A 7-year-old Tasmanian boy sparked the idea for a new sustainable toothbrush brand, Tinkle Co.
What started as a family discussion about how to reduce their household plastic waste, soon turned into a new family-run business making freestanding and highly durable, sustainable, bamboo toothbrushes.
In a bid to help reduce the 30 million plastic toothbrushes which end up in landfills in Australia each year, Tinkle Co toothbrushes are made from sustainably sourced bamboo, with compostable handles that are 100% biodegradable.
What makes this toothbrush unique?
Unlike other sustainable toothbrushes on the market, Tinkle Co brushes are designed with a flat base, allowing them to stand on their own, keeping them clean and dry longer.
Managed by husband and wife team, Kate and Ben Cashman, the pair say the idea was sparked during a family discussion about plastic waste.
When their 7-year-old son pointed out a design flaw that made bamboo toothbrushes go mouldy, the pair were inspired to design a new, flat based toothbrush which stands on its own, keeping it clean and dry longer.
“We’d been slowly taking steps as a family to live more sustainably, and one night over dinner we were talking about all the plastic items we use every day that could be replaced with an eco-friendly alternative.
As we worked through the list, Spencer – our eldest – said he wished some of the plastic free alternatives could be made better, like our toothbrushes ‘that always get gunky’,” explained co-founder, Kate Cashman.
“That’s when it hit us – in order for more people to reduce their plastic waste, they can’t be made to feel like they’re ‘giving up’ something, or it’s never going to stick. We had switched to eco-toothbrushes a while ago, but it wasn’t an enjoyable experience.
Bamboo doesn’t like getting wet – and we noticed that when they were all in the toothbrush holder together, the brush handles would start going black and we had to throw them out early.
“So we decided to design a toothbrush with a flat base so it could stand upright on its own. This way, with a quick wipe after brushing, the bamboo handle stays clean and dry and is still looking great two months later when your next brush arrives.”
Tinkle Co co-founder, Ben Cashman said their two children have been involved in every step of the process, from choosing the materials, colours, packaging and even the name.
“The children have been really excited to be part of the design process – it’s been such a great family project and has really brought us closer together.
Not only have the children learnt invaluable business lessons, like watching us find suppliers and helping us test designs – I like to think we’re showing them that they have the power to change the world; that their thoughts and opinions matter and they’re capable of influencing change!”
Since its launch late last year, Tinkle Co has already had hundreds of subscribers.
Kate Cashman said, “So far the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve been blown away by the number of orders coming through, and we’re continuing to grow each month.
It’s such a nice feeling to know you’re creating something that will have a positive impact on the planet – every single biodegradable brush someone uses is one less plastic brush going to a landfill. And that’s really something to be proud of.
“We believe that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice in order to go green – you should still be able to get beautiful products that you enjoy using. And that’s what we’ve tried to achieve with Tinkle Co brushes.
“The next step for us is creating more eco-friendly bathroom products, and we already have a couple of really exciting things in the pipeline – so watch this space!”
In keeping with its values, $1 from every Tinkle Co sale gets put towards its community grants initiative, which provides grants to environmentally focused community organisations.
The program is particularly passionate about helping organisations that teach kids about being environmentally conscious, those organising beach, bush and local area clean ups, or finding new ways to turn waste into recycled material and reusable products, or organisations developing green technologies.