How to Make

How to Make

Designer, maker and materials engineer Zoe Laughlin explores an item so ubiquitous that most of us don’t give it a moment’s thought – the toothbrush. With 200 milion thrown away each year in the UK, she’s on a mission to find a more sustainable solution.

In search of inspiration, she heads to Sweden’s impressive low-impact mega-factory Tepe, where handles made from sugar-cane-based plastic are ahead of the pack. She explores bespoke production techniques, employing 3D-laser sintering, and dips into the archives of the British Dental Association, revealing the light-bulb moment when the modern brush was hit upon in a prison cell.

Turning to toothpaste itself, pioneering scientists are using bio-active glass to get more fluoride to our teeth. Unconventional options used at Lush Cosmetic’s Willy Wonker-style lab get Zoe’s taste buds tingling, before she reveals her final toothbrush and alternative ‘paste’. Both are uniquely Zoe – and just a bit bonkers – but they could also provide a very real eco-friendly answer to our daily brushing needs.

How to Make – Tuesday 11.35pm on BBC4

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