores and from my website – but it’s still in its infancy and more needs to be done.”
The 32-year-old also recently opened her practice Monumental Dental in Tingalpa and says the product does not impact on the food source of the giant panda.