No matter where you stand on the issue, pretty much everybody is familiar with the great plastic straw debate. While many people believe that plastic straw bans are clearly best for the environment, others worry that a ban on them makes life even harder for people with disabilities. While the straw discussion is getting a lot of attention, one female entrepreneur has a different plastic she wants to nix: toothbrushes.
Christina Ramirez, who launched her startup Plus Ultra in 2012, talked to CNN about her mission to replace people's everyday plastic toothbrushes with bamboo instead.
"Just like plastic straws, we use toothbrushes several times a day. Just like straws, they end up in landfills and oceans and we don't think about their harmful impact," Ramirez told CNN.
According to CNN, Ramirez started the project back when she was working at a Whole Foods in Venice Beach, California. The concept had been around even longer, going back to when she was a college student at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Today, you can purchase her bamboo toothbrushes in 22 states at 320 retail locations. For a really convenient option, you can find them at both Whole Foods and Amazon.
Plastic waste is a serious problem. It's estimated that eight metric tons of plastic waste reach our oceans every year. Tons sit in landfills. Over 90 percent of plastic is never recycled. Going plastic free in small, every day ways, is a great way to make a big difference over time.
As Ramirez explains to CNN, her bamboo toothbrushes are not actually recyclable. "Overall it is 99% biodegradable, with the exception of the dentist recommended nylon bristles and metal staples," said Ramirez. "Our toothbrush still has to be effective. We value high performing products, as well as the environment."
When it comes to living sustainably, making a small change can add up to a big difference. While living a totally plastic-free life may seem overwhelming, there's no need to jump in all at once. Focusing on a small change you can make on a consistent basis, like switching to a bamboo toothbrush or reusable straws, is a great habit to maintain. Spreading awareness to those around you, and sharing resources and tips, can also make a big difference!