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Sustainable Living: A Beginners Guide

Posted by Simon Cooper on

Let me start by saying this: the movement towards more sustainable products is great. Over the few years I’ve been building Grin toothbrush, I’ve noticed a real change in people’s willingness to try, new, eco products.


There’s one thing that drives me nuts: the guilt. When trying to encourage people to ‘go green’ there is often a tendency to come across as ‘preachy’. So bear with me for a second…

A Short Rant

I believe that brands and manufacturers (often the mega-corporations) should be responsible for the products they produce. Life is busy. Spending valuable time trying to reduce your carbon footprint is honourable, but we shouldn’t be responsible for their waste.

Companies who make the the products we need should be responsible for what they put out into the world. (Which is exactly why I started Grin – read about it here.) Whether self-enforced or government regulated, consumers should not be forced to choose between wasteful products.

With that rant over, here are some tips to help you use less wasteful products.

How to Start

  1. Find the Source

Where is your waste coming from? I know for our family, eating is a source of a sickening amount of plastic waste. Every meal seems to produce a bunch of plastic waste. Notice in your day-to-day life where your waste is coming from.

I wrote a blog post about some good alternatives to plastic bags in the kitchen which you can read here.

  1. Phase in better alternatives

Don’t throw away a bunch of stuff and replace them with eco-friendly alternatives. Wait until they need replacing and then choose better products that you can afford. (A lot of environmentally friendly products are expensive simply because the companies that make them are making smaller volumes. This makes it tough to compete with the P&G’s of the world who pump out bazillions of wasteful products at super low prices.)

  1. Low hanging fruit

Start by weeding out the obvious culprits and you’ll have a great start. Then, you’ll be in the right mindset to notice other areas where you can make small improvements. Living a plastic free lifestyle isn’t easy given the products on store shelves, but if everyone of us makes a small shift in the things we consume, it has a huge effect.

Get a Grin

Grin toothbrush is one of those. Disposable, plastic toothbrushes are terrible for the planet. Billions are thrown in the garbage every year. That’s what I created Grin—to make an eco friendly toothbrush alternative.

Grin’s aluminum handle is a much better toothbrush design because it doesn’t roll over and collect old toothpaste. (It’s also much more beautiful than throw-away plastic ones). But the real benefit is that you keep it and only replace the brush head.

Grin’s brush heads weigh 4 grams, compare that to disposable toothbrushes that weight ~25 grams and the math says Grin uses 16% as much plastic. 6 Grin toothbrush heads use less plastic than 1 disposable! Plus, unlike plastic drugstore models, our brush heads are recyclable. You just have the remove the bristles and they can be put in your blue box.

Whatever you do to reduce your carbon footprint is great. Don’t feel bad about things you know are wasteful because chances are you didn’t make them. We can all make a difference together.

Update: I just stumbled across this article in the Guardian, which is really good. 

Thanks for reading and Grin on!

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