Every year, a staggering 645 billion plastic household product containers are dumped into landfills and oceans globally. While this number is difficult to wrap our heads around, it’s the brutal reality we’re faced with unless we change our ways. If not, this number is expected to triple by 2040.
One simple way to change the state of play is to revisit the way we do our household chores. Case in point, laundry – a menial task that results in an incredible amount of plastic. Most laundry products available on the market today use single-use plastic containers and pods, and while the latter claims to be biodegradable, it’s still believed to leak large amounts of pollutants into the ocean.
Enter Tru Earth, a Canadian company founded by Brad Liski and his partners Ryan McKenzie and Kevin Hinton, which produces highly concentrated, pre-measured detergent strips packaged in compostable cardboard.
Brad Liski, CEO and co-founder of Tru Earth speaks to us about why he and his partners are staunch believers of the product, and how this paper-like laundry detergent strip is a step in the right direction for combating climate change.
- What was the biggest motivation behind starting Tru Earth?
To make true lasting change that helps save the planet, and to eradicate plastic from landfills and oceans.
2. Among all consumer products that use insane amounts of plastic, what made you think of transforming laundry detergent?
An extended family member with a patent on an eco-friendly laundry detergent contacted us after struggling to launch the product, but I didn’t really “get it.”
I grew up in an eco-conscious household and owned Recycle Region in the 1980s, but I couldn’t understand how an entire jug of laundry detergent could fit in packaging the size of an iPhone. So, my partners and I decided to try it out instead of dismissing it. All three of us concluded the same thing – this stuff works!
3. Apart from its ecological advantages, what else makes Tru Earth strips unique?
Each laundry strip packs ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly cleaning power into a tiny, pre-measured strip of liquid-less laundry detergent that you just toss in the wash. Its low-sudsing formula works in all types of washing machines, including high-efficiency (HE) as well hand washing in a sink or bucket.
Traditional liquid laundry detergent is messy and wastes so much space. Measuring out detergent whether it is liquid, or powder almost always results in spillage. I don’t know about you, but when I’m doing laundry, I don’t need another thing to clean up. With Tru Earth, 1 strip equals 1 load. No measuring and nothing to spill.
4. What did you find most difficult in marketing this product? How are you overcoming that?
In the very beginning, we needed to see if anyone would take the leap and switch to something other than liquid detergent. So, we put it through our tested and proven system of launching products. We wanted to get 150 strangers to subscribe in the first 30 days and we ended up with 1,500! At that point, we knew we had something.
5. How is the company trying to convert, if you will, consumers to use this product over their usual ones?
Over 30 billion of loads of laundry are done in North America each year, and the environmental impact is massive. Our customers are “TruChangeMakers” disrupting the multi-billion-dollar household product industry, reducing carbon emissions by up to 94%. If everyone switched to Tru Earth Eco-Strips, the annual eco-savings would be enormous.
For starters, it will eliminate one billion plastic jugs (yes, a billion), saving 700 million from going to landfills. We can also save truck fuel and CO2 equivalent to taking 27 million cars off the road for a day or planting nine million trees.
6. Do you find that consumers’ laundry habits are hard-wired or are they willing to adopt new ones?
It is clear that consumers are willing to adopt. In just over two years, we have disrupted the industry and were named the second fastest growing start up in Canada. The convenience and the environmental properties make it hard to pass up!
7. What do your current consumer base look like now, do they comprise mostly of younger individuals? Millennials for instance?
The Tru Earth team joins more than a half a million equally committed people in 66 countries. It’s good to see that we have a rather wide diversity of ages and households who purpose our products, not just the younger ones.
8. I understand Tru Earth is also very much involved in ocean clean-ups. Can you tell us more about that?
We started The Ocean Wise Great American Shoreline Cleanup, an extension of one of the largest direct-action conservation programs in Canada. Shoreline Cleanup hopes to promote understanding of shoreline litter issues by engaging citizen scientists in data collection and shoreline rehabilitation through cleanups.
We’ve also extended this effort with our partners in Texas and California. We believe that each of us has a role to play in saving the planet. That could mean changing your habits to reduce single-use plastics, or rolling up your sleeves to take part in a shoreline cleanup. Why not do both?
Tru Earth laundry strips are available in Hong Kong at Edgar, CitySuper, and HKTVMall.
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