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Sylvain De Bellis

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Major project:

Linear

‘Linear’ is a 100% recyclable disposable toothbrush. The entirety of the product is made out of recycled and extruded Tynex® 612 Nylon, the most efficient material to date in terms of oral care and inherent properties, forming both the handle and bristle tufts.


I aim to considerably reduce the overall manufacturing process of a regular manual/disposable toothbrush, which is currently produced out of a minimum of three materials in complicated manufacturing operations. For such a small product with a temporary use lifespan the manufacturing process is incredibly vast. Metal staples are used to insert the bristles into the handle and this process remains the cheapest option in the production of a disposable toothbrush; therefore dramatically unsustainable. The current components of toothbrush make it inefficient to recycle or not financially viable due to a lack of centralised recycling services. These products end up in landfills, waterways or incinerated! 


As most of the green toothbrush manufacturers using bamboo or recycled material, the bristles are still being processed with the Tynex® 612 Nylon or other polymers for their inherent properties; indeed it is the core material of any toothbrush and companies hide this behind a green handle; nevertheless the process of extraction of the bristles is still very hard and makes those biodegradable toothbrush facing the same problems as current pluri-plastic made toothbrushes. 


The product that I am developing utilises Ultrasonic Welding technology.  

This process fuses the filaments together without burning in minimum one operation. The ultrasounds spot-fuse the filaments to the desired place to form a dense handle, in this case the filaments can be omitted from the ultrasonic welding process to utilise their natural form as bristles for brushing; thus forming the overall product out of a singular material, without alternative material currently making the overall recycling process extremely user-unfriendly and in larger quantities financially not viable. 


I am developing the product to adhere as a service for airline companies. 

They provide millions of unsustainable and disposable toothbrush to their customers each year. This service is already implanted into their businesses and does not generate any revenue.  In these examples millions of toothbrushes are provided to customers and of course have a short lifespan and are disposed of so rapidly. In this service, the toothbrush would be collected and recycled by the airline company itself, which would fabricate recycled Tynex® 612 Nylon out of used toothbrushes, creating a circular eco-system within the airline company. This would considerably reduce fabrication of virgin plastics and potentially create new businesses to collect un-recycled Tynex® 612 Nylon from disposed toothbrushes made out of the actual manufacturing processes. 


Oral care is not accessible everywhere, this may be an opportunity to offer a free service for those in need as well as offering customers a toothbrush that is not only recylable but also one that generates a circular ecosystem and reducting the reintroduction of virgin plastics. This introduction would be a positive and consequent step in reducing excessive plastic waste and an opportunity for businesses to grow their scope by potentially collecting the Tynex® 612 Nylon toohtbrush to recycle and reutilise the filaments for the creation of ‘Linear’ as much as it could offer centralised and reduce landfills or incineration process.


Airline companies do not only offer customer transportation, but also play a huge part in international logistics, such companies could benefit from direct transportation of such material while the product is being used in customer transportation. For example the used toothbrush can be collected upon destination arrival and directly dispatched to organisations deployed in core international hubs such as London Heathrow. 


There is an opportunity to develop the product further in the future along other businesses where disposable toothbrushes are offered, or sold. After the graduation show, I aim to further develop the application on a larger scale with the help of Telsonic. This new application has a clear potential in other markets, for products where a bunch of filaments are still being bonded or manufactured in an unsustainable way, such as the cosmetic industry.


Info

  • Born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1990, I am a Swiss/Italian designer graduate from écal in 2013. While at écal, I spent one Erasmus semester at the Design Academy Eindhoven and then interned in London for designer Philippe Malouin until 2014. I returned to Switzerland, and worked as a junior designer at the La Chaux-de-Fonds-based industrial design agency Multiple SA, where I contributed to projects for commercial clients such as Nestlé. I decided to undertake a Master’s degree in Design Products from the Royal College of Art in London to focus on my interest for material exploration and their manufacturing processes, to discover their full potential. 

  • Previous degrees

  • Erasmus, Man & Living, Design Academy Eindhoven, 2012; BA Industrial Design, Ecal, 2013
  • Experiences

  • Design intern, Philippe Malouin, London, 2013-14; Design intern, Lee Broom, London, 2014; Junior designer, Multiple SA, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2014-15
  • Exhibitions

  • Meet My Project, Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 2015; Spoga + Gafa, The Unique Youngstar, Cologne, 2015; Molteni&C / Dada-Kitchen, Rho Fiera, Salone del Mobile, Milan, 2016; 'Phare' Launch New Collection, Lambrate, Salone del Mobile, Milan, 2016; Punkt. Urban Mobility Project, Palazzo Litta, Salone del Mobile, Milan, 2017
  • Funding

  • Ikea Stiftung Schweiz
  • Sponsors

  • DuPont™, Telsonic UK Ltd
Royal College of Art