Small parts of our routine tend to have a big environmental impact, for instance, floss is good for our teeth but it is terrible for the ocean and turns it into a plastic minefield. Toothbrush bristles as well as floss are made up of nylon which is not biodegradable but another thing that makes it dangerous is that it is designed to not tear causing serious harm to ocean life. When looking at these issues it is clear that we need to move away from single-use plastics and find a more eco-friendly, long-term solution like the Seventh Generation Beam – a customizable, subscription-based, plastic-free set that is designed to be the all-in-one sustainable oral care kit.
Did you know one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States, creating 50 million pounds of waste annually? The production of the nylon bristles on each toothbrush causes nitrous oxide to be produced and released into the atmosphere as a bi-product; nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that is 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Seventh Generation’s goal is to limit harmful chemicals and they use plant-based ingredients, scents made from real ingredients, and no synthetic fragrances/dyes in their products. It encourages the importance of wellness is in our personal care, household products, and generally in our everyday lifestyle. The concept demands we expand our understanding of what nourishes us without harming the planet through beautiful and innovative design.
The aim is to create 100% plastic-free packaging. The challenge is to rebrand a traditional product line and redesign the packaging system to be fully sustainable while utilizing no plastic or bioplastic. Biomaterials like tin, wood pulp, plant cellulose, food waste, grass, algae, and mushrooms are being considered. It will all be sustainably sourced, preferably materials that are at the end of their lives and can be composed into biomass to regenerate depleted farming soils.
The design and aesthetics are playful, warm, organic and unlike the language, one might typically associate with “eco-friendly products” which usually only sparks the idea of “bamboo”. Seventh Generation shows that innovation and changing the things we choose can be achieved with visuals just as much as the value added by the product itself.
The kit consists of toothpaste tablets, refillable floss, and a toothbrush. While this is a concept, the aim is to make these products plastic-free as well. Toothpaste tablets already exist and help reduce product and chemical waste while eco-friendly floss and toothbrushes are also gaining popularity as people become more aware of the consequences their actions have on the environment.
Designer: Beatrice Ma