Now that a number of global coffee shop and restaurant chains have pledged a phase-out of plastic straws, the fight against plastic pollution turns to the next big problem item – the ubiquitous toothbrush. This is where Ukraine’s Effa steps in. The finalist of this year’s clim@ competition for startups organized by the Green for Growth Fund (GGF) has developed a disposable toothbrush made of recycled paper and other eco-clean materials.
It takes about 500,000 years for plastic to disappear, and when it starts disintegrating, it results in microplastics whose impact on human health is yet to be determined. Apart from the pollution it creates after it is dumped, one of the biggest problems with conventional plastic is that it is made from fossil fuels. Industry projections show that disposable plastics will be the top driver of a growth of plastic production in the years to come.
A “plastic whale” released into oceans every minute
Every day hotels and airlines dump around 6 tons of plastic disposable toothbrushes. And that is only a portion of plastic waste polluting nature. An amount equal to the size of a whale, one of the largest animals to have ever lived on Earth, ends up in oceans every minute.
This “plastic whale” is composed mostly of disposable products such as water bottles, plastic bags, and daily hygiene items, including disposable toothbrushes. The disposable toothbrush is the first plastic item Effa has decided to tackle. Its reasoning is that people travel a lot, and of course, “always forget to take their toothbrush.”
Simple, stylish, clean
Simple, stylish, and clean, the Effa toothbrush targets hotels and airlines, but also prisons, in a bid to offer an environmentally friendly alternative to the plastic counterpart. Using an Effa toothbrush makes one care for the environment from early morning till late night, the startup says.
The body of the Effa toothbrush is made of paper and is covered with a nano-layer of PLA, an innovative material made from cornstarch, while the part holding the bristles is also made of PLA, as paper is not a resilient enough material. The bristles themselves are made partly of Nylon and partly of castor oil, which makes for an all-around eco-friendly toothbrush. And as a cherry on top, Effa’s packaging which is made of paper that dissolves in water, with no harm to nature.
Effa has already forged its first partnerships in the EU and is preparing the first batch of 100,000 disposable toothbrushes.
A range of disposables made of eco-friendly materials planned
Effa plans to fight the plastic pollution not only with its toothbrush. Through 2021, the startup plans to produce a range of disposables made of eco-friendly materials, which it says will be a way for people to care about the environment every second of their lives.
The startup’s message is: “Let’s make the planet great again!”
Dasha Vasilenko, Co-Founder, Project Manager at KRKA Pharmaceuticals
Ilya Kichuk, Founder, Art and Marketing Director in the startup industry
Konstantin Sherbina, CTO, Technical Engineer of Antonov Aviation Factory
Ron Bloemers, Key Advisor, Climate KIC mentor, Founder of Tuk Tuk and Waka Waka
Pieter Verberne, Key Advisor, Climate KIC mentor, McKensey Analyst