Hi everyone! My name is Stitch and I’m a toothbrush. I was born in Ecuador and I have lived in many places: in a bathroom, the garbage, a wasteland, some beaches and ultimately on the ocean floor. I speak a lot of languages, some of them are Spanish, English, Chinese and French. All of them, thanks to my ancestors, who come from all parts of the world like China, Rome, France, and even Egypt. My first ancestors were from Babylon and Egypt between 3500 or 3000 years before Christ, they were super different from me, their materials were twigs frayed of wood. Also, they were preserved with their Egyptian owners, and they were called “chew sticks”. Later, they moved to China in the XV century, and they changed their appearance again to pig hair and bone or bamboo for the stick.
However, my first official and industrialized antecedent was born in England in 1780. Our creator was William Addis, again we were created with cattle bone and pig hair, until 1844 when we were modified to a 3-row bristle brush. Sometime later, the toothbrush that is directly related to me was created in 1938, when the development of nylon began and was applied to my new ancestors, discarding bristles of animals because they transmit bacteria in humans. However, the first one was called “Dr. West’s Miracle Tuft Toothbrush”, the first toothbrush that was fast dry, and prevented the appearance of bacteria due to humidity. Later in 1950, humans created softer brushes, so they were the Boom of the times, even if their price was 4 times the price of the original.
The most interesting thing is that humans were not satisfied enough, so they created our robotic part of the family, the electric toothbrush in 1961 (The brooding). From that moment our family has not undergone many variations, except to our design or product possibilities.
However, there is a ginormous impact behind the usage of all my friends and family towards the environment and in human lives. You may ask how or why, right? And the answer is that humans don’t actually understand how many of us are produced and thrown away. I am actually telling you my story from a very far beach where there are not only toothbrushes but toys, clothes, bottles and many other things. The amount of toothbrushes that a human like you use in his or her life are about 300 and the time that we stay on this planet is about 75 years. If you analyze this number then you get to the conclusion that the toothbrush you used two months ago is now somewhere just like me without a purpose just let the years pass to get to our final day, if that day comes of course.
We as toothbrushes are also part of getting everyone on a cycle, and that cycle is the consumption. But also humans connect a lot with us by being part of the massive accumulation of garbage everywhere. Just imagine that in the United States everyone has thrown away an amount of 1000 million of us, so there is where you humans get all connected. Mostly all of you considered us like a clean and healthy tool for your daily life. But also we are ignored as an object because that is reflecting in how many of us are produced and the million that are found in landfills, oceans, beaches and everywhere. In that way our family has introduced a new and more ecologic member, the bamboo toothbrush. We all love our new member because as plastic toothbrushes we are tired of being everywhere and affecting a good deal of wildlife everywhere we appear. By many polls we came to the conclusion that humans know our negative impact, and although they love greening up everything by using our new member they are changing, and we will love to see less of us and more of ecological members.
However, I love my ecological family members, I sometimes think they do it for the show. Yes, I know they can be made of bamboo, but the bristles are still mostly the same as mine. So yeah, they are not 100% ecological, something I always make fun of when we are at our family meetings.
My story connects to the story of plastic. It is something I’m not proud of, but ultimately I identify myself as plastic, it is who I am. When I was younger my parents told me that I’m made of plastic because it is the most durable material, it shows my strength. However, with age, I came to the realization that I’m made out of plastic because it is the cheapest material out there. Everywhere I’ve been there’s plastic all around me. When I was in a bathroom, where I spent about 0.1% of my life (not joking), most of the other objects around me were plastic. The same happened with the forgotten objects around me on the beach and the ocean floor, all plastic. At one point I thought I was special, but I was wrong. Yes, I am having an identity crisis. I feel I am sort of eternal, but in a bad way, there’s a time when you’ve just had enough.
I hope my future generations change for the better. Some nights I dream of a world when the presence of our people, the toothbrushes, is beneficial for the world, a simple utensil used for a human need, not a burden for all the living species out there. It is hard to sleep with that sometimes thought, but that’s who I am. We will definitely continue having our essence, fulfilling our sole purpose of washing teeth. With the passage of time I hope we evolve having more of our virtues and less of our weaknesses, maybe parting ways with the material that has always made us a burden, plastic.