Fairtrade Friday Review – The Environmental Toothbrush.

Welcome to this week’s Fairtrade Friday!

Something interesting I’ve discovered this week is fair trade and Social Justice standards vs Fairtrade Certification. It’s fascinating! They do basically mean and do the same things for the people involved in the growing and making of products in developing countries, it’s just not all ‘fair trade’ work is certified. This doesn’t stop it from being fair trade; it’s just not going to have that good old Fairtrade stamp on its packaging or website.

Hopefully that makes sense!

An example of this is if an item is certified organic by NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia) – where items are grown and produced in places like Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa and Malaysia – to gain the NASAA certification, specific parts of their policy covering Social Justice must be upheld. This section of their policy covers the ethical and safe work practices almost identical to those to be Fairtrade certified. So, while not being certified as being Fairtrade… fair trade practices must be in place to qualify for the organic certification. See – fascinating!

And, yeah, I really do hope it makes sense! 😉 What I’m trying to say is that not everything fair trade we use is… Fairtrade.  It appears to be capitalised and pushed together into one word means you are referring to the official Fairtrade certification, rather than just a company that treats its workers as they should.

So, what does this do to my Fairtrade Friday? How can I truly be sharing reviews on items if they are not Fairtrade certified? Well, I never said an item needed to be Fairtrade certified before I would review it. I simply said it needed to be fair trade. And if I can find something written in the public domain by a company that states its practises are fair trade… I’m just going to trust it is true. So if they say they are fair trade (but not Fairtrade), I am going to simply trust the same ethical and fair working principles are being upheld. Plus, if I see something with certain organic certification – even if there is no Fairtrade stamp – I will at least know fair trade practices were in place to bring that product into my home.

Some may feel this is me being a tad naïve… but, you know what? The world would be a nicer place if we didn’t think everyone we spoke to was lying. And, as they’re saying their items are fair trade in the public eye I’m going to believe them. If they made it up just to sound cool, it’s more than just negative karma points and litigation based on lies they’d be dealing with! 😉

Wow, only week three into this new Fairtrade idea and it’s totally blowing me away the different aspects this one word (or two as the case may be) holds.

And, as this is week three, I won’t go into explaining what Fairtrade Friday is all about. Read my articles from week one and two as they’ve got it all covered. What I am doing, why and all that.

Instead, let’s go on into the review!

Before we start, here is a bit of a disclaimer for you all:

I bought this product with my own money, I am not being paid to make this review, nor will I be reimbursed for my work. I’m just trying to give an open and honest review on Fairtrade items I buy to help raise awareness as to how easy it is to do.

And so here we go! Today’s Fairtrade Friday shout out goes to…

The Environmental Toothbrush.

‘What the heck is that’ I hear you ask? Well, The Environmental Toothbrush is a simply amazing toothbrush and one I stumbled upon more from my desire to strive for zero waste than to support Fairtrade. I am just thrilled that – although they do not show a Fairtrade certification on their site or products – they do state this is a ‘fair trade’ item. See my little conversation about this above.

Okay, back to the toothbrush. It is made from sustainably grown (not planation produced) bamboo in China. It is then treated with ‘non nasty chemicals’ and has some BPA free bristle attached. Seriously, if you want to know the real technical side of it, please go visit their site here.

My rating?

3 out of 5 stars.

 We bought some of these toothbrushes last year and we do love them and love the fact they are affordable AND we can just go chuck them in the compost when we’re done with them and just know they’re going to breakdown and be way better for the earth that the plastic ones we used to buy.

These toothbrushes are, sadly, all identical and this can be an issue. But I, wisely, had my three kids write their names and draw little pictures on the handles to identify whose is who’s before we used them. And as the handle doesn’t go in the mouth, I don’t worry about the pen ink being consumed. So, yes, identical toothbrushes but easy to personalise.

Although they are fabulous, my hubby finds even the adult ones a little small and petite for him. We are tall people and don’t have a heck of a lot of petiteness going for us and so the size is an issue. BUT! He does tell me the benefits of what the toothbrush is, how it is made and how environmentally friendly it is to get rid of far outweigh this size issue. It’s also great they now come in different bristle levels (soft, medium, hard) as they never used to. So, yes, they are too small for big people to use comfortably. But can still be used, and are worth the mild discomfort of having to hold it only between two fingers to be able to use it, thanks their biodegradable nature.

You can buy the toothbrushes direct from The Environmental Toothbrush people, or get them from either online or instore at any good health food shop. I know of half a dozen places here in the Adelaide Hills I can buy them no sweat. And they are always the same price as they are online.

Some people have complained that they don’t last long… but I’ve always been of the belief you should change your toothbrush every season! So you’re going through 4 toothbrushes per person in the house every year! That alone was such a sobering thought that it was why I started to seek out a biodegradable option. At least twenty five plastic toothbrushes going into landfill from my home, each year? No thanks!

I’ve also been asked how well they clean. Well, we’ve had no major dental emergencies, no holey teeth and no fillings required for the kids (us old fogeys and our decades of tooth abuse…. We won’t go there 😉 ) so I’d say they are doing a good enough job. Heck, they were designed by a dentists and, again, I’d like to think they know what they’re doing when it comes to dental hygiene. No, I don’t think I blindly put my trust in others too easily, I just think some trust is better than doubting everyone.

Would I recommend this product to others?

Yes I would. Definitely. They do the job they’re designed to do, they are made ethically and in an environmentally friendly manner, they state they are fairly traded; they are an excellent price for what you get and using them cuts down on the amount of plastic being made, used and thrown out into the world. Out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind and any product that helps us move towards zero waste is an awesome product!

Would I buy this item for myself?

Yes I would. In fact I just saw on their website you can buy a year’s supply for a great price and so I will be heading back over there shortly to look into that little bargain. If I can buy them all at once instead of every few months that cuts down on ‘travel miles’ adding to the carbon footprint we leave behind. Yes, I’m always thinking outside the box for items we bring into our home!

In summary – This is an AWESOME product! A biodegradable toothbrush. BPA free, fairly traded, suitable for vegans (as no animal products used – some alternative toothbrushes use pig’s bristles) and all in all something I think you should check out for your family today!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

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