Brauzz: cleaning with powder
The carbon footprint of cleaning products is large: a bottle of cleaning product consists of about 90 per cent water and the packaging is usually made of disposable plastic. So why buy and transport home cans of shampoo, shower gel, hand soap or cleaning product? Surely we have water at home too when we turn on the tap? With powder that we can brew into detergent at home, start-up Brauzz brings an ecological alternative.
We underestimate how many kilos of water are transported every day and how much energy it takes to recycle empties. Incidentally, of the 50 million tonnes of plastic waste produced annually in Europe, only a fraction is recycled. In their search for solutions, many companies replace plastic with natural materials. Nevertheless, quite a lot of this packaging also simply ends up in the rubbish bin, and therefore does not solve the waste problem. Companies are therefore better off asking themselves whether their packaging fits into the circular economy and is therefore recyclable, reusable or completely avoidable. Sometimes the adaptation of a product can make it possible to change the packaging, and a new business model is even created that way.
Three young entrepreneurs wondered whether it would be possible to powder liquid products. Removing the water would save on transport and packaging, and thus pollution. The result: powdered concentrated cleaning products. Mixed with water from the tap, customers can brew their own detergent in the same, reusable bottle each time, allowing them to limit their purchases to refills. These are delivered by post in a cardboard box. The cleaners are fully biodegradable and consist of 99 per cent natural ingredients. They are also 100 per cent vegan and animal-free. The refill bags are compostable. Besides cleaning powder, Brauzz also developed a washing strip: a soluble sheet of washing powder that goes into the washing machine. Not only do Brauzz products thus reduce waste; they also reduce emissions from transport and overconsumption.
Concentrated products such as syrups or washing-up liquids have of course been around for some time, and shampoo bars have also been popular for a few years now. Still, for a lot of people it takes getting used to swapping toothpaste from a tube for non-liquid toothpaste tablets. Powders are then a great alternative for those who want to live more sustainably but do not want to sacrifice comfort. For Brauzz, the main target group is not so much those who already consciously live sustainably, but those who do not really want to change their lifestyle without making great efforts: sustainable living in high heels, they call it at Brauzz. The start-up therefore focuses on convenience by delivering to home.
Antwerp Management School
Brauzz was founded by three young entrepreneurs who met during their final year at Antwerp Management School. After Ruben Renaer, Lowie Vercraeye and Manush Barvar drew up a fictitious business plan and financial plan as a school assignment, they started looking for funding. The start-up was financed with their own funds, Winwin loans and investor capital from, among others, Boris Bogaert and Wim Derkinderen of Xpenditure, a start-up that develops software for digitising expense reports. This was later followed by a bank loan and a Start Loan. To develop the product range, Brauzz is working with a European partner. In November 2020, the webshop went online. By the end of 2021, Brauzz sold the alternative to more than 55,000 disposable bottles through the shop. The start-up is now exploring possible collaborations with cleaning companies to reach a larger market share.