After assessing all of Blueland’s products and nearly all of their packaging for Material Health Certificates, we sat down with their Co-founder and COO John Mascari to talk about the process. To date, all of Blueland’s products and most of their packaging have achieved Platinum Material Health Certificates from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
From the beginning, Blueland has designed their products to reach Platinum Material Health qualifications. Where did this journey begin for you?
Our journey to Platinum Material Health started with the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Before Blueland was Blueland, I had made a commitment to devote my career to the environment — not to join or start a company with environment lumped into a broader CSR or ESG platform, but to only work for and with companies that truly have, at their core, a commitment to working with the resources of this planet.
So, since reading the book, co-author William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle Design™ philosophy has been aligned with my belief system about the intersection between the planet, consumers and companies. More specifically, the idea that consumers don’t have to sacrifice and that we can continue to “live in abundance” if we work with the resources of the planet — being deliberate and rational about how to use and reuse in closed productive systems versus promoting throw-away culture and exploiting resources.
Are you able to share any of the details for the optimization process for the Hand Dish Soap?
Our Head of Product at Blueland, Syed Naqvi, had the unique challenge of trying to create an effective product and user experience that would be similar to what consumers are accustomed to, but free from single-use plastic packaging. During the R&D process, he had to balance issues such as managing the “fluffiness” of the powder, mitigating the slipperiness of dishes after a manual wash and optimizing how the powder would flow through our Forever Bottle. One of his breakthroughs was with the use of Sodium Bicarbonate; an ingredient we vetted with MBDC for Platinum Material Health.
How was the experience working with MBDC to achieve this MHCs for your complete product line?
We’ve worked closely with MBDC since the very beginning — that is, when Blueland was still just existing in a PowerPoint deck (and probably not yet named “Blueland”). The partnership has been one that we’ve valued across all aspects of our products, supply chain and business activities.
There is the public-facing piece — namely the certifications — that’s a huge part of the work we do together and MBDC is with us every step of the way from the inception of product concept when we need to set parameters around which chemistries can and cannot be used to being with us as we are searching the globe to find paints, dyes and materials that meet Platinum Material Health requirements as part of any number of our custom forever vessels. There’s also the non-public facing piece in which MBDC helps us with including vetting the material health of elements across our supply chain. We take a lot of pride in these “non-public” collaborations as they help Blueland know that what we put into the world and into people’s homes is safe for our planet and its inhabitants.
So when my Co-founder Sarah Paiji Yoo and I started building Blueland and its team, the Cradle to Cradle ethos was a part of our DNA. Critical to this was Syed joining our team to lead all of our formulation and R&D. In his role, Syed is closest to all of the chemistries and is committed to conceiving of our innovative – never been done before – products within the Cradle to Cradle Platinum Material Health ambitions from the top. Among the many reasons why we’ve been thrilled to start and now build this business with Syed, is that he joined the company already committed to and a champion of the Platinum Material Health standards
What called out the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard for you to begin with? Why did you decide to go with this direction as opposed to the other options/qualifications?
We are proud to work with and follow the high standards of a number of leading environmentally-focused groups, such as the EPA Safer Choice program, USDA Biopreferred, EWG and Leaping Bunny. Our work with Cradle to Cradle Certified™ by way of MBDC is very in-depth and comprehensive as we lean on the Cradle to Cradle Design™ philosophy and the extensive library of chemistries to analyze every aspect of our operations beyond just the Material Health Certificates (although we are incredibly product of those credentials).
Our partnership with MBDC from the beginning is fundamentally tied to us living by our mission. It’s such a monumental undertaking to achieve these certifications and our team is always so proud to share with our community why Cradle to Cradle is such an incredibly important partner.
What does designing/innovating with C2C at the forefront mean for Blueland and your process?
For Blueland, designing and innovating with Cradle to Cradle Design at the forefront means that the framework is as central to our development process as is product-market fit, production feasibility and cost — and all of that is consistent with why Blueland exists.
Blueland will never be a company that thinks about human and environmental health second. So for us, starting every development process with C2C at the forefront goes hand-in-hand with our reason for being and our unwavering commitment to completely upending the consumer packaged goods industry so that consumers can enjoy products that work with the planet’s resources, are optimized for the health of people and environment, and are also effective, affordable and beautiful — like the book says “We see a world of abundance, not limits….What if humans designed products and systems that celebrate an abundance of human creativity, culture, and productivity? That are so intelligent and safe, our species leaves an ecological footprint to delight in, not lament?
Interested in learning more about Cradle to Cradle Certified communicating material health? Contact us!