Derek Scolnick has plenty of reasons to smile: he’s providing a cost-effective alternative to toothpaste, all while helping to protect the environment.
The Bond University student has launched Tusk Toothpowder, an alternative to traditional toothpaste which allows people to clean their teeth while doing their bit to reduce the number of plastic toothpaste tubes being dumped into the environment.
Mr Scolnick used tooth powder while living in the US but was unable to find a similar product when he moved to the Gold Coast. He decided to adopt an eco-conscious approach to producing Tusk Toothpowder.
“I realised when I started making the toothpowder myself that it could be eco-friendly,” he said.
“One of the main benefits is the jar is refillable, so you don’t have the waste of toothpaste tubes.
“Over one billion toothpaste tubes are thrown out each year, and they all get sent to the landfill because they can’t be recycled. By having a refillable jar, you eliminate all that waste.
“You just buy refill pouches that are fully compostable, fill your jar back up, and no waste is created.”
Mr Scolnick said he was passionate about ensuring Tusk Toothpowder did its bit to help the environment.
“I think it’s a growing problem that we have to solve, and any way I can empower people to do their part and for me to help do my part, I’d like to make that happen.”
The toothpowder is manufactured on the Gold Coast using Australian ingredients and includes xylitol to inhibit the bacteria that grow and create the plaque which causes cavities and bad breath.
The toothpowder is also chemical-free and vegan friendly.
Mr Scolnick said toothpowder was also more convenient for travellers.
“One big issue when travelling is toothpaste contains water, which means it’s tough to get through security.
“The powder is basically toothpaste without the water, so you can bring as much as you want.”
Mr Scolnick is already planning the next stage of Tusk Toothpowder, including the option of a subscription model which he hopes to roll out in the first quarter of 2020.
“We’ll be introducing a zero waste dental floss, and a subscription model where every three months you get a powder refill, as well as a floss refill and a new bamboo toothbrush, and everything is zero waste.”
His product has already been well-received. After seven weeks in business Mr Scolnick has clocked up $2000 in sales.
Mr Scolnick has been working with Bond University’s Transformer program and said the fee-free entrepreneurship scheme had been a massive help to him.
“They’ve done a great job connecting me with advisers, and also helping me troubleshoot any issues I’ve been having and moving past barriers.”