Small tablets that make a huge difference to our world – yes, this is the smart cleaning tablets formulated by Simply Good! Today, we will be sharing an interview that we have done with Jeremy, a co-founder of SimplyGood, in conjunction with World Environment Day. Let’s pick up some useful saving tips and learn more about the pressing environmental matters in Singapore too through this article.
Could you tell me more about your company's vision and mission?
SimplyGood is reimagining the homecare & cleaning industry to be more sustainable through the use of dehydrated cleaning tablets & green refill packaging.
Our mission is to develop products that are Environmentally friendly, Effective, Safe & Non-toxic – Cleaning up the planet, one home at a time.
One of our flagship products is SimplyGood’s dehydrated cleaning tablets, which aims to reduce single-use plastic packaging & bottles while lowering our carbon footprint. These cleaning products come in the unique form of tablets instead of the conventional packaging that we’re all used to – liquid solutions in plastic bottles. They are formulated and designed with sustainability and a greener supply chain in mind.
Therefore, they are 300x smaller and 200x lighter as compared to traditional liquid cleaning solutions in plastic bottles. This not only saves plastics but also significantly reduces our carbon footprint on the environment from a logistics and supply chain perspective.
With SimplyGood, our consumers are receiving a whole year’s supply of cleaning solutions in a single envelope through their mailbox! More often than not, consumers are paying for a plastic bottle made up of 96% water with these traditional cleaning products. In fact, a large part of the cost is attributed to the transportation of the plastic bottle and liquid, hence, this is highly carbon and resource inefficient.
SimplyGood provides an innovative and eco-friendly alternative, where we focus on providing only what you need – 4% of the active cleaning ingredients dehydrated into a cleaning tablet (Naturally derived) which dissolves in 500ml of water and plastic bottle that you already have at home – Refill. Reduce. Recycle.
From my observation, I feel that most Singaporeans are not used to the idea of cleaning tablets yet, as most might purchase refill packs as an alternative. What do you think of this?
I feel that refill packs are just a means to an end but not exactly the solution to our single-use plastic problem. The real problem lies with a liquid-based formulation. As long as liquids are present in a formulation, it will likely need to be contained in a plastic format. A refill pack is good for reducing the amount of plastic used in the packaging overall.
We also provide such refill pack options for some of our liquid-based products like our SimplyGood Food Grade Sanitisers. Our refill sachets use 70% less plastic and are mainly made from recyclable aluminum. However, due to its liquid-based nature, it is still limited in its ability to reduce single-use plastic.
Could you also tell me more about the shelf life of your products as compared to normal cleaning solutions?
In comparison to normal pre-made liquid cleaning products, our dehydrated cleaning tablets have a much longer shelf life as it is only active when mixed with water. As long as our dehydrated cleaning tablets are unopened, kept in their sealed packaging, and away from moisture, they will not expire. Unlike normal cleaning solutions which might have its components dissociate over time, our cleaning tablets are relatively inactive and will not dissociate as long as it is unused and stored properly.
Our tablets take on a decentralised approach, where consumers make their cleaning solutions at home when they need to use them. All you have to do is to pop a tablet into a bottle of water, and you can use it after it dissolves within 50 minutes.
I understand that you are a graduate with a degree in Information Systems. Despite your lack of experience in the science sector, what compelled you to start the idea of selling the detergent tablet?
My entrepreneurial journey started with the desire to solve problems. I started my first company UglyGood back in 2017, and at that point, it required a good understanding of chemistry, waste valorisation, and formulations – all of which I severely lacked as I was only a Singapore Management University (SMU) Information Systems Junior.
However, with the desire to learn and solve problems, I began leveraging the existing resources I had and started learning from research papers online and consulted with industry experts, mentors and advisors from research institutions and professors from universities. Soon after, we managed to create our minimum viable product (MVP) and bootstrapped the business to gain further traction. We were then able to hire an in-house professional chemist to improve on our formulations and create more products that are in line with our roadmap and vision.
Personally, I feel that learning the bare essentials quickly and putting together a team to complement your shortcomings are the approaches that entrepreneurs should take to overcome any challenges and solve any problems. If there is a will, there is a way.
As one of the main aims of your detergent tablets is to reduce plastic usage in product packaging, how do you think Singaporeans can be further encouraged to make the active change?
I think that it might take some time and effort for people to change their mindsets and lifestyles. Through a step-by-step approach, we can actively encourage people to partake in sustainable behaviours. Firstly, we encourage Singaporeans to be open-minded and take an interest to learn more about sustainability. Through education, we hope that people that are more willing to make lifestyle changes are able to start taking small steps in their daily life such as switching off the lights and aircon when not in use, reducing single-use plastics, and switching up their purchasing habits to support eco-friendly options. The key here is to participate in simple acts that are not too inconvenient and costly. By making such iterative small changes in their lifestyles and behaviours, they will realise it is not too difficult to lead a sustainable lifestyle.
We understand that some Singaporeans might not be receptive or willing to go out of the way to make huge changes. Hence, at SimplyGood we try to make our products as easy, convenient, and affordable for consumers to engage with. Our cleaning tablets are easy to use and cheaper than existing market options. We also actively engage and attract the interest of consumers by ensuring that our products are interesting and innovative.
On the topic of plastic and general waste, what do you think of our locals' recycling and consumption habits in general? What do you think can be improved through your learning along the way in SimplyGood?
For a small country, Singapore does produce quite a bit of waste – 5,880,000 tonnes to be exact (Source, NEA). Most of our general waste is not recycled but mainly incinerated which finally ends up in Pulau Semakau Landfill. This is not a sustainable option in the long run when we run out of landfill space. Currently, most sustainability initiatives are governmental driven. But I do feel that there has been improvement in this area as more companies are stepping up to tackle issues surrounding sustainability and creating more circular economy solutions. I believe that the community can do a bit more in terms of stepping up and taking the initiative to be more responsible in terms of our consumption and production, as our actions will affect the environment.
Businesses can come up with newer and more innovative solutions to creatively tackle such problems. The sustainability industry in Singapore is bound to grow significantly over the next few years. I have good faith that our development as a country will also flourish and grow sustainably, as long as we do our part for our environment.
Lastly, I feel that individuals should remain open-minded and receptive to concepts concerning sustainability. This is crucial towards our nations’ progress in sustainability, as each consumers’ purchasing decision will drive the market demand and business actions. As more consumers choose to purchase sustainably, the free market system will correct itself, and businesses will serve these market needs and produce more responsibly as well. As for individuals who are already educated about such matters, it will be good for them to continue spreading awareness in the community and consume responsibly.
As we are on the topic of World Environment Day, what is one thing that you'd like to tell our readers in conjunction with this event?
I would say that it is important for all of us to keep an open mind towards opinions and issues surrounding sustainability, and we should not just merely treat it as an afterthought. The positive actions we take today will collectively improve the environment if we try!
After hearing Jeremy’s views and thoughts, are you more compelled to make the change for our environment? It might not seem like much, but with our combined efforts, surely, we can make the world a better place starting from our small changes and acts.