THE BARE REFILL REVOLUTION
We all love a clean home, don’t we? It’s no secret that household cleaners have been notorious for their adverse effects on users and the environment, thanks to an endless list of ingredients that do more harm than good.
With that said, we all have purchased hand washing liquids or dishwashing products at some point for the fruity/floral scent it’s been marketed for. Don’t get us wrong, we love products that smell great but this doesn't have to be done at the cost of the environment, right?
This blog post isn’t going to take a stab at commercial ingredients that we don’t like. They’ve received quite a bit of bad press as is, and we’re sure you’ve read about it somewhere on the internet.
Additionally, the packaging that these products come in is more often than not, all plastic. And if we aren’t able to find a way to reuse the plastic, we’d have no choice but to discard it (thanks to the subpar rate of recycling)
That said, we still need to wash our hands (what with a pandemic that never seems to end) and keep our homes and dishes clean. And so we began brainstorming on innovative ways to come up with something that meets these daily requirements, without compromising on the quality of ingredients we use and tackle the packaging problem as well.
We found that a lot of homecare products were quite abrasive on the skin. Some didn’t do a great job cleaning, while others were noticeably disrupting the groundwater quality too. And of course, the plastic packaging these come in, invariably ends up in landfills.Over two years of extensive R&D, several trials and failed attempts, we bring to you our Handwash Powders and Dish wash powders.
Being a zero-waste social enterprise, we aim to have everything done mindfully. From our products to our packaging, the processes we follow to manufacture our items and everything in between. With these powders, we wanted to take zero waste and circularity to another level with every element.
We’d like to start with the fact that we chose to package them in powders to avoid the carbon footprint associated with shipping big bottles that contain 90% water.
With these powders, we’re giving you the 10% that actually matters.
And! when you choose these powders, you’re not just being sustainable, you’re also giving your pocket a breather since you’re only paying for the 10%.
And once your supply is over, you just have to get a refill of the powders, and follow the same process!
If you’ve had the chance to go through the ingredient list for each of these powders, under our website, you’ll see that they contain plant-based extracts and natural essential oils. While we do try to stay away from synthetic fragrances and dyes when we can, this isn’t to say that all synthetic ingredients are bad news for the environment.
The Handwash Powders with bilberry extracts to give a beautiful tinge of purple
Moving on to the packaging, it was quite a challenge to keep it zero waste with these powders. Powders that come in plastic sachets are honestly, easier to pack. And the ones that do come in paper often have a plastic lining on the inside. But all of this was no reason to stop us from finding a sustainable alternative.
Another issue we’ve seen with plastic sachets is that you need to make sure you don’t snip off the edge of the packet to ensure it actually gets recycled. With our sturdy compostable paper (that has been printed with vegetable ink) you don’t have to worry about any of that. Rip it open as much as you want and you can still compost it!
We don’t mean to be blowing our own trumpet here, but we’d also like to add that we’ve used glass dispensers that have been upcycled from old wine bottles and used compostable corks for the lid. With the pipes, however, we had to resort to using plastic pipes since the other materials we tested them out with weren't feasible to use (Like metal pipes that would rust)
Dishwash powder with the compostable sachet & glass dispenser
And if you’d like to hear from an expert on these powders, we sat down with our formulationist Madhura - the genius behind all of this, and asked her some questions:
Q. Are these ingredients really eco-friendly and safe to use?
A. Yup! They’re completely biodegradable and are safe to use on all skin types since the pH matches the natural pH of your skin, to avoid any irritation or dryness. So if you have sensitive skin, we got you! And yes, they’re really effective at cleaning well, probably even better than your regular cleaner, haha.
Q. Speaking of eco-friendly, why have we chosen to use compostable sachets as opposed to PVA sachets which are commonly used in home care products these days?
A. PVA (Poly Vinyl Alcohol) is actually a synthetic polymer which is often marketed as a lining that can be dissolved. However, studies show that 75% of PVA remains in our waterways and soil systems after being dissolved and requires extremely specific conditions to biodegrade. Hence, our no-fuss solution was compostable sachets that had vegetable ink printed on them, so they can completely disintegrate into the soil.
Q. How would you describe the experience of using these powders?
A. We have tried and tested these powders over several months. In addition to the environmental aspect of this, we wanted you to experience the DIY aspect of making your own powders for your kitchen and your bathroom. You can even make an experience in itself with your kids so they truly learn what’s going into their products. Anddddd it is travel friendly so you can carry them with you, to make your cleaners when you’re travelling if required.
Buy the dispenser or repurposed bottle only once, and keep it for life. After which you can only get the compostable sachets! :)
Q. Any tips for anyone using these powders for the first time?
A. We’ve made your life easier with this one. All you need to do is pour the powder into the glass jar or a 250 ml bottle if you have one. Add in the water and mix well. Make sure you mix with a separate spoon if needed. This avoids any lumps.
Oh! I also love that the glass jar is just a one-time buy, that can just be refilled with the powders consequently.
Q. How was it making these powders?
A. Frankly speaking, it was quite a challenge to develop a concentrated powder that would completely dissolve in water, without taking too long. On top of this, we had to ensure this still provided users with the familiarity they shared with a conventional hand wash/dishwashing liquid/bar.
We also wanted to make sure that the product itself looks attractive and helps you feel excited about washing your dishes or even your hands (we know how much of a task that can be with children). So we turned to plant-based colours like bilberry to give the hand wash a soft purple colour and grapefruit to give the dishwash a fun splash of orange.
Fun fact: while we were manufacturing the powders our room smelt like a fresh summer morning if that makes sense haha! Thanks to the natural fragrances that we added in.
But once we saw the finished product for the first time all of those failed attempts felt so so worth it!
Q. Do you think these powders help foster the conversation on zero waste living?
A. We’ve tried to zero waste to the T with these powders. As you make these powders with your family or with kids, you can help them understand why you’ve chosen to use powders instead of commercial cleaners as most households do. Through your examples, you’re helping them understand the need to lead a conscious lifestyle!