From Portland, Oregon, the city responsible for birthing crowdfunded treasures such as the Mason jar French press, comes a campaign in which backers are invited to support a clever reimagining of one of the most mundane household objects imaginable. (Hint: It lives in your bathroom and, if you’re a good boy or girl, you reach for it two or more times a day.)
Described as a “modern oral toolkit to fit your life,” industrial designer Patrick Triato’s Goodwell Toothkit isn’t just a high-end manual toothbrush. It’s a sleek, minimalist and, dare I say, beautiful dental apparatus — a toothbrush, flosser and tongue scraper all in one — meant to serve as both a reminder of and alternative to our wasteful tooth-brushing ways.
Reads the Goodwell website: “Our mission is to create 100% natural, sustainable products, systems and technologies that raise environmental awareness and empower people to make choices that help protect and preserve the planet today.”
Launched at product development-centric crowdfunding platform Crowd Supply, Goodwell's campaign page illustrates the landfill-clogging nature of relying on a conventional molded plastic toothbrush to scrub those pearly whites. Going by an average life expectancy of 75 years and a throwaway rate of four toothbrushes (.63 oz) per year, in our lifetime we’ll go throw a staggering 300 plastic toothbrushes — and toss 12 pounds of oral hygiene-related plastic waste to landfills.
I’d hate to see the stats on dental floss.
Now in its final hours, the push to move Triato's creation into the production stage has been a success with the initial $12,500 crowdfunding goal surpassed.
It’s easy to see why.
While some might argue for bulky electric toothbrushes or other non-plastic tools in which to tend to one’s chompers, Goodwell is pared-down, unfussy and sends zero waste to landfills. The removable/replaceable attachments of the tool that are meant to be discarded on a regular basis are made from a biodegradable, bamboo-based composite material that can be composted in a bin or backyard. For added eco-cred, the whole shebang is designed and manufactured in and around Portland save for the bristles of the toothbrush itself which are made from Japan-sourced binchotan fiber — the same charcoal-based material found in water filters, facial scrubs and the like. According to Goodwell, deodorizing binchotan helps to remove plaque, curb stinky breath and deflect negative ions.
Crafted from medical-grade aluminum, the universal base of the brush — the “Goodwell Handle” — serves as the foundation of the entire system and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Yep, a toothbrush handle designed to endure long after you have no (natural) teeth left. (For a few bucks more, you can upgrade to “premium” black or gold finish handles.) The hollow handle also comes with a nylon color cord — choose from white, aqua, red or black — for easy personalization, storage and mix-up prevention.
As for the biodegradable attachments, they can be replaced through an optional monthly subscription service offered by Goodwell starting at $79 per year. Each month, subscribers will receive a new attachment — either a toothbrush head, flosser or tongue scraper — along with a new product from a slew of different collaborators.
And for the DIY-inclined, the system's design is open-source meaning that users can produce their own replacement parts or whacky add-ons to screw into the handle. Users who create their own attachments are encouraged to share their ideas and developments with the Goodwell community. Triato has also developed an optional open-source data tracker that enables users to “to capture your ( or your kids ) oral activities” via the Goodwell website or a smartphone app to be launched next year.
Do head on over to Crowd Supply to show Goodwell a bit of crowdfunding love — and to pre-order your very own modular tooth-cleaning kit. The handle and brush attachment alone start at $59 while an upgrade of $20 will get you a kit that includes the handle and brush attachment along with the flosser, the tongue scraper and a handy-dandy washable carrying case. Packs for couples and families are also available and, as mentioned, a yearly subscription for replacement attachments and other goodies is extra.
This all certainly isn’t cheap especially considering that you can get a year’s supply of plastic toothbrushes for under $10 (or just use the freebies you get from your dentist when you go in for a six-month check-up). But price-wise, the system is comparable to clunky electric toothbrushes and their outrageously spendy brush heads that should be replaced, ideally, on a quarterly basis. And you certainly can’t toss those old electric toothbrush brush heads to your compost bin, now can you?
I'm looking forward to seeing what Triato comes up with next.
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