For Eric Hudson, the key to changing the world was to build a better toothbrush.
By the mid-1990s, the Western Massachusetts native noticed that while recycling was becoming more popular, there seemed to be one obvious flaw in the process.
“A lot of recycling was going on at that time, but there were questions about where the products were going once they were recycled,” Hudson explains. “I felt that people who were recycling would feel good about buying products made from recycled materials.”
The idea to make a product of recycled materials matched perfectly with the idea he’d had for many years — building a better toothbrush.
“If there’s any way to make a product more recyclable, that’s something that we want to be a part of.” —Eric Hudson, Preserve
He worked with dental professionals to create a brush that was designed for hard-to-reach places and had a three-level bristle configuration to brush the crucial areas along the gum line. “For years I had been told by dentists to brush my teeth a certain way, but I didn’t feel the design of the toothbrush facilitated that process,” Hudson says. He then figured out how to make the handle from recycled yogurt cups, and, in 1996, introduced the first recycled toothbrush while launching his company, Preserve.
“To go to market with a toothbrush made sense,” he says. “Everyone uses them, and it captures the recycling market. Dentists love that there was a recycling story behind it and that it could be recycled when consumers were done with it.”
Next page: Taking Five