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Brief Published: 16 Mar 2020

Long-Lasting Eco Toothbrush Boasts Changeable Bristles

With consumers increasingly concerned about waste, brands need to reconsider how they plan for product wear and depreciation. Here, modular designs provide an eco-solution that enables consumers to discard only what is worn out and save what is not. We explore how this approach helps to mitigate plastic waste in toothbrushes.

Mexican design studio NOS is developing a prototype for a circular toothbrush that promises to enable continued quality brushing, while cutting down on plastic waste.

The toothbrush features a modular design whereby the bristles are not embedded into the base. Instead, the toothbrush head features a clip element that enables for the bristles to be removed and replaced over time. This means that the base of the toothbrush can stay in action while consumers change to a fresh set of bristles, which helps to dramatically reduce the amount of waste.

The base is made from plastic that is recycled from old toothbrushes, while the bristles are fashioned from compostable bamboo. The modular design means that consumers can dispose of these two different materials separately and in a manner that is appropriate to each. 

The studio’s design focuses on making each element as light as possible to minimise CO2 production from shipping. The bristles come as a flat layer of fibres that gain their protruding shape when pressed through the grooves in the clip in the head. This enables for the slim packaging to contain eight different sets, which should provide the consumer with a two-year supply. The packaging itself is made from compostable paper pulp.

Modular designs for products where one component wears out sooner than others, can ensure greater longevity, which is incredibly appealing to consumers weary of unsustainable, short-lived goods.

For how modularity can translate into furniture, see BIG’s recent collection, and for more on toothbrushes, see Designing Irresistibility into Everyday Dental Care.