Smile Squared has launched a cool new program that gives an environmentally-friendly toothbrush to a child in need in a developing country for each one sold. Because dental care is an important part of preventing chronic diseases and keeping a healthy smile, Smile Squared is aiming to give away one million toothbrushes by 2015 – and they’re not stopping there. Since over 50 million pounds of toothbrushes are tossed in the trash each year in the US alone, rather than adding to the waste, the company is trying to offset mainstream toothbrush trash by making their toothbrushes out of biodegradable, compostable, BPA-free bamboo.
The program was started by husband and wife entrepreneurial team Eric and Geri Cope, after a trip they took to Guatemala in 2011. The couple joined a dental clinic and began performing charitable dental work for the underprivileged children in the area. There, says Eric, “We saw children who had preventable, and sometimes severe dental problems. But many of the same children didn’t own a toothbrush.” When the couple looked at the facts from the World Health Organization, they realized that dental diseases are the most prevalent chronic diseases, with an estimated 5 billion people worldwide suffering from tooth decay. Globally, the prevalence of decay among school age children is reported at 60-90%, and in most developing countries, more than 90% of this decay goes untreated.
The Copes wanted to create a sustainable way to help children through establishing their own social enterprise, and set their sights on a simple, and practical solution: giving eco-friendly toothbrushes to children in need. In late 2011, they received their first shipment of Smile Squared toothbrushes. The brushes, which retail for only $5.95 individually for both adult and child sizes, can also be donated in pairs for $5.95 total, or purchased in retail bundles at discounted prices.
As of February this year the Copes have given away over 7,400 Smile Squared toothbrushes, working with a number of multiple charities including Buckner International, Save Their Smiles, Hand of Hope, and also International Justice Mission, who places Smile Squared toothbrushes in their after-care kits for children freed from sex trafficking and bonded labor slavery.
Creating an environmentally responsible business was also a priority for the Copes. After learning that 50 million pounds of toothbrushes are tossed into American landfills annually, the Copes pledged to make a toothbrush that was different. Both adult and children’s size Smile Squared toothbrushes are made of eco-friendly components, including a BPA-free, biodegradable, sustainably-grown bamboo handle, and recyclable DuPontTM Tynex bristles. The Smile Squared brushes even come packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes!
To purchase a toothbrush for yourself, or to send a set or two to some children in need, visit the Smile Squared website.