Biodegradable. It’s a big one. It’s a big word, yes, but it’s bigger in influence and impact on initiating change. It means more than a word on a label. It’s one of the driving factors for the RADIUS commitment to a healthier planet.
Every year, over a billion toothbrushes will be thrown away in the U.S. This means 50 million pounds of plastic waste is discarded into landfills per year. That’s enough to circle the earth 4 times.
Toothbrushes may be small, but their impact is mighty. There are many materials in traditional toothbrushes, as well as the processes that go into making them, that are not sustainable or good for the environment. That’s not good enough for RADIUS.
LET’S DEFINE A FEW THINGS
Biodegradable: (of a substance or object) capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms.
You can argue that just about everything is biodegradable, but, in reality, it will take hundreds of thousands of years for many things to biodegrade. That’s unacceptable around here at RADIUS.
Biodegradable waste: includes any organic matter in waste which can be broken down into carbon dioxide, water, methane or simple organic molecules by microorganisms and other living things by composting, aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion or similar processes.
Biodegradable plastics: plastics that can be decomposed by the action of living organisms, usually microbes, into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass. Biodegradable plastics are commonly produced with renewable raw materials, micro-organisms, or petrochemicals.
One simple example of biodegradable waste and bioplastic is the RADIUS Big Brush with Replaceable Head. First of all, it is reusable over and over because you can pop a new toothbrush head on the handle and keep on brushing! Think of it as your forever brush - with you for the long haul! But, if that handle does finally go to a landfill, it will biodegrade. The plant-based handle made with renewable timber and EcoPure (more on that later) makes this big brush big time biodegradable.
Why does it matter if products are biodegradable?
- Biodegradable products break down much faster than other types of products.
- Because they break down into carbon dioxide, water vapor, and organic material, it isn't harmful to the environment.
- Generally, they are made from sustainable materials - again, better for the environment that we are not depleting the resources we need to have clean air and water.
The speed of a product breaking down isn’t the only factor worth looking at here. Ironically sometimes plastics made from non- bio sources, like petroleum and fossil fuels, can be chemically engineered to break down faster and better than resins that are made from bio-based origins such as sugar cane, timber, castor beans, corn, cornstarch, bamboo resin, etc.
RADIUS has not gone that direction because we believe in full-circle manufacturing. We have a cradle-to-cradle mentality. This means, we start with renewable sources, like plants, that are used at the beginning of life to create the resin and then design the products for full biodegradability at the end of life.
The idea here is that biodegradable products will eventually break down to its basic components and blend back in with the earth. And, on top of that we want them to biodegrade without leaving any toxins behind. This is definitely not an instant gratification situation. The impact on the earth can be seen and felt for hundreds and thousands of years. It’s bigger than any one of us, which is why it’s so important we all do what we can to leave behind a world we are proud of for the next generations to enjoy.
THE RADIUS APPROACH
It wasn’t enough for RADIUS to set out to make amazing oral care products. We are continually testing the best ways to decrease our ecological footprint (and yours!).
We adapted ergonomic design and luxury materials to engineer a toothbrush that cleans better in your mouth, feels better in your hand, and treats the planet better with a focus on sustainability. We’ve taken that philosophy and vision of EVERY DAY BETTER to create sustainable toothpastes, flosses, and toothbrushes.
Our commitment to a healthier planet includes the use of bioplastics made without fossil fuels and curated from renewable biomass sources such as vegetable oils, timber, and agricultural byproducts. We make our plastics as compostable and biodegradable as is possible.
Let’s give a round of applause for EcoPure® for helping solve one of our primary concerns of the end-of-life cycle of RADIUS products. This organic additive helps products biodegrade more quickly in landfills.
How much faster can EcoPure bioplastic biodegrade? A material without EcoPure degrades at a rate of 3.2%, where a material with EcoPure degrades at a rate of 40.2%. That’s a significant change!
With this additive, we have been able to ensure that all of our products can now be biodegradable in a landfill. Let’s look at a few examples of how we focus on sustainability at the most basic level.
RADIUS toothbrushes are made using sustainable substances to help reduce our impact on the environment. RADIUS bristles are made with vegetable-based nylon so they are soft and safe. Instead of a petroleum, the castor oil used makes the bristles retain their shape longer because of the amount of moisture they absorb.
It’s important that we aren’t putting toxic chemicals in products that end up in your home and eventually in landfills. So, we carefully hand-select our materials so that no heavy metals or carcinogenic substances are included in the products.
One reason this is possible is because we have full control over the process of making RADIUS products. We are proud to run our own US factory. No one can ensure our standards and commitment to sustainability are met like we can, and we can see it hands-on every day.
A few RADIUS factory facts for you:
- Restored silk mill (aka recycled!)
- Located in Pennsylvania in the USA!
- Low-energy machines
- Energy-efficient machines (they use the same energy as a light bulb!)
- Recycle imperfect items and products to reduce waste
- 100% recycled and recyclable packaging
Our quality control within our factory meets the highest standards. And, buying RADIUS means you can feel good knowing your purchase is supporting American jobs.
RADIUS has been recognized for these stellar efforts and innovation. Check out a few awards and acknowledgments:
Eco-Excellence Oral Care Award Winner: These awards specifically recognize excellence in social and environmental sustainability and are voted on by hundreds of thousands of fans.
President's "E" Award for Exports: The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker actually presented RADIUS CEO and President, Saskia Foley, with this award in Washington D.C.
New Hope NEXTY Award Finalist: Some of the criteria for New Hope Media’s award included inspiration and integrity. You had to have tackled an issue not widely addressed but with wide-reaching potential. And, the company’s approach to clean ingredients, transparency, and sustainability was a factor.
GET BETTER EVERY DAY
There are so many opportunities to get better at this every single day, multiple times a day really. Start with one thing and tackle another.
Step 1 for companies - create biodegradable and compostable products from sustainable materials.
Step 1 for consumers - buy said environment-friendly products that will break down and not leave harmful toxins in our soil.
Pay attention to what you buy, what it’s packaged in, what’s inside it, how it’s made, and where it’s made.
Be kind to nature and your teeth is to choose biodegradable toothbrushes. RADIUS has you (and the earth) in mind to make this mission a reality.
All RADIUS products go through a rigorous process to make sure we are being as kind to the world as possible. We are always exploring innovative ways to make our products even more environmentally friendly. We live out our philosophy of EVERY DAY BETTER so you can, too.
We want to hear from YOU. What ways would you like to see us innovate?