Most helpful positive review
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Nice little brush, questionable recycle logistics
on April 24, 2013
The humble toothbrush has been around longer than you might expect. Twigs and even porcupine quills were logical go-to tools for the ancients, and bristle toothbrushes were in use 1600 B.C., but the toothbrush went into mass production in 1780; the brainchild of a prisoner who cobbled one together in his cell and went on to become a wealthy businessman. Somewhere in recent history, to be distinguished from competitors, they started growing neon fins, angled heads and brush designs to produce shock and awe to dazed consumers standing slack-jawed at the dizzying selection in the oral hygiene aisle at Target. Now, with 50 million pounds of them tossed into American landfills each year, it seems ecologically prudent to offer a solution to a huge plastics problem. So companies are now offering more responsible, renewable alternatives as this one by Tom's. The toothbrush itself is refreshingly simple in it's design. The brush head is smallish and maneuverable and the bristles are soft which dentists recommend. The handle is slim and easy to hold in even small hands. The handle is made from the castor oil plant and not drilling sourced petroleum. (The castor oil plant is also the source of the dreaded toxin Ricin, though I'm fairly confident they've worked out that kink, since you place this thing in your mouth every day.) I like this brush very much with it's refreshingly simple, no nonsense design. The recycle feature, however well intentioned, is perhaps impractical in the real world. The process is part of the "Tetracycle" program. You must sign up online, then after collecting your used containers you box and send them to the recycle location. Shipping labels are said to be printable at home and at no cost. On the surface great. But in reality, only the most dedicated consumers are going to separate, store, box and ship as described. Second, that process itself produces cardboard, paper and plastic bag waste. Add to that the gasoline burned by delivery trucks and related transportation waste and pollution, electricity used in the recycle process from coal burning electric utilities, and in the best circumstances, is that system conserving anything? In reference to a product like this, alternatives exist, like toothbrushes made with bamboo handles which is a rapidly growing grass that needs no processing if thrown in the trash. It simply decomposes in a landfill. Apologies for an overkill review of a simple product. The reality seems to be, buy this for the effective design, but not to be a conscientious consumer. Other more realistic choices are now available for that.