bogobrush: bamboo toothbrush with nylon bristles is 100% biodegradable bogobrush: bamboo toothbrush with nylon bristles is 100% biodegradable
nov 19, 2012

bogobrush: bamboo toothbrush with nylon bristles is 100% biodegradable

‘bogobrush’ by john + heather mcdougallall images courtesy of bogobrush



the first 100% biodegradable toothbrush, the ‘bogobrush‘ was conceived by john and heather mcdougall, a brother and sister duo hailing from north dakota. children of a family of dentists, the siblings joined forces to resolve two issues they observed with the everyday utensil. first, the widely used plastic and rubber options currently retire to landfills. second, there is a large amount of people that cannot afford dental care.


to resolve the first problem, the cylindrical handle is carved from bamboo, a woody plant which is easily and rapidly grown. bristles made from nylon will last for the length of its recommended three month lifespan. these materials will fully break down, enabling users to toss the brush by simply burying it in their yard. composting and safely returning to nature, the eco-friendly alternative will alleviate the stress of the 450 million which end up in the trash every year, and this figure is in the united states alone.


an environmentally and socially minded venture, the cost of one includes a second which is sent to an individual in need. the pair is collaborating with organizations in the cities of atlanta, detroit and minneapolis-saint paul. the team is continuing to make relationships with communities to grow their reach.purchasing a single limited edition includes one toothbrush while a yearly subscription will deliver a fresh replacement every three months, both to you and someone in need. shipping begins in march of 2013, pre-order a brush here



blue handle and bristles



the handle’s bamboo grain and sleek form replaces the rubber grips found on currently prevalent brushes



the yearly package delivers one brush every three months, to the purchaser and someone in need



bogobrush: the first toothbrush you’ll actually care about
  • Great design, is it easy to produce?We are brush manufacturer and exporter in China, could we have more info about this design of bamboo toothbrush?

    Henry says:
  • I love this tooth brush! especially that with any purchase I’m also helping someone in need and helping the environment as well …but isn’t $40.00 a bit steep? I would like to see what others have to say about the price. As I live in Germany the cost of shipping would definitely play a part in an order. Good Luck to you Both! Cathy

    Cathy says:
  • Bogo = Bogus

    1. Nylon is NOT biodegradable therefore this toothbrush is not completely biodegradable. To make it completely biodegradable, the bristles would have to be made of natural (animal) bristles.

    2. Italian manufacturer Acca Kappa has been making a cellulose handled brush with natural bristles for decades now and it is — eventually biodegradable.

    3. There is a German manufacturer that has recently made a brush with a molded plastic handle made of a biodegradable plastic, however, this cannot be legally called biodegradable as it does not meet the degradability standards D6400 or EN13432 as defined by the US and EU standards. The thicker the handle, the longer it takes to biodegrade.

    4. After years of “green-washing” In the US there are strict packaging and marketing guidelines as to what can be claimed to be biodegradable, so you should do your homework.

    Otherwise, it’s a beautiful rendering!

    George says:
  • Bogobrush’s bristles are made of bio/plastic nylon, (polyamide 4) and studies have confirmed the material to naturally degrade within a few months of proper composting.

    George is correct that green washing had created a lot of confusion for Eco marketing, but as the CEO of Bogobrush, and a licensed attorney, I assure you we can back up our claim of biodegradability. We’ve reviewed all marketing standards, science, and consulted with experts to make sure we are telling an honest story.

    For more information about Bogobrush’s claims of biodegradability, please check out our FAQ or blog. And if question remain, please send us a message through our contact form.

    Thanks designboom for featuring our story, and thanks for the comments..we are so happy to communicate with you!

    Heather says:
  • It can not, however, just be “tossed in the backyard” as your company has claimed in most comments or articles. The only way Nylon 4 can be broken down “naturally” is by an activated sludge. [ ]
    Also, I noticed on another article that a company Smile Squared is basically doing the same thing, at a lower burden to the consumer, by BOGO’ing every purchase to people in need.

    Rohan says:
  • Hi Rohan and others,

    According to the International Journal of Molecular Science, Nylon 4 has been proven to “degrade in the soil, and in activated sludge.” The Journal cites several studies and asserts that the results prove that Nylon 4 is “readily degradable in the environment.”

    As mentioned in Heather’s comment above, the confusion and questions around eco-claims are definitely tricky, and we only want to tell an honest and true story. You can check out our blog post, “Biodegradable Bogobrush: What does that mean?” if you’d like to learn more about our current perspective on this topic.

    As for SmileSquared, we are aware of the company, and we appreciate their efforts. We have tested the brush they sell, along with many other bamboo toothbrushes like theirs, and we found the handles to be poorly designed and not very comfortable or enjoyable to use. We gave Bogobrush the attention to design that your toothbrush deserves, with a sculpted shape that will fit in every hand and help you brush your teeth easily…plus, it looks good, too.

    We are also really excited that with Bogobrush, you will be helping people in your own local community, and both you and the person in need can brush your teeth with a beautifully designed toothbrush.

    Bogobrush says:
  • From your article – “Generally speaking, degradation of polyamides is still unclear. Thus further investigations on the pathways of degradation are necessary.”

    Also – biodegradability of plastics, and especially bio-plastics has yet to be proven.

    In the article referenced as [88] in your article above it states that the nylon 4 was in the soil for greater than 10 years. This also states it was a controlled environment. [Hashimoto K, Hamano T, Okada M. Degradation of several polyamides in soil. J. Appl. Polymer. Sci. 1994;54:1579–1583.]

    Also – Just to note – I’d stay on just talking about your design rather than down talking another companies design. They have already done good work, and if your a truly social company you’d more of a supporter of their work, than down talking their design.

    Rohan says:
  • When I was in Korea i found toothpicks made of starch, and they are edible. Can you guys formulate a new type of starch to replace the toothbrush’s handle?

    I applaud any company taking a step into sustainable design, but for $10 per toothbrush it’s kind of hard to justify. Toms can pull off charging $40 for their shoes because it’s a fashion and lifestyle statement, similar to a Prius. But a toothbrush? when is the last time you showed off your tooth brush to a friend?

    SpecialK says:

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