The tween making toothbrushes for the tribe - RNY News

The tween making toothbrushes for the tribe

October 22, 2019

Liam Taylor

An 11-year old boy from South East Queensland has won an International Changemaker of the Year award for his work to reduce ocean pollution.

An 11-year old boy from South East Queensland has won an International Changemaker of the Year award for his work to reduce ocean pollution.

Mount Tamborine local Ned Heaton started the The Turtle Tribe following a family trip to Moreton Island that was consumed by collecting plastic waste off the local beaches. The goal was to provide an alternative to toothbrushes (one of the most ubiquitous plastic products) and encourage people to make the switch.

In a bid to encourage people to make the change away from plastic, Ned created a biodegradable bamboo alternative along with other plastic-free bathroom products. To show how much he vouches for them and to prove their high quality, Ned has now pledged to give away one million toothbrushes.

It’s estimated that over three billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown out each year and the overwhelming majority of these end up in landfill or polluting waterways. These plastic items take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to break down and most of us will go through around 300 of them in our lifetimes.

“Every plastic toothbrush you've ever used in your life is still in the world somewhere,” said Ned in a statement.

“Bamboo toothbrushes work just the same but they're biodegradable." 

For his noble efforts Ned won the ‘International Changemaker of the Year’ award at this year’s Be The Change Awards. As the awards are generally only open to applicants aged 16 years and older, Ned even went the extra mile of convincing judges to let him enter!


Positive Action

  • Remember the waste hierarchy! Reduce should always be the first priority, so try to avoid single-use plastics wherever possible.
  • Ensure your plastic waste doesn’t make its way into Australia’s marine ecosystems by disposing of it responsibly and recycling where possible. For information on what can be recycled in your local area, visit RecyclingNearYou.
  • Look out for the Australasian Recycling Label when disposing of packaging. It provides clear instructions on how to responsibly dispose of each packaging component.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.