Company News - 2017 Goals: 6 Month Check-Up July 22, 2017 11:44 1 Comment
Overall, we're doing pretty good. We knocked off our "Tours" goal already, but you're still more than welcome to stop in and check out what we do anytime. Send us a note and schedule a tour today!
Sales are up, and waste is down. We like this combination. We've noticed that it's WAY easier to reduce production waste as you grow. We're buying raw materials by the pallet and barrel instead of case and bucket.
Thanks to everyone who has told a friend or two about us. We've been working like crazy to get the word out about Meliora Cleaning Products, and there's NO WAY we could do what we've done without you. We've got some aggressive awareness goals for 2017, but think we can make it.
Any questions or comments on our goals and what we've been up to in 2017? Let us know.
Have a great summer. You'll hear more about 2017 Goals later this fall.
5 Laundry Tips for Your Athletic Gear June 23, 2017 08:00 5 Comments
Performance fabrics do a great job of keeping us cool while working out or doing yard work, but sometimes they result in your home smelling like a locker-room. While some people might like that smell, here’s a few ways to prevent it for those with a nose for a cleaner smelling home.
Air it Out!
Leaving a pile of sweaty clothes balled up after a workout is easy. However, it’s also a breeding ground for bacteria, which is what causes that “locker-room” smell (especially those synthetic fabrics!).
Even if you’re not going to wash them right away, hang your workout clothes over the edge of the hamper (or washer) to let them air out. Your family (and houseguests) will thank you.
Say "NO" to Fragrance
To make your clothes smell “clean”, scented detergents must leave something behind. These residual fragrances can cause skin irritations and/or allergies. Switch to a synthetic fragrance- and dye-free alternative to keep your clothes fresh, clean, and working great.
Less is More
More is better does not apply to laundry detergent! Excess detergent lingers in your clothes, reducing wicking material performance and adding unnecessary weight. In as little as 10 washes you can add 2% extra weight to your clothes – all in excess detergent. Next time you want to add some extra weight to your workout, use ankle weights instead of detergent-loaded socks.
Skip the Softener
Fabric softeners can gum up the wicking material of your favorite yoga pants or running shirts, keeping you sweatier and creating a great setup for bacteria growth. To keep these fabrics performing at their best, eliminate the fabric softener. Instead, use ¼ cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle. This works as a people- and planet-friendly alternative to synthetic, fragrance-laden softeners. Plus, vinegar breaks down completely in the wastewater process!
Skip the Dryer
We saved the easiest for last – hang dry your workout gear. The performance fabrics in your favorite running shirt is made to dry quickly, and the high heat in dryers can break down fabrics, especially synthetic materials.
Save the energy costs and keep your clothes in better shape by hanging them on a drying rack, doorknob, or back of your dining room chairs. Plus, hang-drying in the dry winter months adds moisture to the air in your home for free.
Company News - 2017 Goals June 16, 2017 14:53
Year in Review - Recap of 2016 Goals June 16, 2017 14:52
2016 was a great year for us. Not only did we move into our own dedicated production space, but we had a lot of fun doing it. Here's a recap of our goals from 2016. Some of them went awesome (we have a production space!), while others went well - but not as well as we had hoped.
We've always enjoyed talking to you in person at stores and events, as well as online. We were really excited in February of 2016, when we added a dedicated production space to the list of places you can talk with us.
Too much of what happens in the cleaning products industry is secret, taking place behind the closed doors of a laboratory or production facility. To help people understand their cleaning products better, we want to show our processes to anyone that wants to visit us in Chicago. We aim to create a space where people can see for themselves how our products are made, ask questions, and walk away having learned something worthwhile. Think Willy Wonka, but with higher safety standards and a little less chocolate.
We learned a lot from all the great questions and feedback we got from everyone. Thanks!
We aren't a perpetual motion machine, which means we create waste when we manufacture our products. We measure this waste as pounds of discarded landfill and recyclable materials, normalized to revenue. In case you forgot, our 2015 results were 3 lbs. of waste to the landfill and 14 lbs. of to the recycling center per thousand dollars in sales. Our goal is to continually get better and reducing the waste to the landfill and recycling facilities by 10% each in 2016.
We did GREAT on our reducing our recycling waste, cutting back 30% from 2015 to 2016. A lot of this came from being able to buy in much larger quantities. Barrels of organic coconut oil and pallets of washing soda create a LOT less waste than buckets and boxes!
One drawback of our very own production space is that we had to do a little construction to make it work for our needs. That meant drywall, wood, and other demo debris had to get tossed out. We kept (and reused) as much as we could, but some wasn't salvageable. Production landfill waste did improve by 7% over 2015, but since we can't simply ignore what went out our door as waste, so this construction waste is included in our total numbers.
As a small manufacturer, keeping costs of our goods down is always tough. We can't buy train cars of washing soda, so we can't get the best prices on things. We also buy from as sustainable of a source as we can find that meets our quality requirements, adding additional costs. While this might hurt one of our bottom lines, it helps the other two, and that makes it a trade-off worth making.
As we lower our costs, we get better budget flexibility to pay our staff and expand our sales and marketing activities. This lets us reach more people with our products, which starts the cycle all over again. Hooray!
Wrapping up 2016
We did manage to improve on EVERY goal we focused on, which is super. You'll see how we plan to build on that in 2017. Thanks to everyone who's been along for the journey so far. You've helped us learn and grow!
Now.....bring on 2017!
It IS Easy to be Green April 06, 2017 14:39 1 Comment
Cleaning is not typically a favorite home activity. Maybe that’s why it feels like an extra burden to figure out what “green cleaning” is – haven’t we already done enough? However, the cleaning products used in your home impact the indoor air quality, your health, and the environment. Making a few simple changes to the products you use means your normal routine - whether you are a strict cleaning-calendar adherent or you run through the house with a rag when company is on the way – just got greener.
We’ve listed 5 starter steps that’ll have you well on your way down the road to a people- and planet-friendly clean home.
If they won’t list the ingredients, don’t buy it
There’s no US Federal rule that requires cleaning products companies disclose their ingredients. THAT’S CRAZY! If someone can’t, or won’t, tell you exactly what’s in their bottle, put it back on the shelf. Then find a company with the good, common sense to list the ingredients on the label.
Not only on the website.
Not at some 1-800 number.
On. The. Label.
Every. Single. Ingredient.
The companies making cleaning products know what’s in them. You should, too. We list 100% of the ingredients on every product we sell because you deserve to know what’s in your home.
There are TONS of resources for ingredient information out there. Here are a couple of our favorites:
Eco-Scale: This is Whole Foods’ Market’s screening process for cleaning products. It does a great job breaking down what each ingredient does. It also shows you which ingredients aren’t allowed for each grade on their scale (red, orange, yellow, green). We’re proud all our products meet their highest standard, the “green” label.
Go here for the full list of ingredients banned at each level of the Eco-Scale seal.
MADE SAFE: Any product that’s MADE SAFE Certified has passed their screening of ingredients in their database for known harmful chemicals, as well as “bioaccumulation, persistence, and general and aquatic toxicity.” We’re one of the MADE SAFE certified brands, and they recently celebrated their 1st birthday as a source for better home products. Happy Birthday! They are extra awesome – they’ve got a HUGE list of really in-depth, technical sources they used to create their screening list.
Click here if you want to go down a regulatory rabbit hole, courtesy of madesafe.org.
Say No to "Fragrance"
If an ingredient list includes “fragrance” or “perfum(e)”, back away. These are industry terms that represent a mystery blend; the mixture can include any combination of over 3,000 different chemicals. Many fragrance chemicals have never been tested for their effect on people and the planet. Some are totally fine, but others are known to be not so people- or planet-friendly.
Sadly, for the majority of these ingredients, we have no idea if they‘re good or bad. With the current state of ingredient regulation in the USA, we may never find out. For the 6-14% of allergy sufferers that have a fragrance sensitivity, this is unacceptable.
Some claim this lack of transparency is necessary to protect “trade secrets.” However, business competitors have access to really, really cool labs that can analyze the fragrance blends. The only people left in the dark are those without such resources, which is you. We think “trade secret” is a different way to say, “If you knew what was in this product, you wouldn’t buy it.” You deserve better.
Back Off on Anti-Bacterial
The FDA has found no evidence that using triclosan makes families healthier and safer than cleaning with regular soap and water.
People- and Planet-Friendly alternative: Stick to good ol’ soap and water; wash your hands for 20 seconds (hum “Happy Birthday as you scrub your hands”) to make sure they’re good ‘n clean (if you want to know why 20 seconds is important, dive into the science here).
Buh-Bye to Bleach
Chlorine and bleach are very strong respiratory and skin irritants. In almost any case around the house, you don’t need them. Cleaning a surface and sanitizing are NOT the same, nor are they interchangeable.
People- and planet-friendlier alternatives: sodium percarbonate (aka “oxygen bleach”) and hydrogen peroxide are solid bleach replacements, however in most cases, clean is all you need. An all-purpose home cleaner, such as soap and water, is fine for wiping down counters, floors, and walls if they get dirty. Save the sanitation for when it’s really needed around raw meats and seafood, commercial/restaurant kitchens, or the home brewer in you.
Ammonia is another powerful respiratory, eye, and skin irritant. If you can’t get rid of ammonia, NEVER mix ammonia with chlorine (like toilet bowl cleaner). Ammonia reacts with the chlorine to create toxic chloramine vapor.
People- and planet-friendlier alternatives: Vinegar is a less irritating general cleaner. Rubbing Alcohol can step in as a surface disinfectant.
Wrapping It Up
If you conquer these 5 steps, you're off to a great start! There's plenty more to learn, but we've gotta start somewhere.
If you've got any questions, or want to add some facts to our research, drop us a line. We want to help you along the journey to a friendlier home and love to geek out on cleaning better!
Meliora Means Best (for the World)! September 08, 2016 05:00
MEDIA ADVISORY: For Immediate Release
Mike Mayer, Meliora Cleaning Products – (312) 721-7961 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Brock, B the Change Media - (785) 832-1222 ext. 208 or email@example.com
Meliora Cleaning Products Honored as Best for Community,
Creating Most Overall Positive Community Impact
Evaluated by Comprehensive B Impact Assessment
September 8, 2016: Chicago, IL
Today, Meliora Cleaning Products was named a Best For Community honoree by B the Change Media. The award indicates the Chicago-based manufacturer of people-friendly and planet-friendly home cleaning products has earned top scores in the area of Community Impact. Scores are based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the independent nonprofit B Lab. Honorees were honored at the first-annual Best for the World Celebration & Awards Ceremony at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas Business School. They are also featured in the upcoming fall issue of B Magazine, on B the Change’s digital platform, bthechange.com.
Meliora Cleaning Products is honored in the Best for Community list, which includes businesses that earned a Community score in the top 10 percent of more than 1,800 Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment. The full assessment measures a company's impact on its workers, community, customers and the environment. The 141 winning companies in the Community category come from 18 industries and 24 countries. B the Change Media simultaneously released separate lists recognizing B Corporations as Best for the World (overall impact), Best for the Environment, Best for Customers and Best for Workers.
The Community portion of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s supplier relations, diversity, and involvement in the local community. It also measures the company’s practices and policies around community service and charitable giving, including whether a company’s product or service is designed to solve a social issue, such as access to basic services, health, education, economic opportunity and the arts. Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for the high impact that business as a force for good can make on communities around the world.
“Being a Best for Community honoree is something our company is very proud of.” says Founder Kate Jakubas. “From working with Chicago-based suppliers to donating 2% or more of annual revenues to nonprofits, engaging with our community has made us a stronger company. We focus heavily on improving the People and Planet aspects of our business, and we always see concurrent improvements in Profit. For example, so far in 2016 we have embarked on an ambitious project to become the cleaning product company with the most robust ingredient screening criteria, driven down the waste created by our operations, and more than doubled our 2015 revenues.”
A total of 515 Certified B Corporations were named 2016 Best For the World Honorees, including: Warby Parker, Cooperative Home Care Associates, and Iroquois Valley Farms LLC. Additional 2016 Best for the Community honorees include: A to Z Wineworks, Beneficial State Bank, and Greyston Bakery. The selection criteria for Best for the World honorees are available at http://bit.ly/29ZYRSp.
Meliora Cleaning Products, led by Founder, Kate Jakubas, and President, Mike Mayer, has manufactured people- and planet-friendly home cleaning and laundry products in Chicago,since its founding in 2013. Meliora Cleaning Products is dedicated to full transparency in business, surpassing current US laws by fully disclosing all ingredients in its products and adhering to a triple-bottom-line approach to business that considers people, planet, and profits in all major business decisions. Meliora is a member of Women’s Voices for the Earth’s “No Secrets” Campaign since 2014, a Certified B Corporation since 2015, and MADE SAFE certified since 2016.
Meliora (meh-lee-OR-ah) is the Latin word for “better.” Meliora Cleaning Products are sold direct to consumers at meliorameansbetter.com, and via wholesale partners including Whole Foods Market and online retailers such as amazon.com and mightynest.com. Tours of the Meliora production facility are part of its approach to transparency and are available by appointment.
For more information and product details, visit meliorameansbetter.com.
B the Change Media was formed as a partnership between B Lab, the community of B Corporations, and Bryan Welch, former CEO of Ogden Publications. B the Change Media is a multiplatform media company whose mission is to build the world's largest engaged audience of people with a passion for using business as a force for good. B the Change Media has editorial and operating independence and covers compelling stories about business as a force for good, not just stories about B Corporations. B the Change Media has independent investors and is a subsidiary of B Lab.
For more information, visit http://www.bthechange.com.
B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world.
B Lab drives this systemic change by: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier to tell the difference between good companies and good marketing; 2) passing benefit corporation legislation to give business leaders the freedom to create value for society as well as shareholders; 3) helping businesses measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance with the free B Impact Assessment; 4) driving capital to impact investments through use of its B Analytics and GIIRS Ratings platform.
For more information, visit www.bcorporation.net.
Getting Bigger, Reducing Waste July 22, 2016 09:31 1 Comment
This week we have a lovely and very direct example to demonstrate that old phrase "economies of scale".
As you can see, after 3 years of staring guiltily at empty 3.5-pound boxes of washing soda that are exactly the same as the ones you can find on many retail shelves, we finally have upgraded to more industrial quantities and packaging. The 50-pound bags are a relief to waste-haters (and a throwback packaging format for Mike, who spent some time on the farm growing up).
It's one of the small people-planet-profit victories we like to celebrate; just ask how excited we were about our paper tape dispenser. (In fact, that could be an entire post. Glorious paper tape!!)
PEOPLE: opening individual boxes is a massive, massive pain. Box cutter through the perforation, grab the box, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. The strong glue holding the boxes together makes breaking them down flat such a pain we simply skipped this and would shove them into a big box for recycling. They were...unpleasant to work with.
PLANET: 50 pounds of washing soda fits in either a single 0.4-pound bag or about 14.5 paper boxes, totaling 2.6 pounds. That is an 85% reduction in waste!
PROFIT: Buying in bigger quantities means we are paying less per pound. This helps us keep costs down and reinvest in other triple-bottom-line improvements like more efficient lighting and equipment (to name two things on our wish list) as well as keep the bottom line of our business healthy so we can keep this whole thing going for years to come.
This wonderful triple bottom line of waste reduction is why we made a specific goal on this topic in 2016. Our glorious new washing soda packaging is going to help us meet this goal!
We are MadeSafe Certified! July 03, 2016 21:02
We have big news: Our products have been MADE SAFE certified!
We’ve been pioneering safer products for years, and we’re so proud to prove it with this revolutionary new certification. It's another way we are working to have the best ingredient safety and disclosure practices in the cleaning products industry. (See more information on that here and here.)
This seal means that products are made without known carcinogens, behavioral, reproductive, and neuro toxins, hormone disruptors, heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides, flame retardants, toxic solvents, or harmful VOCs and more! It also means that product ingredients have been examined for concerns for whether they build up in the environment or our bodies, and for general and aquatic toxicity.
In short, it means that we’re leading the way in making products that without ingredients known to harm human health.
So why is this important? Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of chemicals in use right now in products we use every day; very few of them have been studied and some have been linked to some serious health problems.
Combined with confusing marketing claims like “green” or “eco” (which don’t actually mean anything about how safe or healthy a product is!), this means that people have been stuck trying to figure out which products are actually safe and which ones aren’t – which is almost impossible!
The MADE SAFE seal aims to solve this problem. Finally, you have the power to easily find trusted, certified products that are made without known harmful chemicals. We’re so proud to put that power in your hands! See which products are certified MADE SAFE on our website at www.meliorameansbetter.com/madesafe.
With this seal, we’re leading the way to change how products are made in this country: safer and healthier. By buying MADE SAFE, you can help us bring about this change. Together we can eliminate toxic chemicals altogether!
Look for this seal on our products in stores and on our website, as well as on www.madesafe.org.
New Look For Our Product! June 25, 2016 19:05 1 Comment
You might have noticed that things are looking a little different around here recently. We've made some changes to our look by updating our logo and changing the look of our product packaging. Here's why we did that and what's changed:
Our logo and product packaging was created during the ancient era known as 2013. At that time, we were just getting started and we have since gotten a lot more comfortable with what our company stands for. We're a simple products company and we wanted a simpler look.
"Meliora K" is now "Meliora Cleaning Products". The legal company name is Meliora K, LLC, but the brand identity and logo is now simpler and more to the point. We are dropping the K from everyday use as it doesn't relate to what we're focused on every day - making better cleaning products. "Meliora" is a Latin word that means better, and Meliora Cleaning Products is what we do and who we are. Our new brand name and logo are here to say that in as few words as possible. The earth logo spoke to our environmental commitment, but our real goal is to be both people- AND planet- friendly, and sticking to our "meliora means better" is how we'll communicate that going forward.
Simplified Packaging: we have loved, loved, loved the sassy drawings of people doing housework wearing only socks and shoes, and we know a lot of you have gotten a chuckle from this as well. We're still fun, trust us. However, we want a simpler, sleeker look for products that will make it easier to create a variety of new products and easily identify them on shelf from other Meliora products as well as other cleaning products. Spending more packaging real estate on product names and information is how we are going to do that, and means we're going towards a look with fewer colors and big text.
New web address: instead of meliorak.com, we'll be using meliorameansbetter.com going forward. Fingers crossed, all links should redirect appropriately.
That's pretty much it - no ingredient changes, just a bit of a makeover on the outside. We'd love your feedback on our new look!
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