Radius Scores with Source Toothbrush and Natural Floss

The Radius Source has a contoured handle that fits and a replaceable brush head. Photo: Julia Wasson

How many times a day do you brush your teeth? If you follow the advice of WebMD, you’ll brush twice a day – morning and night — and you’ll floss once a day.

Radius Source toothbrush handles are made with (l to r) recycled US Treasury bills, wood, or flax. Photo: Courtesy Radius

In a given year, you’re brushing at least 730 times. But when you count the strokes of the toothbrush in your mouth, you’re talking about a number in the thousands. Doesn’t it just make sense that you’d use high-quality tools for something you do so often to protect your oral health?

For years I’ve used whatever toothbrush my dentist gave me at my semi-annual checkups and with replacements from my local drugstore in between visits. They’re fine toothbrushes. Soft bristles. A relatively comfortable handle. Colorful, and sometime even fancy, but certainly serviceable. And until recently, I thought of all toothbrushes as disposable.

When I received a free sample of the Radius Source toothbrush, I got a whole new experience with dental hygiene. Once out of the package, its unique, molded shape fit my right hand perfectly.

But what if you’re a lefty? No worries. The brush head is removable and can easily be turned around so that the handle fits your left hand. Cool! Someone’s thinking about the 8–15% of the population who are left-handed. My old toothbrushes are supposed to work just as well in either hand — and they do — but the fit isn’t nearly as good as the Radius Source.

Replaceable Brush Head

There’s another advantage to being able to change the brush head, too. You can easily replace it when it wears out. If your dentist is like mine, he or she will likely suggest that you replace your toothbrush every three months. Others suggest replacing them more often, especially if you’ve had a cold or a cold sore or have dropped your toothbrush on the floor.

My Radius Source toothbrush isn't as flashy as the one my dentist gave me, but it's got many more bristles and is a lot more comfy in my hand. Photo: Julia Wasson

The Radius Source brush head is made from “surgical-grade” plastic and accounts for only 7% of the entire volume of plastic. I’m not sure why “surgical-grade” plastic is important, but I do know that the toothbrushes are free of Bisphenol A (BPA), so that’s very good.

The heads come with your choice of soft or medium bristles. My toothbrush has soft bristles, which is what my dentist recommended, and I find it scrubs my teeth quite well.

The only thing I’ve not been terribly pleased with is that I’ve lost four bristles over the course of a month of using the toothbrush. But there are way more than twice as many bristles in my Radius Source toothbrush as in the ones my dentist gives me, so what’s a lost bristle here or there?

The shape of the brush head is wide, tapering to a point at the top. I like this because it covers more of each tooth at a time, requiring fewer strokes. (Those of you who are more patient than I can use the same number of strokes and just clean your teeth more thoroughly.) And, the tapered end at the top is efficient at getting to the very back of my mouth.

A Handle that Fits Your Hand

So let’s get back to the other 93% of the toothbrush — the handle.  Forty-seven percent (47%) of each handle is made from renewable resources: recycled U.S. Treasury bills (you could have bits of a million dollars in your hand!), recycled flax, or recycled wood. Polypropylene plastic is used both to bond the scrap materials and make them rigid.

My toothbrush handle has flecks of flax inside. Photo: Julia Wasson

My free toothbrush handle contains flax. It’s a very dark brown, almost black, with lighter brown flecks throughout. The toothbrush made from recycled dollars appears in product photos to be dark brown or black, with green flecks — but it might even be a deep green. Hard to tell in the photo. The recycled wood toothbrush is a light brown color.

No, you can’t get that electric green, fire engine red, or passionate purple handle you might be used to. But think about how often you have to dispose of those colorful toothbrushes that don’t have replaceable heads.

There’s a huge chunk of plastic in every toothbrush. Even if you do recycle your old-style toothbrushes (possible, if your recycler takes #5 plastic), wouldn’t it be so much better (for the planet and your wallet) if you could just replace the worn-out head?

Another thing that’s missing on my toothbrush is all the bumpy, rubbery-feeling material used to help me grip it more tightly. But with the Radius Source, that’s not necessary, because the handle itself fits so well. I’d never thought very much about the handle of my toothbrush. But now that I’ve used the Radius Source, I’m definitely in favor of the wide, tapered shape.

As Joe said, when I asked him to hold my toothbrush in his hand, “It fits. The contour feels right.” So, it fits both a man’s and a woman’s hand. And, because the handle is much wider than any other toothbrush I’ve ever tried, I suspect it would also fit nicely into a much larger hand.

How Much?

Replacing the brush head is simple, easy, and inexpensive. Photo: Julia Wasson

There is a disadvantage you should be aware of: The Source won’t fit a standard, bathroom toothbrush holder. But then, my fancier toothbrushes from the dentist don’t fit it either. You can, however, purchase a Source toothbrush travel case from Radius for only $1.99. It’s intended for traveling, but you can easily protect your toothbrush in it at home, too. Or do as we do, and stand your toothbrushes brush-end-up in an attractive glass or other container.

So what about price? You could buy one toothbrush similar to the one my dentist gave me for $4.49 at Walgreens. Or you could buy one Radius Source toothbrush with an extra brush head for $6.95. When your Radius Source wears out, you can buy two replacement heads for $5.49. Or, when your regular-style toothbrush wears out, you can recycle the whole thing and start all over.

Don’t like the handle style of the Source version? Radius sells other unique styles, and has for 25 years.

Don’t Forget to Floss

You’ll also find floss at the Radius website. I received a container of the Natural Cranberry Floss. It tastes slightly tart (probably not a favorite of small kids) and has a red coloring that goes away as you use the floss. (It temporarily leaked off on my fingers when I tried to use it.)

Radius also makes floss, including both the unwaxed cranberry variety and a waxed variety. Photo: Courtesy Radius

Because my teeth are set very close together, I wasn’t able to comfortably use the floss. But Joe’s teeth have a bit more space between them. He has no problem with unwaxed floss and found it to work very well: “It’s almost like flossing with a piece of hair, it’s so thin.”

Radius sells a Natural Silk Floss, which is “spun in natural beeswax to help sliding through tight spaces.” That’s what I need, though I haven’t yet tried it.

Both floss styles retail for $2.99 for one container, $8.07 for a three-pack, or $14.35 for a six-pack — a considerable savings per container. Each floss container holds 50 meters of floss.

I almost didn’t write about the floss, because our policy is to only report on items we feel positive about, and I wasn’t able to use the Natural Cranberry Floss. But I can’t use any unwaxed floss, so that would have been a poor comparison. So, I got Joe’s opinion and, as you already read, he was positive about the floss. That’s good enough for me.

Update 6/15/10

An article posted by Dr. Mercola today links poor oral hygiene with heart disease. All the more reason to take good care of your teeth and gums!

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received a free sample of the products described in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Blue Planet Green Living’s review policy is to only review those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product, we do not review it. We are not influenced by complimentary products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

Blue Planet Green Living has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com. If you purchase this product or any other products through Amazon by clicking on our affiliate link, Blue Planet Green Living will receive a small financial compensation from Amazon, which we use to sustain this website.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)


Part 3: Finding a Battery Recycler

November 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Batteries, Blog, Front Page, Hazardous Waste, Landfill, Tips

Automotive lead-acid batteries waiting to be recycled. Photo credit: Joe Hennager.

Automotive lead-acid batteries waiting to be recycled. Photo credit: Joe Hennager.

Finding a battery recycling center sometimes feels like looking for Waldo in a crowd wearing red-and-white striped sweaters. In most cities and towns, there are recycling centers that accept almost everything. But battery recyclers can be elusive.

Just about as fast as you learn that a certain chain of stores is accepting batteries, you find out that they no longer provide that service. Or you’ll hear that another chain accepts all batteries, only to find they are won’t recycle alkaline batteries. The only slam-dunk in the battery recycling business sees to be rechargeables. Lead-acid automotive batteries aren’t far behind, with at least 38 states requiring retailers to accept used car batteries for recycling, at the time of this post.

If you look around long enough, you’ll eventually find recyclers who take all types of batteries, even for the common alkaline type, though they’re hardly on every corner. Be aware that some recyclers charge for the service. Here’s a brief overview of some of the major battery recyclers who advertise on the Internet.

Free Recycling for Rechargeables

More than 50,000 retailers in the U.S. accept rechargeable batteries through the Call2Recycle program, sponsored by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC). Go to the Call2Recycle website to enter your zip code and find a battery drop-off center near you. (Note: This service is free from RBRC at the time of this post. Check with your local battery recycler to find out whether there is a fee.)

The following retail chains are listed by RBRC as participating, but individual stores may not. It’s best to call ahead.

Recycle rechargeable batteries at a retailer near you. Photo credit: Joe Hennager.

Recycle rechargeable batteries at a retailer near you. Photo credit: Joe Hennager.

  • Batteries Plus
  • Best Buy
  • Black & Decker
  • Bosch
  • Circuit City
  • Home Depot
  • London Drugs
  • Lowe’s
  • Milwaukee Electric Tool
  • Office Depot
  • Office Max
  • RadioShack
  • Sears
  • Sony Style
  • Staples
  • Target
  • Zellers

Prepaid Recycling

Big Green Box: Purchase a box (big and white, with a green recycling logo on it) that you can keep in your home or office. Collect your batteries in the United Nations-approved box until it’s full. Then return the full box, prepaid, to Big Green Box by UPS. “The Big Green Box is an international program that offers to companies, consumers, municipalities and other generators a low cost and easy way to provide electronics and battery recycling for themselves as well as their customers.” You can be confident that your batteries will be shipped and recycled safely. Current cost at the time of this writing is about $58 for a 40 lb. box. (NOTE: Big Green Box does NOT accept batteries that are military grade, strictly mercury, or strictly lithium.)

EasyPak Battery Recycling Bucket: Prepaid shipping helps keep this system convenient for customers. You get a white plastic bucket that holds 55 lbs. of dry-cell batteries (including AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, alkaline, nickel, cadmium, iron, nickel metal hydride, silver, and zinc carbon. The current price is $94.99, though customers can get a 10% discount for ordering 5 at one time. The EasyPak bucket is sold only in the continental United States, except in Maine. Shipments are made by FedEx Ground.

SmartRecycle System: Battery Solutions provides this prepaid recycling system for businesses. Customers can purchase any of three sizes of containers: a medium, counter-top box, or a bright-blue 35- or 55-gallon pail. Businesses can also purchase collection tubes for employees to drop off their individual batteries to be carried to a central location. SmartRecycle accepts both rechargeable and disposable household batteries (button cells, 9-volts, AAA, AA, D, and C); rechargeable battery packs (from laptops, cameras, power tools, and cell phones); hand-held electronics, such as iPods, pagers, PDAs, and cell phones; and other dry-cell batteries. Shipping is by FedEx in U.N.-approved containers.

Toxco: This company has been recycling batteries since 1994. They use “certified recycling techniques for material recovery.” Toxco is “still the only company in the World that can recycle any size or type of lithium battery.” In addition, the company recycles “usable materials from not only lithium, but also; alkaline, nickel cadmium, nickel metal-hydride, lead, mercury and most other batteries.”

Other Recyclers

A careful search on the Internet or in your phone book may present you with other options for recycling batteries. If you decide to invest in a pre-paid service like those described above, consider getting together with your friends, family, or neighbors to share the cost. Most families don’t go through nearly enough batteries in a year to fill a box or a pail, but a large-enough group might just fill a pail once or twice a year.

In fact, this could be a profitable fundraiser, as well as a great service project for a youth group or community organization.  If you are considering battery recycling as a fundraiser, you might want to contact the recycling companies to learn about how many batteries their container will hold. Then poll your organization to find out whether there’s enough interest before making the investment. Ask for donations to cover the cost of purchasing prepaid recycling materials. (Note: A responsible adult should always oversee the collection and storing of hazardous materials. See Safety Tips for Battery Recycling for more information.)

Part 1: Much Ado about Batteries

Part 2: The Inside Scoop on Batteries

Part 3: Finding a Battery Recycler

Part 4: Safety Tips for Battery Recycling

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)