RADIUS: Bristling with Conviction


When it comes to “doing my bit”, toothbrushes never crossed my mind.

I should add that yes, although I’m a Brit, I do still have all my teeth and I look after them. I also change my toothbrush at regular intervals, because when brushes get that splayed-out look, they’re no good to anyone (unless they want something to clean the chain of their bicycle – my upcycling tip of the day). But since modern toothbrushes are made of plastic, suddenly they don’t look so inconsequential.

Fortunately, there’s RADIUS. They’ve invented a toothbrush called Source where 80% is made from renewable materials – more specifically, recycled wood fiber or flax (or, most recently, recycled dollar bills), mixed with recovered & recoverable polypropylene. The heads of the brushes are the throwaway part, and yes, they’re plastic – but represent just a fifth of the disposable material of a standard toothbrush.

It’s a sign that Radius want to take their eco-responsibilities seriously, and in his letter to me, Radius’s Tamu Kemp noted: “We regrind our toothbrushes. We recirculate our water. We walk to work. We design our products to last longer. We design out products to waste less.

More than that, they make products that do the job better than any I’ve seen (barring electric toothbrushes, that is). The Radius brushes have an unusually wide head with extra bristles, and they really explore your gums when you brush – getting around the age-old problem of teeth getting more attention than the rest of your mouth. I also have to mention the floss they sent, which is natural silk coated in beeswax (not a hint of plastic), and by far the best I’ve ever used, smooth without being sharp.


They also sent me a second brush, and for a second, I thought the whole thing was a green bust. Their Original brush is a translucent stick of curiously-molded material that looks like plastic, hence my misgivings – but it’s actually cellulose. It fits beautifully into the palm of your hand – but only one of them. Each brush is either right-handed or left-handed, because of the central recess where you slot your thumb. The difference in brushing? Quite remarkable – literally a whole new angle on things.

Yes, this is a glowing review – but then I feel these are glowing products. The eco-friendliness aside, Radius’s range seem to lead the field in functionality  – but these definitely are greener products, containing far less waste material than normal. They’re a little more expensive, as you’d expect from innovative new products, but in this case I’m quite happy to put my money where my mouth is.

Images: RADIUS

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.