When we came up with the idea of BrushEco, we wanted to create a great toothbrush that would function really well and last long enough to get the job done, but not forever.
At the time, we lived on Kauai, and we loved walking along the island’s beautiful coastline. While basking in the fresh air and the salty ocean spray, we also experienced a sober sadness. Why? Because of all of the plastic litter that we encountered along the way.
We always carried an empty bag with us on our beach walks. As we meandered down the beach, we would collect plastic junk that had washed ashore. There was all kinds of plastic debris, from fishing equipment, to parts of plastic laundry baskets. And yes, we nearly always found plastic toothbrushes that looked like they’d come from near and far. Some of them had writing on them in languages that we didn’t even recognize.
We had a persistent nightmare that, one day, we might find a plastic OraWellness toothbrush on the beach. We decided we needed to find a solution to prevent that nightmare from becoming a reality.
Becoming part of the solution…
Our original goal was to create a more sustainable Bass toothbrush.
The first BrushEco prototypes were made out of coconut wood. Unfortunately, while they were very pretty toothbrushes, they were cost prohibitive (when all was said and done, they were $20 per brush!). Also, after repeated exposure to water, they were susceptible to molding. To fix those issues, we switched to the awesome bamboo models that we still offer today.
With that, we’d achieved our goal of continuing to reduce the amount of plastics that we’re putting out into the world. However, we realized that we also wanted to do something to help address the existing plastic pollution problem. So, we created the BrushEco mission, which donates 100% of BrushEco profits to organizations that are helping to clean up the world’s waterways.
We previously announced the recipients of the first BrushEco profit donations.
Now, thanks to all of you who have purchased BrushEco since that initial round of donations, we’ve raised another $10K USD to donate.
The challenge of finding the right group(s)
Interestingly, it’s been challenging to find fund recipients 1) that seem like a good fit and 2) that actually accept our donation offer (who would have thought? 🙂 ).
You see, we wanted to really maximize the benefit of our donations.
Sure, we could always send the funds to great groups like the Ocean Cleanup Project, but they’re already receiving millions of dollars in donations. So instead, we decided to seek out smaller organizations. Our hope is that for a smaller group with a smaller budget, these donations might provide some real traction and help them achieve their goals.
As we looked behind the curtain (of groups big and small), we encountered greenwashing within the plastic pollution cleanup niche.
Even when we found groups that seemed legit, when we took a closer look, we often found that while they were providing great education, they weren’t very engaged in active cleanup projects. We didn’t see them taking enough solution-oriented action to make us feel like they would make the best use of the funds.
Also, we discovered that even if you do come across a wonderful group, it’s not always easy to get them to accept the donation.
One fact we’ve learned is that most of the plastic waste in the oceans is lost or discarded plastic fishing nets. We were really excited when we found a group in Europe that’s tackling this issue by making fishing nets out of algae. Unfortunately, although we tried reaching out to them several times about a donation, they never replied back. So, we kept searching…
Thankfully, after more digging and much deliberation, we landed on two fantastic organizations. Here’s some information about these donation recipients…
Ocean Defenders Alliance (donation: $5,000 USD)
Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) is a nonprofit marine conservation organization based out of Orange County, CA. We’re honored to be able to use a portion of the BrushEco profit donations to support their great work!
ODA’s dive crews and volunteers seek out areas where abandoned commercial fishing gear, trash, and improperly sunken vessels are littering the ocean floor. If left unchecked, this human-made debris winds up killing marine flora and fauna.
When the ODA folks find one of these sites, they float the debris to the surface. Then they carefully free any living marine life that’s trapped inside, and they haul the junk back to shore for proper disposal.
They also contact fisherfolk and restaurants to ask them to commit to becoming better stewards of the oceans.
And, they educate communities about the vital importance of restoring clean and healthy oceans (as well as how each person can become part of the solution!).
Seabin Foundation (donation: $5,243 USD)
You may remember that the Seabin Foundation was one of the recipients of our first round of BrushEco donations. Well, we’re thrilled to be able to support them again!
This awesome organization started out creating trash skimmers that collected floating plastic marine debris.
Now, to make an even bigger impact, the Seabin™ mission has evolved into a “100 Cities Campaign”. Their goal is to clean up 100 cities by 2050.
They’re addressing existing plastic pollution in the water and behavioral changes on land (to stop ocean pollution at its source).
After a huge success in Sydney, they’re now starting to clean up Los Angeles, too.
Thank you SO much for your continued support of BrushEco! You made all of this possible, and we’re excited to continue on this mission with you!
We’ll keep you posted as we continue to donate to more and more amazing organizations. Together, we can really make a difference.
Please share your thoughts about the BrushEco mission and/or this celebratory moment in the comments below. And if you know of any organizations that are doing great work to clean up the world’s waterways, please let us know about them. We just might choose your recommendations for future BrushEco profit donations!
Finally, if you’re on social media, we invite you to give the Ocean Defenders Alliance and the Seabin Foundation a shout-out to thank them for what they do. If you’d like, feel free to let them know that you helped support them through the OraWellness BrushEco mission. Any shout-outs that you choose to share on social media really help the organization(s) involved.
Helpful, related resources:
- The BrushEco Mission
- First Round of BrushEco Donations [article]
- 6 Actions OraWellness Takes to Make the World a Healthier Home for All [article]