Recycled plastic in dental products: Product developer interview
We are working on implementing recycled plastic in all of our core products, but why aren't all products 100% recycled plastic by now, and why do some products take longer? We had a chat with our Product Developer Kristin, to dive deeper into the journey towards more sustainable oral care products.
Why do some of our products not have fully 100% recycled plastic in them?
A part of our strategy to reach Jordan’s sustainability goals is for all of our plastic to come from renewable or recycled sources by 2025. Furthermore, 100% of our packaging will also be recyclable. Recycling plastic waste is a mindful and visionary step.
As one of the first in our industry we successfully used recycled plastic since 2018, via our Green Clean range. Today almost our entire adult toothbrush portfolio has gone from virgin to recycled plastic. We are very proud of this. The experience we’ve gained on this journey has been necessary for us when we now strive for 100%.
Every day we work closely with producers to make post-consumer recycled toothbrush samples. These are tested in our own labs and at research centres abroad to ensure that the strict demands for quality are met. What may not be obvious to all, is that when working on oral care that is in direct contact with the mouth, you need to work extra thoroughly to ensure the health and safety of the product is front and centre.
To put it simply, there’s a huge difference between developing a chair using recycled plastic as it’s aimed to sit on, whereas the toothbrush is intended for direct contact with the mouth. A dental care product needs to undergo extensive tests to ensure the quality and safety of the product. When our consumers see that some of our toothbrushes have made a full 100% score of recycled plastic in the near future, you can be sure they meet the strict standards.
What products may be harder to use recycled in?
Some of our products can be easier to recycle than others.
A 100% pulp packaging is easy to both communicate how to discard, and for the recycling stations to handle, as it’s also pretty similar in each region or corner of the globe. A toothbrush, however, is not so straight forward.
A toothbrush typically consists of more than just one component. Take the Jordan Green Clean Baby Brush for instance, where the soft rubber (or TPE) is a vital part of the ergonomics given that the design goal was to provide better dental care for small teeth that are growing. If this part was PP, it might be to hard for babies gums, and in turn not provide the same desired outcome. This is a good example of a product, where we’ve tried to maximize the ergonomic output and minimize the waste, by using post-consumer, yet safe plastic, while providing parents with the best possible product for their babies.
We are constantly looking for new solutions that interlinks sustainability and oral care health.
Is recycled plastic as good as “new” plastic?
Virgin plastic is typically more durable on the molecular level than recycled resins. This is why we have to undergo strict regulations in order to achieve top-performing toothbrushes while using recycled plastic. There will always be a balance between sustainability, functionality and aesthetics – but in the end, the health and safety of our products is our number one priority.
At Jordan, we believe health is very much interlinked with sustainability, and therefore our trustworthy quality is front and center in everything we do. If we’ve introduced recycled plastic in our toothbrushes, our consumers can be sure it meets the highest quality standards.
Why is it better for the environment to use recycled?
Recycling plastic requires almost 90% less energy and less fossil fuel consumption than producing virgin plastic from scratch. The saved energy can help to create more recycled products. Therefore, this is one of the most efficient ways to decrease the over-consumption of plastics and save natural resources.
We use FDA-approved plastic that comes from post-consumer waste such as food containers. Our new Green Clean baby toothbrush for example uses yoghurt cups. If it does not get approved it doesn’t make the cut.
You might like: Recycled Plastic products: How are they made?
There is a jungle out there of suppliers providing recycled materials, but it doesn’t mean they are good for you and your health. Of course, we want to enable people to take care of their teeth and the environment at the same time! Therefore we try to implement recycled or bio-based materials in our toothbrushes whenever possible.
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