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Ned's toothbrush is a global changemaker

​St Bernard State School captain Ned Heaton

He's passionate about saving the planet, he's founded his own business, and he’s been awarded an international Changemaker of the Year award at just 11 years old.

St Bernard State School captain Ned Heaton won the Be the Change award for his campaign to ban plastic toothbrushes and reduce ocean pollution.

Inspired to make a change by the volume of plastic he and his family collect on their annual camping holidays to Moreton Island, Ned established The Turtle Tribe.

"I really wanted to do something that made a positive difference in the world, and The Turtle Tribe does that," Ned said.

"We produce biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes and 10% of all profits go to the charity Ocean Crusaders.

"Three billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown out each year and these take thousands of years to break down. Every plastic toothbrush you've ever used in your life is still in the world somewhere. Bamboo toothbrushes work just the same but they're biodegradable," he said.

In a bid to encourage people to make the change away from plastic, Ned has pledged to give away 1 million bamboo toothbrushes.

"To help people make the switch I'm giving away biodegradable toothbrushes for free," he said.

"My sales help to cover the costs of the free toothbrushes, which then encourage more people to use them and buy them."

Ned was named Changemaker of the Year at an award ceremony in London in May. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend as he was visiting the factory in China that manufactures his own design of bamboo toothbrushes.

Ned's win was particularly sweet given the award is usually only open to people aged 16 years and older. With the help of his sister and budding filmmaker Grace, Ned successfully convinced the judges that the environment couldn’t wait 5 years, and they gave him special permission to enter the awards.

St Bernard State School principal Adam Brandt said the school community was very supportive of Ned’s efforts. St Bernard State School is nestled among the rainforests of Tamborine Mountain, and many of its students develop a strong love of nature.

"I am extremely proud of Ned. His efforts in sustainability and entrepreneurship are exceptional. He will definitely be a student to look out for in the future," he said.

To claim one of Ned's free bamboo toothbrushes head to The Turtle Tribe.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
01 July 2019