Bridget Rose is a young woman on a grand mission – to make the products we use to keep our pearly whites shining bright more planet friendly.
When we chatted to Bridget for this story, we were captivated by her energy and enthusiasm for positive change. At just 25, Bridget has challenged the global dental industry to become more sustainable with her hugely popular biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes.
Somewhat randomly, Bridget started down this path while scrubbing cruise ship passengers’ teeth to a fine shine.
During her work as an onboard teeth whitening specialist, Bridget realised most dental products are harsh, chemical-based and not so good for us or the planet. So in 2013, she created an alternative and launched Pearl Bar, a natural teeth-whitening clinic in Melbourne’s Chapel Street.
Just a few weeks later, Bridget bravely flipped her entire business model to focus on the charcoal-infused bamboo toothbrushes she’d originally made purely as a marketing tool.
“I got my first order in, tried one and just became obsessed with it. They looked so cute. And I looked around to see what else was available and there weren’t many other options,” Bridget told us.
Here’s why we think Pearl Bar’s bamboo toothbrushes are awesome. They’re 100 per cent biodegradable, including the plastic wrapping they come in. And, kind of incredibly, each one lasts as long as a conventional plastic toothbrush yet takes just one-thousandth of the time to break down once thrown away.
“It sounds so ridiculous, but I didn’t realise that plastic basically doesn’t break down. I thought that since we use so much of it, there must be some solution,” Bridget told us.
“We replace our toothbrushes every two to three months and that’s just a drain on our environment. Australia alone disposes of more than 30 million toothbrushes a year.”
Pearl Bar toothbrush handles are made from sustainably grown Chinese bamboo and the bristles from activated charcoal – “one of nature’s best cleaning agents,” Bridget says. Charcoal’s a natural antibacterial and antifungal, helps reduce cavity-forming bacteria that causes bad breath, and is a natural teeth whitener to boot.
Not long ago, after fielding countless requests for natural dental floss, Bridget added biodegradable floss picks to Pearl Bar’s range.
Traditional dental floss, she says, is made from nylon coated with wax, a super strong thread that can’t be composted or recycled and therefore always ends up in landfill.
In contrast, Pearl Bar’s floss picks are made from charcoal so they can be returned to the earth after use without causing any harm to Mother Nature. Naturally, we couldn’t wait to add them to the Fairlings shop.
Bridget says she’s surprised more companies haven’t embraced biodegradable solutions and has issued a challenge to others to lift their game.
“Every classic product can be enhanced to make it biodegradable so it’s shocking that not every company chooses to do that. It’s not that much more expensive to make products biodegradable,” she says.
Bridget’s not exactly one to do things by halves. Recently, she left Melbourne to try out life in Los Angeles. And she says her research into planet-friendly oral care has sparked dramatic changes in other areas of her life, too – she’s cut out plastic bags, switched to natural beauty care and gone vegan.
We love that she’s channelled her new life ethos back into her business. All Pearl Bar’s products are fair-traded and vegan. And Bridget donates 10 per cent of each sale to charities like Greenpeace and The Salvation Army.
“It’s wild, once you get one foot in the door you unlock a whole new world – and I wouldn’t have any other way,” she says.