One of my favorite scenes from Objectified is the IDEO toothbrush brainstorm. It never struck me before how hard it would be to redesign a product that has become so universal. Which is why I love “THIS” – an organic biodegradable alternative to the toothbrush.
The story of THIS starts in the School of Visual Arts where design student Leen Sadder was challenged by a professor to redesign the first thing she threw out after class. Similar to the IDEO story inspired by a toothbrush found washed up on a shore, Leen’s toothbrush was the first thing she happened to dispose of.
During her research, Leen found that for millennia, many people in Asia and the Middle East have never used toothbrushes or toothpaste for that matter. Instead, they cleaned their teeth with Miswak – a twig made from the Salvadora persica tree. People would bite off the top with every use to reveal soft bristles similar to that of a toothbrush.
Leen’s idea is to package the twig, make it user-friendly with the help of cigar cutter-like cap, and then distribute it to the mass market. Since the twig is completely natural and therefore biodegradable, no one will ever have to worry again about finding toothbrushes on pristine beaches.