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Climate champ Cashmans bristle at plastic waste

CLIMATE Champions Kate and Ben Cashman, of Dulcot, are on a mission to remove plastic waste from all Australian bathrooms.

Three years ago, the couple were looking for a business idea and, as the parents of young children, wanted to do something the whole family could be involved in.

“We wanted to invest our time into a project that we knew would have a big environmental, community and educational impact,” they said.

“We talked to our children and threw around a lot of ideas, and one night when our son Spencer was brushing his teeth he said, ‘why are toothbrushes made out of plastic?’.”

The Cashmans then learned that 30 million plastic toothbrushes go to landfill every year and take more than 500 years to break down – meaning that every plastic toothbrush that has ever existed is still out there.

That was three years ago, and the very beginning of the Cashmans’ business venture Tinkle, an alternative to plastic bathroom products.

Tinkle toothbrush handles are made from a fast-growing variety of bamboo which grows up to one metre per day and needs very little water.

And the couple are currently working with a mainland university to find natural bristles that have the strength and longevity of nylon.

For now, the toothbrushes are designed so the head can be snapped off and recycled, and the handle composted.

Tinkle works on a subscription model, to make it as easy as possible for customers. Toothbrushes for adults and kids turn up when people want them, and there’s no shipping cost.

“We wanted to be as environmentally friendly as we could,” Ben said.

“All the mailers and packaging are home compostable, which has a flow-on impact for the environment, wild creatures and oceans.”

Tinkle currently has more than 5000 customers. And for every toothbrush sold, the Cashmans donate $1 to grassroots community programs that are helping nurture the planet.

The couple offer grants of $500, $1000 and $2000. Recipients so far include a local wildlife sanctuary that wanted to plant a tree corridor to encourage wildlife, and a community outreach centre for environmental education.

“We’re always looking for grant recipients,” Ben said.

“So, if people think they’ve got a suitable initiative, get in touch.”

The Cashmans have been selected by Clarence Climate Action as this month’s Climate Champions. Find out more at www.tinkleco.com.au