Edmonton toothpaste startup ditches tubes

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Next to the tablet press, Change Toothpaste Founders Mike Medicoff (L) and Damien Vince are launching a zero-waste, all natural alternative to traditional toothpaste in Edmonton, November 28, 2019.


Ed Kaiser/Postmedia

Edmonton-based startup Change Toothpaste has raised the money it needs to expand production of its zero-waste toothpaste beyond its first spearmint flavour.

Motivated by co-founder Mike Medicoff’s sixteen-year-old daughter Sydney, who wanted to make her family’s home as close to zero-waste as possible, the team set out to eliminate the need for toothpaste tubes entirely by making tablets instead of paste.

“Our kids really inspire us. Everything we do, we know they’re watching us,” he said.

The co-founders recently launched an ATB BoostR campaign to help raise capital to invest in equipment and supplies. As of press time, the company had raised $11,035 — more than ten per cent beyond its $10,000 goal. Selling its spearmint tablet at local vendors Makers Keep and Optimum Health, online and even in farmer’s markets since July, Change is ramping up its production lab so it can make more flavours.

“We’re trying to do one small thing. We don’t need everybody doing everything 100 per cent correct, we need everybody doing something small,” said co-founder Damien Vince.

Standard tubes cannot be recycled and are made up of 11 layers of plastics, polymers and resins and take 500 years to break down in a landfill. Change tablet pouches are compostable, and don’t have plastic labels. The tablets don’t need all of the preservatives that traditional pastes need, but they did demand some ingenuity.

They reduced the list of ingredients down to what was needed, and got rid of what wasn’t. “This is recipe number 119. We have tried a lot of bad toothpaste,” said Medicoff.

They consulted with a dentist to help figure out the perfect combination of texture, flavour and effectiveness, and perfected the recipe using their family as guinea pigs.

“The best feedback we ever got was, ‘Yeah, that tastes like toothpaste,’ ” said co-founder Damien Vince.

Enough Change tablets to last you a month will cost $9.95, and are designed to be shipped via Canada Post letter mail, unlike some competitor tablets that come in jars, which cost more to ship.

The tablet is pea-sized and the experience is slightly different than that of using traditional toothpaste, because you need to bite down on the tablet a couple times. Once you brush with a wet toothbrush though, it’s foamy business as usual.

Vince, an IT tech, and Medicoff, a bus driver, plan to eventually expand into a lab facility that can handle regulated fluoride, so that they can add a fluoride option to their product line.

lijohnson@postmedia.com

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December 3, 2019 |

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