Australian startup Happy Human wants to change the way consumers buy cleaning products, to help out the environment.
The company has launched a range of refillable and concentrated cleaning products that closes the loop on single-use plastic waste, reduces carbon emissions and assists Australia’s growing plastic recycling problem all by removing water.
By using Happy Human’s refillable “just-add-water” household products, consumers can counter single-use plastic waste and reduce carbon emissions.
The venture was founded in 2020 by Vinnie Ong, a scuba diver who watched her favourite diving spots become plastic dumping grounds. She left her corporate career to pursue single-use plastic alternatives that were accessible, affordable and effective.
“Seeing the direct impacts single-use plastics have made on our environment is what sparked my interest in looking at alternatives,” explains Ong.
“Unfortunately, Australia is still lacking the technology, infrastructure and financial incentives for manufacturers to use recycled materials, so the majority of our plastic waste is ending up on our beautiful coastlines and reefs or exported to developing countries,” she says.
A mere 9 per cent of all plastic waste produced has been recycled, with 12 per cent incinerated and the balance ending up in landfills or the ocean.
But the benefit of mixing powders with water at home in reusable containers also reduces carbon emissions – a sachet of powder weighs a lot less than containers full of liquid, reducing freight costs and shipping space. With the majority of supermarket household cleaning brands imported from overseas, manufacturers are effectively creating carbon emissions shipping heavy products – primarily comprising water – around the world.
Ong says the average Australian household uses at least 50 single-use plastic bottles of home and personal care products – and most of those products comprise 80 per cent water. If just 10,000 households made the simple switch to refillable and concentrated systems such as Happy, 500,000 plastic bottles could be saved from ending up in landfill or the ocean by 2022 – not to mention the impact on carbon emissions.
How it works
Using Happy Human products is simple. Consumers fill their reusable bottle with warm tap water, drop in the tablets from a sachet and wait for them to dissolve. Twist the lid on, shake it gently to mix it all up – and the products are ready to use.
“For Aussies to have a real individual impact on the single-use plastic crisis, we need to change behaviour to the action and habit of refilling rather than recycling – and to do that, sustainable refill choices need to be more accessible and budget friendly,” explains Ong. “This is what inspired me to launch Happy Human.”
The tablets Happy Human sells for blending with water have been developed by condensing the active ingredients of cleaning and homecare products and removing the water. They are wrapped in compostable paper.
Customers of Happy Human can purchase their own kit, including empty refillable bottles, and from then on just order sachets delivered to the door.
All Happy Human packaging is good for the planet, all ingredients are safe for pets and babies, palm oil free, plant-based, vegan, and cruelty free.
Happy Human is going beyond just supplying cleaning solutions to consumers – the company donates 1% of its profits to Plastic Bank, an organisation that helps the world stop ocean plastic while improving the lives of collector communities in Indonesia, Haiti, Brazil, the Philippines, and Egypt.
“Through our partnership with Plastic Bank, the Happy Human community has already helped prevent 50,300 plastic bottles from entering the ocean since February this year,” says Ong.
That’s really amazing. This one of the best solutions to protect our planet Earth. It’s really interesting that the company has launched a range of refillable and concentrated cleaning products that closes the loop on single-use plastic waste, reduces carbon emissions and assists Australia’s growing recycling problem all by removing water. I hope this will become successful.