BY By Christina Najjar | July 15, 2019 | Lifestyle
Blueland is a company that is re-imagining a range of everyday products to eliminate the need for plastic packaging. With a pipeline of proprietary products, this science-driven brand is starting with a set of cleaning products to save 100 billion single-use plastic cleaning bottles. The brand's refill tablets (just add water) are also 300x lighter, 200x smaller and 30x cheaper to ship, driving a massive e-commerce opportunity.
Blueland made its debut with the Clean Up Kit, a refillable system that comes with 3 Forever Bottles and 3 Refill Tablets - simply fill the bottle with your own water and drop in a tablet to make a full bottle of cleaning solution. The Kit makes 3 full bottles of cleaner: Multi-Surface, Glass + Mirror and Bathroom Cleaner.
The mastermind behind Blueland is co-founder and proven serial entrepreneur Sarah Paiji Yoo. No stranger to a startup, Sarah was previously a Founding Partner at LAUNCH, which created cult-favorite brands like M.Gemi, Rockets of Awesome and more. Prior to LAUNCH, Sarah was also the CEO and Co-founder of Snapette, the largest mobile platform for local fashion shopping, that she sold to PriceGrabber in 2013.
What was the original inspiration behind Blueland?
SARAH PAIJI YOO: When I became a new mom, I was horrified to learn how many microplastics were in the water I was using to make baby formula. It was then that I decided to cut back on my own plastic consumption but then realized that I just didn't have any choice as a consumer. So many of our everyday products such as window cleaner, toothpaste and laundry detergent, all come packaged in just one way - single-use plastic. So I founded Blueland with the belief that you don't have to sacrifice a clean home for a clean planet. And to make the biggest impact possible we've focused on making it easy for people to make the right choice with products that are effective, money-saving and convenient.
What's been the hardest part about building the brand?
SY: The hardest part about building this business has been creating effective, non-toxic tablets. We had to be incredibly creative since these products have only ever been made in liquid form and simply did not exist in a tablet form and traditional cleaning products manufacturers do not have tablet making capabilities. We spoke with over 50 different potential manufacturers, across a range of industries (even candy manufacturers!) before finding the perfect set of partners. We’ve also made a number of early strategic hires, including Syed Naqvi, our Head of R&D, who was formerly Director of Formulation at Method. He’s been a critical part of finding the best manufacturers and developing the cleanest, effective formulas.
What do you think the biggest misconception is about using less plastic?
SY: The biggest misconception is probably that as long as you recycle, it may not be necessary to use less plastic. When actually, much of our recycled plastic now has no end use. That's because China, which was previously the largest destination for global recycled plastic, stopped accepting most all recycled plastics in 2018. As a result, many municipalities are diverting recycled plastic to landfills or dropping plastic from their recycling collection program. This is why we developed a reusable, refillable system.
Where do you hope Blueland is in 10 years?
SY: I hope that we will be the leading CPG company of our generation: a global company with products across personal care, household cleaning, beauty and possibly even packaged food and beverages.
The Blueland home will be filled with beautiful reusable containers that can be easily and cheaply refilled, simply by just pulling out our app (that’s if apps are still a thing in 10 years!) and you just hit the things you want and select submit!
We hope that in 10 years, we’ll have set a new standard for businesses to rethink how they produce and package their products and have also empowered people around the globe to be more thoughtful about how and what they consume.
What are some other small changes people can make in their daily lives that you suggest?
SY: I think the big first step is simply being mindful about all the waste that we create on a daily basis. That increased awareness has led me to seek and apply easy solutions across my daily life. For example, I questioned if I really needed a plastic produce bag when I'm grocery shopping and now opt to let my apples and lettuce roll naked in my cart and fridge. I also questioned if there was a better way to discard my contact lenses and packaging and now I collect these and send them back in large batches to Terracycle. I've also become so much more conscious of my general waste output after starting Blueland, even in areas outside of plastic. Even though paper is readily recyclable, I didn't feel good about all the paper junk mail I was getting and learned you could opt out from catalogs at catalogchoice.org.
What are you looking forward to (brand wise or otherwise!) this summer
SY: The launch of our next product, coming this summer!
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