Life Goggles: Radius Toothbrush Eco Product Reviews

radius_1.jpgEditor’s note: How “green” is your toothbrush? You’ve probably never asked yourself that question. Neither had Joel at Life Goggles until he received some toothbrushes from Radius in the mail and tried them out. This post was originally published on Thursday, March 13, 2008.

I know a lot of readers have been wondering what toothbrush I use…ahem. Well it’s a rechargeable one. I like it as I don’t have to buy a new toothbrush each time when the head wears out, but it does use electricity sometimes. I never really spend much time thinking about the “eco-ness” of my toothbrush, but every little thing helps. Now, the Source toothbrush from Radius may have become my new favorite, but why?

Let’s start from the beginning. I was actually sent two toothbrushes by Radius — the Original and the Source — so let’s take a look at them both.

Radius Original

Part of the Permanent Collection of the National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, this toothbrush comes in right or left hand editions and different colors. I got a clear one (on the right of the picture). The head is huge, it’s nice to grip, nice and chunky. Er, cleans teeth.

Packaging: Made from SmartCycle plastic from 50% recycled soda bottles.
Handle: Made from natural bio-plastic derived from sustainable yield forests.
Durability: Lasts up to 3 times longer than a normal toothbrush, probably due to the 6,500 bristles.

Radius Source

This was my favorite. It features a replaceable head that can also be reversed for right or left handers — no need to buy a different toothbrush. In fact, two could share the one handle if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s nice and light, the bristles are possibly the softest I’ve ever used (that still work), and the head is large but does fit into corners pretty well.

Packaging: Again made from SmartCycle plastic from 50% recycled soda bottles.
Handle: Made from 100% renewable plant source (wood fiber), molded into shape.
Durability: Comes with a replacement head, and therefore allows you to replace just the part that wears out saving 80% of material of a new toothbrush. The replacement head is also about 1/5 the weight of a standard brush.

It was also nice to see their catalog was printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper with vegetable inks. I appreciate little touches like that (for more environmental info, visit their Environmental Evaluation page).

For only around $7 for the Source, and $8 for the Original, next time you need to change your toothbrush and want to be an official eco-tooth-cleaner, it may be worth looking at Radius.

  1. Sharon Troy

    I use a Preserve toothbrush (made by these folks: http://www.recycline.com/).

    I know it’s made from recycled materials, but I don’t know how it stacks up against the ones reviewed here. (Or how great it is for oral hygiene. The bristles are really soft.) Thanks for the other resources!

  2. Joel

    The bristles are really soft, though I haven’t noticed any difference to my old toothbrush in terms of hygiene (I double checked with my wife!). We’ve tried Preserve razors but not their toothbrush yet.

  3. Bobby B.

    Although my buddy Jeff will attest to the fact that I am by no means an environmentalist, I think you guys are missing out on a better shave with less waste by sticking with disposable razors. Drop about $30 on a good double edge razor and learn to shave the right way. The only waste is a wafer thin piece of steel that will rust away within months. I have seen so many green posts about the evils of plastic that it amazes me that any of you will even consider holding a disposable razor in your hands. Even if it is made from recycled evil, it is still evil. Right?

  4. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

    Hey, Bobby–

    I think the real issue is disposability… I’d say “even made from recycled plastic and disposable” is the “evil” here (just picking up on your word — not sure it’s the right one). Petroleum-based plastics are an environmental nightmare, but they exist: if we can recycle them responsibly into useful, attractive products, that’s much better than simply pitching them.

  5. Bobby B.

    Better? Yes. Best? Probably not. Of course, pitching an ultra thin piece of steel and allowing it to rust away probably isn’t perfect either. Since both the disposable razors and DE razors use steel blades, discussing that part of the equation is really moot. So, let’s move to the handle.

    Even though no razor blade lasts forever, a good double edge razor (handle and cap) will last a lifetime versus the “disposable” plastic versions. I personally prefer to avoid the disposal and the recycling avenues associated with the plastic versions altogether. I personally don’t see recycling as a bad idea but energy has to be expended and CO2 released to recover, transport, re-melt, re-extrude, and re-cast these plastics. I do like that they avoid the landfill, but thought you might be concerned about the larger AGW impact that reprocessing presents. Whoa! I am almost sounding green. I had better be careful.

    BTW, if you followed the link that I referenced for the badger hair toothbrush, you would have noted that it is biodegradeable. That’s still a good thing. Right? Of course, using the badger’s hair probably upsets those in the animal rights crowd. They also probably don’t like the idea of making toothbrush handles and combs from bovine bone and horns either. I guess you just can’t make everybody happy, and in the end, it all depends on what you believe has the least negative impact and who you want to please the most.

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