Sarah Paiji Yoo was always environmentally conscious, but it became very personal when she realized that she was feeding her new baby microplastics due to the billions of tons of disposable plastic poisoning our food and water supply. She resolved to lessen and ultimately eliminate her use of plastic. Then she was unable to find a household cleaner not packaged in plastic. Wanting to be part of solution, she co-founded Blueland to produce cleaning products formulated from safe, eco-friendly ingredients and distribute them in reusable packaging.
Sarah, CEO of Blueland, is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Business School and had been co-founder and CEO of Snapette, the largest mobile platform for local fashion shopping. John Mascari, COO, also a graduate of Harvard, had been co-founder and CEO of a green nutrition brand, Bundle Organics. Syed Naqvi, Head of Product Development & Innovation, is a chemist who had developed environmentally friendly products for such companies as Johnson & Johnson and Sun Products, including in the formulation of innovative laundry and dish detergents.
This impressive team is on a mission to produce household and personal products in reusable packaging that are effective and affordable. Blueland’s first product launched on Earth Day, April 22, 2019. The Clean Up Kit contains three “Forever Bottles” for cleaning products, one for hand soap and four color-coded tablets that match up with the corresponding bottle: blue for cleaning glass, pink for the bathtub and tiles, yellow for multi-surface cleaning and gray for the hand soap. Each tablet contains naturally derived and synthetic ingredients that are certified safe by Cradle to Cradle (C2C), a non-profit organization that certifies consumer products based on environmental standards. C2C also tracks the reusability of products and their carbon footprints. Blueland products and packaging are certified Platinum, C2C’s highest rating.
The Blueland team aligns every aspect of the business with C2C principles in an effort to demonstrate that it is possible to build a profitable company that works with the environment without compromising quality.
The “Forever Bottles” are acrylic. That is, indeed, a form of plastic, but neither glass nor aluminum containers were going to work. The team worked closely with C2C to come up with BPA-free bottles that would not break down nor leach harmful chemicals and that would last forever.
The cleaners needed to contain a preservative that would eliminate any bacterial growth since the majority of consumers will be using tap water to dissolve the tablets. The proprietary formula currently has 12 patents pending. It does not contain any of the chemicals restricted by the Environmental Working Group and is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny, an alliance of eight national animal protection groups.
The bottles and tablets come together for your first purchase, shipped in a cardboard, 100% recyclable package. The next order will be for the tablets only, so you can refill the bottles forever. The tablets are packaged in recyclable and compostable paper.
In several studies led by the EPA, the Blueland cleaners outperformed established, popular brands and received the EPA Safer Choice Label.
Blueland won both the Alumni grand prize and the Crowd Favorite award in Harvard Business School’s 2019 New Venture Competition and was a finalist in Fast Company’s 2019 Innovation by Design Awards.