Decoding Design

A stylish toothbrush, made with yogurt cups

A stylish toothbrush, made with yogurt cups

Posting in Design

Preserve's Toothbrush and subscription service offer solutions to combat the world's plastic waste problem.

It is estimated that approximately 50 million pounds of toothbrushes end up in US landfills every year. The bristles wear out, but it's the plastic handles that make up the majority of this waste.

The Preserve Toothbrush, however, seeks to remedy this problem. The BPA-free handles are made from recycled yogurt cups, though the bristles are new nylon. Design-wise, the easy-to-grip curved handles are also extremely sleek looking.

To make things even easier, Preserve has a subscription service, that sends you Toothbrushes at your convenience and takes them back when they get worn out beyond further use. The return process is simple: just put the used brush into the self-addressed and stamped envelopes included with each pack.

Preserve was started as a company in 1997, and has been making Toothbrushes and taking them back since then. When you send a brush back, a partner company grinds it up and turns it into plastic lumber for use in new picnic tables, park benches and boardwalks.

The Toothbrushes are made with plastic from Preserve and partners Gimme 5 program, a program designed as a different kind of recycling solution for #5 plastic containers like yogurt cups, hummus tubs, margarine containers, etc. that are stamped with a #5.

Many communities don't accept this containers for recycling, so Gimme 5 collects them at retailers or allows consumers to send them in, where they are recycled into products like the Preserve Toothbrush.

The Toothbrush subscription is $15 a year, bringing the subscriber a new brush every three months, or every two months over an eight month period. The brushes are also offered in a bulk pack, and customers can choose from five colors and three bristle strengths.

[Cool Hunting]
Images: Preserve

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure