Creating a Virtuous Circle
Based in Ireland VirtueBrush is creating a more Sustainable World one brush at a time. We are on a mission harness the brushing power of the masses to improve the health of Planet Earth and its inhabitants. VirtueBrush supply plastic free personal care products to help people reduce their plastic footprint. As a company we want to be part of the solution for creating a sustainable future. There are a number of areas in which we will be able to make a positive impact (to create a virtuous circle) for those who choose to VirtueBrush.
Plastic Free Alternatives
Firstly the fact that the VirtueBrush has a 100% Bamboo handle helps reduce the burden of plastic on the environment. If each of us were to use just one toothbrush annually this would generate 100,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year. This is plastic that never really goes away and does tremendous damage to the environment. Rather than being manufactured with a plastic handle we use Moso Bamboo – a highly sustainable material that is naturally antibacterial. Bamboo has over 1,000 documented uses and it’s high time we started using it more and more to replace disposable plastic products like toothbrushes and that’s a big part of why we created this business.
Plastic Free Advocacy
Secondly we are using our marketing communications to promote sustainable living and we think toothbrushes are a great product to use as they are something we all use every day in a personal way. We have joined the plasticpollutioncoalition.org and advocate stopping the production of unnecessary disposable plastics at source so these products never end up in landfill or our oceans, creating damage in particular to the World’s Oceans.
Restoring the Earth
Thirdly we pledge to plant three trees per VirtueBrush sold online and one tree per brush sold in retail shops. Our not-for-profit partner for this initiative is ‘Trees for the Future’ (Trees.org). Nearly all of the trees planted are either native or naturalised in the environments where they are planted. Three trees may not seem a lot but as Depeche Mode say “everything counts in large amounts”. We are setting ourselves a target of planting 100,000 trees by 2020 as part of this initiative, and 1 million trees by 2025. A tree can sequester around 48 pounds of CO2 per year from the atmosphere so 1 million trees would sequester over 210,000 tonnes of CO2 per year while also supporting jobs in the local communities where the reforestation is happening. A mature tree can provide enough oxygen for two people per year. Of course there are numerous other benefits that trees and forests provide including seeding clouds and helping to regulate the climate.
IMAGE: Dylan Regan of VirtueBrush, TV3 2016
Dylan Regan describes himself as an “Ecopreneur”
(an Environmentally Motivated Entrepreneur) –
(an Environmentally Motivated Entrepreneur) –
“I am a person who has been interested in sustainability for a long time who was frustrated with the level of plastic in my life. I think a lot of people are feeling that frustration these days. They see there is a serious environmental problem with plastic and have very few good alternatives to choose from to help them escape from it. The toothbrush is a good example as it is something you use everyday for your whole life. You replace it 5 or 6 times a year yet every toothbrush you ever used is probably in a landfill somewhere or floating on top of the world’s oceans. So I decided an eco-friendly toothbrush with plant based materials would be a good product to bring to market – as I couldn’t find one in shops myself. After a lot of research I found that Bamboo would be the best material to use because of its amazing material and environmental virtues.”
Virgin Unite IMPACT Award
The 2016 Virgin Business UK & Ireland VOOM competition, gave us the motivation to jump into marketing the VirtueBrush as there was a clear fit with where we wanted to go with our business and the IMPACT category of the competition. This is for businesses that put social and environmental impact, as well as commercial success at the heart of their business. We were delighted to be chosen as Finalists for the IMPACT Category of this prestigious business competition. Over 2,500 businesses entered the award from across the UK and Ireland. The judging team consisted of: Holly Branson, Special Projects Manager at Virgin Group and Chair of Virgin Unite, Alison Fort, Acting CEO and MD Europe of Toniic, Jude Ower, Founder/CEO of Playmob, Michael Lynas, CEO at UK National Citizen Service, Anna Jones, Entrepreneurship Director at Virgin Unite and Ed Muuls, Investment Director at Virgin Management Ltd.