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Colgate has just unveiled their first ever eco-friendly toothbrush, made from 100% biodegradable and sustainably grown bamboo. The company launched the product as a part of its mission to reduce overall plastic waste and improve its social impact. The move is reflective of a broad shift in the climate where companies across the board, including major brands, are stepping up their efforts to improve their ethical and environmental practices in order to retain consumers who are now displaying a clear appetite for purpose-driven businesses.
One of the world’s most recognisable FMCG brands, Colgate, has just launched their Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush. The new toothbrush, which is made out of 100% biodegradable sustainably grown bamboo and packaged in recyclable cardboard, is a part of the company’s sustainability initiative to reduce plastic waste. The product has so far been confirmed to be available in various retailers in the Philippines, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.
Currently, it is still unclear what material the bristles are made out of*, although on the product information, Colgate is clear that the bristles are not currently biodegradable. Further, the product is coated with beeswax to minimise water absorption and improve its durability, which makes it unsuitable for vegans.
Despite these noteworthy points, Colgate’s commitment to bamboo toothbrush handles that can decompose it is a significant step forward, especially given that consumers throw away on average a billion mostly plastic toothbrushes a year, and that’s just in the United States alone. Most of these end up in a landfill or polluting waterways and our oceans.
Speaking about the new product, general manager of Colgate United Kingdom Philip Durocher said: “We are always looking for more innovative ways to ensure our products not only provide top quality oral care, but are also increasingly environmentally friendly.”
The move is among other green campaigns Colgate has made to reduce the company’s footprint on our planet. They have a partnership with circular platform TerraCycle in 2018 to create a nationwide recycling programme in the United Kingdom for oral care products, which has seen over 240,000 units of toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes recycled since the initiative began. For the launch of their bamboo toothpaste, Colgate collaborated with charity Groundwork London to open up a green space dubbed “bamboo oasis” to host the organisation’s various community projects.
For the oral care giant Colgate, which is the only brand purchased by more than half of all households globally, to publicly make meaningful supply chain commitments to sustainability signifies that a wider shift is underway. Brands across the board, from fashion to beverages are feeling the pressure to go green, driven by mostly young consumers who are demanding more sustainable products.
In the latest Mintel report on global consumer trends, the underlying theme that will shape how people spend in the future is our planet’s climate crisis. Another analysis, conducted by HSBC Jade, revealed that the majority of Chinese elites care more about making a positive impact rather than material goods.
“More brands, more companies…they see the urgency from their own business perspective, from consumer perspective…They really are at the tipping point to do some serious in-depth transformation,” said Ms. Jinqing Cai, the Greater China director of luxury fashion group Kering, who recently launched an initiative to promote sustainable tech innovations in fashion.
Prompted by a rise in demand by eco-minded consumers, another multinational brand that has ramped up its sustainability efforts is beverage giant Coca-Cola- they have partnered up with a number of technology companies to develop a way to manufacture bottles using low-grade plastic waste collected from oceans, a worthy strategic move given their recent ranking as the world’s most polluting brand on earth.
*Editor’s Note: We have reached out to Colgate to confirm the material used for the toothbrush bristles and will update the post with their response
Lead image courtesy of EcoCado.