Chances are, you don’t put too much thought into your toothbrushes.
In fact, a lot of us even forget to throw them out when they’re past their prime. But we’re willing to bet you’ll agree with the issues we recognized and raised while designing the awesome Nada Toothbrush (formerly Grin), a proudly Canadian designed mouth cleaner that keeps it smart and simple.
The Problem: Toothbrushes get the brush-off!
Lately, when it comes to excess waste in our landfills and oceans, we’ve been hearing a lot about straws, but they’re far from the only products most individuals throw away by the handful each year.
Photo: NOAA MDP
Take the humble toothbrush, for example. Most of them come packaged in cardboard and plastic, which we throw away, are used for a few months til the bristles fan out like a pancake, then are turfed themselves. And you might make the argument that, unlike straws, toothbrushes are pretty necessary.
Everything we dump lives out centuries in a landfill (if it doesn’t wind up floating in the ocean or being swallowed by a sea turtle). More than 3 billion toothbrushes wind up in landfills each year, and if you don’t throw away your toothbrush as often as recommended, you’re reintroducing gross bacteria into your mouth over and over until you do.
Floss First: the Research Phase
Simon was the instigator behind the Nada toothbrush, and when he brought us on board, we began the Audit phase of our three-step process.
We thought about what’s wrong with drugstore toothbrushes:
︎ While the blister pack ensures your new brush is sanitary, it is one more thing to recycle or toss.
︎ They have this weird ergonomic shape that’s actually useless.
︎ This shape makes them tip over when you set them down, so the bristles pick up yuck from your countertop before going in your mouth.
︎ That rubber grip makes recycling impossible. And let’s face it: if you need padding for your hand while brushing, you’re doing it wrong.
︎ “Fancy” bumps and grooves are just more places for bacteria to hide.
︎ Again, you turf the whole thing every three months.
Rinse and Spit: The Next Steps
Moving on to the Plan part of the process, we took those problems and started figuring out how to solve them without introducing new issues.
1. The Handle
We designed a handle that lies flat when you set it down, so your bristles stay clean.
We chose aluminum for that handle; thanks to the material and the fact that it’s separate from the head, it lasts and lasts, drastically reducing plastic waste. Aluminum and the anodization used to add the colour means it’s recyclable if you do move on, decades from now.
The handle is also super-smooth, so you won’t find a build-up of old toothpaste or other grubbies anywhere on it’s person. And if it does need a wash — easy peasy.
2. The Head
We designed heads that pop on and off the reusable handle. Unfortunately, the toothbrush bristles still can’t be recycled, but Nada’s design uses 85% less plastic than the standard in their light-weight head!
Simon, the head Nada guy, is currently searching for biodegradable options for future incarnations of the brush, too!
The neck, which also goes in your mouth, curves slightly to keep it off the counter. One more barrier against germs.
3. The Packaging
The heads come two-to-a-box that is perfectly fitted — no extra cardboard. The full toothbrush is also packaged in close quarters to ensure we use as little recycled paper as possible (and zero plastic) with each delivery.
Minty Fresh: The Final Stage
And, at last, we come to the Execute stage.
Here’s where we flesh out the solutions to those central problems we mentioned earlier. We conceptualize them, prototype, test, and refine until we come out with the one winner: The Final Concept™ (also commonly referred to as “final_finalfinal_noreallythistime.jpg”).
We describe this concept in detail before we hand all those design files we slaved over — which include technical drawings, 3D computer-aided drafting, and tech packs — to a crack engineering team for final touches before manufacturing. We’ll continue to consult and discuss to ensure the original design intent is maintained.
Get Your Own Nada
Ok, we’re a little biased, but the truth is, the Nada toothbrush is affordable, thoughtfully designed, and making a real difference. (It’s also dentist-approved!) Simon really did his homework on this one, and we were proud to be a part of the project. If you need any more convincing, since its conception (to July, 2020), Nada has prevented the disposal of 11,300 one-piece brushes.
Ok, you get it. Industrial design is pretty awesome. But where did it all begin? It’s time to dive into the History of Industrial Design...
Want one of your own? You’re in luck! Visit trynada.com to order an eco-friendly toothbrush of your very own. Did we mention they come in seven colours?
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We respectfully acknowledge and honour that ANCORD Design Co sits upon the traditional unceded territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples of the Coast Salish Nations.