Viewpoints on Innovation

Sustainability Shout Out: Bite. Sustainable, Plastic-Free Toothcare

Consumer Goods Packaging
Comment

The Bite is a company founded on two questions. Why does toothpaste come in plastic tubes and what exactly are we putting in our bodies when we brush our teeth?”

Founders Lindsay McCormick and Asher Hunt designed an all-natural, gluten-free, cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and plastic-free oral hygiene company. Currently, they are an online direct-to-consumer brand. The “toothpaste” is a tablet. Just bite on the tablet, wet your toothbrush and brush as normal.

The ingredients are simple and do not contain materials of concern and use only recyclable, biodegradable or compostable materials. 

  • Tablets contain all-natural, sustainable ingredients.
  • The initial jar of the toothpaste tablets (they call bits) is a refillable glass jar with an aluminum lid.
  • Primary packaging for refilling the jar is a 100% home compostable pouch made from FSC managed forests. 
  • Even the toothbrushes are made in 2 pieces. The bamboo handle is compostable and reusable, but the bristle portion is not. 
  • Shipping packaging is more sustainable because it uses post-consumer and recyclable cardboard packaging with paper tape and recycled kraft fill.
  • Shipping methods are also more sustainable.  They do not offer rush shipping and use the US Postal Service.  According to MIT, this has a lower carbon footprint than express delivery and brick & mortar stores.

Learnings

This small direct-to-consumer company is attempting to re-invent oral hygiene with sustainable practices. Many larger companies have sustainability targets—especially around waste reduction. Targets like “reduce virgin plastic by 75% before 2030” frequently seem clear to those drafting these targets. In practice, however, admirable targets such as these may imply limitations to acceptable change or imply a desire for incrementalism to the product teams. Using the virgin plastic target as an example, a product team may deliver the same plastic container using recycled plastic. This is fine, but what if you reshaped the bottle? Could you lower transportation costs and greenhouse gas emissions? 

Targets are good, but targets are not a product sustainability strategy. A product sustainability strategy helps translate corporate sustainability strategies to products. A well-considered strategy includes space to consider the full-value chain impact, to break traditional product forms and to discover the exciting breakthrough innovation that seem to elude larger companies.

Originally published on June 25th, 2020

What's your view? Add your question or comment

Topics: breakthrough innovation, consumer goods, cpg, direct to consumer, personal care products, plastic-free, product innovation, sustainability, sustainability shout out, sustainability shout outs, sustainable design, sustainable innovation, sustainable packaging, sustainable shipping

About the Author

Rein Singfield

Rein Singfield

Rein is recognized for delivering high quality, data-driven solutions to solve strategy and process issues across multiple industries with a focus on fast-moving consumer goods.
More Viewpoints by Rein Singfield

What's Your View?

comments powered by Disqus

Don't miss future posts.
Get Viewpoints Digests delivered right to your inbox.

Subscribe Now Leave me alone