Before RADIUS embarks on making a new product, we put the concept through an evaluation to make sure that we are not just making some more landfill in the name of progress.
||The design has to work well and enrich the lives of our customers.
||It has to last long enough to amortize the investment of resources in its manufacture.
||Has to be based on good science and research.
RADIUS Toothbrushes are designed to last a long time - usually two to three times longer than regular toothbrushes. The handles are larger because we want people to hold the brush lightly and apply low pressure to tooth and gum.
When a RADIUS has finished its life as a toothbrush - it remains useful in the kitchen or garage - and will have another long useful phase before being recycled.
Plastic is the easiest material to make toothbrush handles from. For the Original we use cellulose, derived from sustainable yield forests. The SCUBA has two high tech lightweight oil based materials (no natural substitute exists) that bend to allow us to give our customers a handle that gives under pressure. The Fisher-Price and Kidz toothbrushes are made from oil based polypropylene. This is strong and light - making it perfect for children.
We use nylon - it absorbs very little moisture in use and has the ability to bounce back to its original shape after use (memory) making it long lasting.
Packaging is a field that is in permanent evolution.
We started in 1983 with a simple cardboard folding box, but soon discovered that customers ripped open the box to see the color and shape of the toothbrush inside.
We moved to clear plastic folding boxes - no opened boxes but the carton became plastic trash, once opened.
In 1992 we started manufacturing plastic boxes that doubled as packaging to sell and ship in as well as a container to carry your toothbrush on trips or protect it in the bathroom. These containers had a long and useful life before being recycled. The unique problem was that many customers have complained about having multiple RADIUS travel cases, picked up over the years. The plastic box, although recyclable, was also heavy and consumed a lot of fuel in shipping.
In 2005 we started investigating lighter packaging and the potential of plant based plastics. The amount of freight used in distribution of our products represents a major part of its energy use profile A decision was made to change to a new type of package, called a mock clamshell. The clear plastic front is very light and the card can be made from recycled materials.
We planned on using NatureWorks® PLA, a 100% corn based, compostable plastic for the front panel. Thus far we do not have the durability required for a package that sells from a store shelf. NatureWorks® assures us that they will have this achieved very shortly and we will make the final step in our attempt to make more environmentally responsible packaging.
RADIUS makes all of its own products - we recycle all imperfect products and produce no waste materials. We control all the materials to ensure that no heavy metals or carcinogenic substances could be part of the product. We do not test on animals and insist that all of our material suppliers do not.
Our factory is recycled and started its life as the Haeffner-Dietrich Mill in Pennsylvania's Hex country circa 1863.
Recycling Toothbrushes - is it worth it?
The calculation of the energy cost of energy used in recycling toothbrushes via a shipping service is being updated and will be back shortly.
RADIUS is commited to making environmentally friendly products - our rules are: Make your own toothbrushes and know how much energy is expended on them.
Control the material inputs to ensure that your products contain pure and responsibly resourced materials.
Use renewable resource materials for toothbrush handles.
Make products that last a long time.
Further comment on the type of environmentalism related to claims made for recycling toothbrushes can be found in The Skeptical Environmentalist (pg. 10).