Update: Because this is a post that is visited daily I want to direct any readers to the comments following the post. It’s unclear still what the labor practices are but good points are raised. I’m glad to hear that they might not be using the small plastic bags inside the cardboard boxes.
Toothbrushes are a major contributor to the massive plastic barge polluting the world’s water. Because of that, I’ve been on the lookout for an ethical alternative for a while. I was a bit nervous because dental health is hugely important to overall health and I didn’t want a brush that didn’t get the job done. Enter: The Giving Brush.
The Giving Brush Overview
The Giving Brush is made from wild bamboo and plant-based nylon. Bamboo is eco-friendly because it grows massively, four feet a day under the right conditions and one root can produce 100 stems, meaning it maximizes space. The nylon used for the brush’s bristles are plant-based unlike the usual plastic bristles on brushes that never break down.
At a glance, that’s pretty incredible, right? Um, yeah. It is. Toothbrushes are usually 100% plastic. And plastic is bad.
The rainbow design Giving Brush goes for $20 but is currently FREE on the website. You just pay shipping. And this is legit: I ordered TWO free brushes in the same order and was only charged for shipping. Shipping was about $10 from China to Vermont. $10 for two toothbrushes seemed reasonable to me, especially because it’s hard to find an ethical toothbrush.
While the website is a bit minimal it’s easy to find, order and pay for your free brush. I paid PayPal but they also accept major credit cards (and minor ones like Discover and Diners Club) and even Apple Pay. Since ordering I have not had any weird charges or received the terrifying, “Your information has been compromised” message I was fearing based on the bad grammar and notice that my brush was being shipped from China.
How’s It Look?
The brushes look exactly as they do on the site. They are the size I imagined and the wood is smooth. It has a light wax covering. The colors are bright and the bristles are soft and well attached. I haven’t had to pick any out from between my teeth.
How’s It Work?
This was where I thought it would fall apart. The idea of using wood freaked me out. I also brush my teeth a ridiculous amount. I am a little less than halfway through straightening my teeth with invisible aligners which means that I brush and floss every time I eat plus I brush my aligners several times a day. The Giving Brush holds up and the soft bristles are an added bonus. I was worried they would be rough and when you brush your teeth 4-5 times a day that can get old. Fast. I also floss several times a day. You know your dental hygiene is on the decline if you start bleeding more when flossing the prescribed amount. I knew that this would be a sign the brush wasn’t doing a good job. My gums have not been bleeding since using the brush.
I keep my brush in the bathroom in a small glass (a tasting glass from a beer festival, welcome to my life) with Kris’ brush and some other dental-related tools. There has been zero issue with odor from the wood (even with the wax I was nervous) and no wear even though I’m sure the tip of the handle sits in some moisture during the day.
But Is It Ethical?
Here’s the one area where I am struggling. I love the brush and how it works. I’m delighted that I got it for free, that it exceeded my expectations and that I could see myself never going back to plastic. But I’m not convinced this is the most ethical toothbrush on the market. Here are my concerns:
- Packaging. The packaging pissed me off. The brush came in a small, plastic bubble mailer (envelope, which I will reuse). In the mailer were two small cardboard boxes. When I opened one the toothbrush was in there. In a plastic bag. If The Giving Brush wants to raise awareness about plastic toothbrush waste only, it’s doing it. But if the brand wants me to believe they are truly eco-minded, they’re failing miserably. Because they are wasting plastic and adding to landfill and water waste. I was so dissapointed. And I’m not one of those “it’s cool to be green” people so this is definitely a reason not to buy another. At least not until they change this.
- Labor. At this time I have not been able to find information about The Giving Brush labor practices.
Is It Worth It?
I’d like to discuss with The Giving Brush the option of moving to the cardboard box only or zero packaging aside from the mailer. Their website says they respond within 24 hours but it’s been over a week since I reached out to them and I have not heard back. I’ll try again but until I can learn more about their labor practices and discover a way to eliminate plastic packaging I would say it is worth it but not as much as it could be. I give them… three out of five toothbrushes.
If you’d like to try The Giving Brush without having to pay for shipping and live in the U.S.A. I’ve got a giveaway for you! Here’s how to enter. You must follow the directions completely to qualify.
- After this post is published comment with “I want The Giving Brush!” below.
- After you have commented go to the connected Facebook post, tweet, Instagram post, or LinkedIn post and leave a comment about The Giving Brush.
- Email me using this link with your first and last name and two screenshots: one of your comment here and one of the social media comment. Doing that will enter you into a drawing for The Giving Brush.
- I’ll put all of the names into a hat and pull one on Sunday at 7 p.m. EST. The winner will be contacted via the comments on this post, a reply to their social media comment and a reply email. The winner must then reply to that email with their U.S. mailing address at which point I will mail their toothbrush within 48 hours via USPS First Class – the winner will receive a tracking number.
- You must be 18 or older to enter.
Who wants The Giving Brush?!