Sunday, November 13, 2011

Not an ode to my new toothbrush

Good morning everyone,

I hope you are all well and happy.

Today I'm going to talk about a very small matter: my new toothbrush.

My new toothbrush has a curvy blue and white handle. Some parts of it are much thicker than others. One place has little bumps. The bristles are higher around the edges than in the middle; the outer central bristles are a different colour from the rest.

The curves are supposed to be ergonometrically correct, ie. they are supposed to fit my hand so I'm comfortable brushing my teeth and will do so longer than I used to. The place with the little bumps - I'm guessing - is to keep my fingers from slipping as I hold the toothbrush; this will prevent me from jamming the toothbrush into a tooth and breaking it, or stuffing it down my throat and choaking. By not doing these damaging things, I will not sue the maker of the toothbrush.

As it turns out ... the way I hold the toothbrush has the handle curve pressing into my palm, instead of my palm curving into it. So, that part doesn't work.

I've not had my hand slip yet, so maybe the bumpy part works. However, since I've never had a previous toothbrush escape my grasp, I cannot make a fair judgement.

As for the bristles, both lengths feel the same ... I'm guessing the coloured ones are a signal to me to use them to do the little gum-line wiggle that one is supposed to do while brushing ... they are sort of a target zone. I don't know if this makes a difference.

The thing that got me started on this is realizing that the handle of the toothbrush, with its two types of plastic, must surely use twice as much plastic as an old-fashioned, basically straight-handled toothbrush.

So, it's a good thing that before I toss out an old toothbrush, it goes through use as a cleaning tool.

And you know what? I just realized that the handle fits my hand better when it's turned over for use as a grout scrubber. So, next year I'll have a good cleaning tool.

Here I sit, shaking my head in wonder at it all. I make the wage I make. You make the wage you make. A designer making $40,000 - $60,000 a year designed this toothbrush and a major drug store chain paid for it to be made. If I had cable TV, I might even know if the company pays to advertise this minor hygiene tool.

Let's guess that my new toothbrush wasn't even made on the North American continent and certainly not by unionized workers. Were the resources used to make it taken from the country where it was made? Were the resources transported by fossil-fuel using ship to that country, then transported back to North America? I know the handle wasn't from a recycled plastic, because that information was not noted and promoted on the package ... and such recycling may not always use less resources overall anyway.

Did I mention that I hate shopping? Even for the little things like a toothbrush?

How does this relate to saving the world in my spare time? Good question. Maybe only insofar as if I keep my teeth in good shape and spare myself huge dental bills, I'll be able to make a few Christmas donations to environment groups.

Best regards to all, as always,

Why's Woman


Michael Griffin said...

Your toothbrush story is an eye-opener that proves simple things can change the view of a person when it comes to caring for the environment. You've found a clever way to recycle old toothbrushes by reusing them again to clean other stuff! You are so dedicated with what you stand for, and people would be inspired when they hear the kind of devotion you have to that practice.

Marlena Tillens said...

Toothbrushes, just like the other human needs, require resources and energy to produce. Using them properly is one way of making sure that each toothbrush serves its purpose well. :)