Grooming

My Beautiful, Effective and Environmentally-Conscious Toothbrush

In the interest of effective living, I really try to consider the impact of my choices and look for ways to streamline my lifestyle with products and practices that keep life simpler, not more complicated. That means less stuff, less excess, less user manuals, less waste, less money over time…

Part of this means not leaning so much into gadgetry and appliances to do simple things that I’m perfectly capable of doing myself. If I ever get married, an electric can opener will not be on the gift registry. My worst nightmare is a kitchen that looks like a Best Buy showroom.

The more gadgets you have, the more electricity you use, the more likely things will break or need repair, creating only more cost and waste, especially when a broken appliance just ends up being thoughtlessly tossed into a landfill.

I’ve lost count of how many coffee makers I’ve discarded over the years after they stopped working. About a decade ago, I opted for the Chemex, the trusty (and beautiful) beaker that requires no power outlets or repairs and makes the best coffee I’ve ever had. (And if the carafe does break, every part of the product is 100% recyclable/renewable.)

This past year, I ditched the costly and wasteful cartridge razor model and switched to the trusty all-metal safety razor, minimizing cost and plastic waste and producing a fantastic shaving experience.

Another place I keep it analog is with my home dental care. I abandoned the electric toothbrush years ago and dialed it back to manual brushing. But I didn’t just go with the cheap, skinny, wasteful toothbrush that we all grew up with that needs to be replaced every month. I ponied up for the RADIUS.

I’d heard about the RADIUS and seen it in stores for years, but I always thought the $10 price tag was ridiculous. But there were some important things I failed to understand about it…

First to note is that the bristles on a RADIUS last up to 10x longer than those on a standard toothbrush. A RADIUS Original toothbrush (the model I use, pictured above) has about 300% more bristles than typical brushes, enabling it to last as long as nine months. The brushes are made primarily from bioplastics derived from renewable resources that require less fossil fuels and energy to produce. RADIUS painstakingly strives to make their products compostable, biodegradable and 100% recyclable.

If that weren’t “green” enough, RADIUS products are manufactured PBA-free in small batches at a refurbished feed mill in Kutztown, PA, which uses solar panels that provide 67% of the power used in the factory.

Since the original RADIUS toothbrush was made in the early 1980s, the brand has expanded into a fuller line of dental care products, including toothpaste, floss, travel cases and toothbrushes for kids and babies – all made with the same rigorous environmentally-conscious standards.

I started using the original about six or seven years ago. At first, using a toothbrush with such a large head felt like shoving a ping-pong paddle into my mouth, but I acclimated to it very quickly. All the soft bristles give great coverage when brushing, and the award-winning handle design is extremely comfortable.

I’m a big fan of the idea of less but better, inspired by the iconic German designer Dieter Rams. As I get older, I grow less interested in the accumulation of stuff just for the sake of stuff and more invested in good things that add real value and create minimal negative impact. To that end, the RADIUS is another terrific tool to add to the arsenal in the pursuit of more effective living.

Another perk I enjoy about the RADIUS is aesthetic. In 1989, the RADIUS Original and the SCUBA (the original’s rubber cousin) became part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Design Museum. So not only do I get a great toothbrush that cleans my teeth wonderfully without putting a dent in the environment, I also get an exquisite piece of modern design that looks damn good in the bathroom.

(FYI, I use the right-hand model and prefer the green or the clear/translucent color.)

Get yours: madebyradius.com

2 Comments

  1. As a seasoned product designer, always appreciate a well thought out and executed solution such as this one. It is now on my list too. Thanks George!

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