Dublin-based Dylan Regan first had the idea for the VirtueBrush when he was running a blog called greenliving.ie. “I was thinking about items in people’s homes with “green” potential and the plastic toothbrush kept jumping to the forefront of my mind,” he says. “Most plastic toothbrush handles can’t be recycled and this is very troubling considering how many millions are discarded each month. Plastic toothbrushes ultimately end up in landfill and clogging our seas and waterways damaging delicate aquatic ecosystems.” Regan began looking into alternatives to plastic handled toothbrushes and quickly discovered that toothbrushes made with Moso bamboo were popular in countries like Australia. “I realised there must be a gap in the market in Ireland and many other countries for them and I set up my company, VirtueBrush, to introduce them to Irish consumers,” he says.. “Moso bamboo has been recognised as a ‘plant of virtue’ for millennia. It’s a type of grass with naturally antibacterial qualities that grows up to three feet per day and re-grows very quickly after harvesting. It dries out quickly and has a tensile strength rivals steel. I did a lot of research and eventually tracked down a 200- year old company in China that grows its own bamboo. They are now manufacturing the VirtueBrush for me. I chose this name as I believe customers appreciate that sustainability is a virtue. "Unlike plastic which is a danger to our food chain, bamboo is an environmentally strategic material for the twenty first century with over 1,000 documented uses,” Regan adds. “We have also started an initiative with Trees for the Future (who work around the Equator) to plant three trees for every brush we sell. We feel this is a positive visual representation of the good that people do when they refuse plastic and go with biodegradable and sustainable options instead.”
Dylan's Eco Tip
I really worry about the over use of clingfilm. It is a very high use item in most households and as it usually ends up with food particles on the surface, this contaminates he whole recycling bin. One alternative is to use waxed cloths to cover food or wrap your sandwiches in. Cloths can be made to any size, washed and reused. You can also make them look good by choosing fabrics (100% cotton) with a nice pattern. It is possible to buy them online or you can make them yourself. To make your own cloths see less-stuff.co.uk for instructions.