Inventor kills project
over his daughter’s
This is not a story that you will often read. More than likely you have read many stories of large corporations touting heroic efforts to find solutions to pollution problems caused by their own products. They say they are investigating materials that biodegrade, paper and plastics that can be recycled, and redesigning packaging to use less plastic. So long as it doesn’t impact their bottom line. What you will never read is where a company voluntarily dropped a profitable product or product line simply because it posed a problem to the environment. That is what makes this story so unique and poignant.
When Rim Tveras invented Wetpick, he was completely focused on finding a better solution to a very common everyday problem: flossing. Cleaning between the teeth is called interdental cleaning and is as important as tooth brushing. This is because a toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth and therefore only cleans about two-thirds of the tooth surfaces. There have been many tools to clean between the teeth, including floss, flosspicks, interdental brushes, water jets, and air flossers. Unfortunately, each has had its shortcomings, and failed to provide many users with satisfactory outcomes. The facts speak for themselves. Efforts of dental professionals to encourage and prescribe flossing as a required part of everyone’s daily oral care, throughout many decades, have yielded dismal results. The American Dental Association says most dentists would guess that the percentage of daily flossers is less than 30 percent, maybe as low as 10 percent. Please see article: “How Many Americans Floss Their Teeth?” U.S. News, May 2, 2016.
As is true with most people, Rim hated traditional flossing, and almost never flossed. He would have preferred the ease of using a flosspick, but knew intuitively that flosspicks only work to transfer germs and debris from one interdental space to the next. The way to overcome that was to wash the floss portion of the flossick in between each insertion. So, Rim got an idea: what if you took an absorbent fabric, wetted it with a germ-killing solution, such as mouthwash, and used it to clean the flosspick? It worked like magic. Now the problem became how to make it available as a product. You can see the result of Rim’s efforts here: http://www.peepsinc.com/wetpick.html
This is where the story takes an unusual turn. After designing and prototyping the Wetpick product line, starting the costly patent process, lining up manufacturers, building the website, and dreaming up a comfortable retirement, Rim was approached by his daughter Aime.
“Dad, your Wetpick is a single-use product, made primarily of plastic. It will be used by millions, maybe more than once each day. How do you think people will dispose of it?”
“Probably in the garbage, Aime, and maybe flushed down the toilet. Or, thrown out on the roadside.”
“Dad, I think that’s horrible! My own dad will be a huge polluter of the planet.”
“But Aime, think of what you’re saying. This can be not only my retirement, but yours as well. We’re talking multi-millions here.”
“I don’t care, dad. We got along all right before Wetpick. I’m sure that we can be just fine without it”.
“Aime, you’re absolutely right! I will kill Wetpick”.
“Thanks, dad. And the planet thanks you too!”
Aime Tveras Peterson has been a life-long rescuer of animals and provider of extraordinary art and beauty through her flower and event planning services.
Learn more about Rim here