We chat with Mahira Kalim, the founder and CEO of Spruce – the eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning range that’ll leave your home sparkling with a spa-like scent, and will help you to reduce your carbon footprint.
“We put people and the planet over profits.” – Mahira Kalim Founder & CEO of Spruce.
When it comes to cleaning products, we’ve all been working hard to reduce our single-use plastic consumption. But you might be surprised to learn that it’s not just the plastic that’s harmful to the environment (and us), it’s the cleaning chemicals too.
So if you’re looking for a more natural way to clean your home — one that reduces the impact to our environment and is free from toxic chemicals — you might want to consider Spruce.
Spruce is a British cleaning start-up brand, with a range of non-toxic, multi-purpose and bathroom sprays, made from the safest ingredients and are entirely free from single-use plastics. Products from the range are made using locally sourced essential oils, bringing a spa-like scent to your home.
We caught up with Spruce’s founder and CEO Mahira Kalim, to find out more about how the idea of Spruce came about and how they’re leading the way in the eco-friendly cleaning category.
Luxurious Magazine: How did the concept of the Spruce come about?
Mahira Kalim: Spruce was born out of my own struggle with health problems. I first got exposed to the hazardous chemicals in both plastics and everyday personal care and household products ten years ago, after suffering from back-to-back health issues. Doctors recommended cutting out “toxins” from everyday life and adopting a “clean” lifestyle. I immediately cut out certain chemical products and especially plastic products from our kitchen and daily use.
I realised we are surrounded by hidden toxins in most products from our food to cookware to personal care and cleaning products. I swapped daily products and where I couldn’t find alternatives, I made my own. In the last two years, I also became aware that despite considering myself “eco-conscious”, I still had a significant plastic-footprint from everyday use items that just don’t come plastic-free. So, I decided to fix the problem that I faced.
LM: Can you explain how the Spruce concept works?
MK: Customers buy the reusable bottles once and just top up with refills that are delivered in a concentrated format. Our refills weigh just 4 grams vs 560 grams of a typical liquid cleaning product. We only use safe food and cosmetic grade ingredients combined with 100% natural, organic essential oils. With the letterbox delivery model, we have no missed deliveries and much lower carbon footprint of not shipping water around.
LM: What sets Spruce products apart from other eco-friendly cleaning products?
MK: Many products in the market that claim to be “eco-friendly” still rely heavily on single-use plastics, contain toxic chemicals and engage in greenwashing making it difficult for customers to make the ethical and safe choice. In our research, we found that most products contain harsh chemicals, artificial fragrance and fake colourants.
From a plastic reduction perspective, we have seen some refill models in the market recently, however taking empty containers to the store to refill or return empty refill packaging is not convenient or a mass scale solution. We wanted to make the refill model convenient and aesthetically pleasing to remove barriers for customers to make the eco choice.
LM: Are the products safe for use around pets and children?
MK: Our products use safe ingredients which are safe around kids, pets and pregnant women. We did not want to compromise on any of these values as there are plenty of products in the market that claims to be eco but do not deliver on that promise either from “eco-friendly” packaging perspective or hidden toxins that they do not declare.
We do, however, use natural essential oils in very small quantities which can sometimes contain allergens.
LM: What inspired the packaging?
MK: Our design aesthetic is driven more by the beauty industry. We believe what you breathe in is just as important as what you eat and the products you put on your skin. It doesn’t make sense to invest in organic food and clean beauty if we then end up inhaling pesticides, VOC’s and many more toxic cocktails in our indoor air. Therefore we have chosen a design and colour palette that is reflective of the mild, natural fragrances, non-toxic ingredients.
Aluminium is infinitely recyclable. We purposefully wanted to stay away from complex bioplastics which do not get recycled properly and fragile glass which has a much higher carbon footprint. Getting shortlisted for Dezeen Awards in the sustainable design category is the validation of our aesthetic and packaging choices, as well as our circular business model. Public voting for Dezeen Awards opens on Sept 14th.
LM: Are your production methods sustainable too?
MK: We are registered B Corporation Pending, which means we are legally bound to put people and the planet over profits. We set out to build a fully ethical business, not just one with less plastic packaging. Therefore, from the beginning, we have only worked with ethical suppliers and partners that have sustainable practices.
We are working on cutting down any product wastage in our supply chain, and our mission is to become a carbon negative business in one year of operation. We are also in the process of getting our Vegan Society and Leaping Bunning cruelty-free certifications as well. Our ingredients are sourced within the EU and with full traceability.
Spruce – Where & How?
Spruce is currently available for purchase on Kickstarter, where you can save more than 25% on your order.
For more information and to view the current range of Spruce products, visit www.wearespruce.co.
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