Where it all began…
Back in 2006 I heard about soapnuts from overseas and so set out to find a supplier here in Australia. My search was fruitless and so I started investigating how I could introduce soapnuts to Australia. Many people seemed to be interested in reducing the level of toxins in their lives…surely I wasn’t alone in realising this little dried berry could be our answer?
Fast forward almost half a year of negotiations with our diligent friends in the Quarantine department and we had almost a ton of neatly stacked soapnut shells…just what had we got into?? Thankfully the gamble paid off and rather than having several lifetimes supply of cleaning products sitting dormant in our garage, I quickly realised there was an energetic and passionate population of Aussies keen to eliminate toxins from their lives as well as positively impact their own environmental footprint.
Now almost 10 years later, we are relaunching ‘Soap in a Nutshell’ as Planetkind and with that encapsulating all that we stand for. It’s all about spreading a little kindness – to humans, to animals and to the planet. Read on to find out what that means to us….
We read more and more about the many unknown chemicals we are subjecting ourselves and our children to every day.
Modern detergents are comprised of a concoction of fragrances, endocrine disruptors (basically – chemicals that mess with our hormones) , toxins and potentially cancer-causing chemicals. A US Study of laundry dryer vents found dangerous levels of chemical emissions including known carcinogens and hazardous air pollutants. Repeatedly skin conditions such as eczema are being linked with detergent use. Even supposedly ‘green’ products have had their bad press.
It’s all enough to make your head spin…well it did ours anyway. So let’s keep it simple. Planetkind products are 100% natural, with nothing synthetic, nothing known to cause any allergies – in fact they are grown from a tree with very little intervention from us humans at all.
We want children to grow up without having distressing skin conditions, we want them to hit puberty at a time natural to them rather than being rushed into it from overexposure to chemicals.
In fact we want everyone to have the opportunity to make informed decisions about the chemicals they expose themselves to and to have the choice to avoid them if they wish. And we don’t believe that you should have to pay a premium to go toxin free.
But Human-kindness is not just about you lovely people who choose to take our products home. It’s about everyone we touch including the employees involved in growing, harvesting and processing our products.
We took great care in selecting our Indian based supplier – Mother Herbs – as they share our fundamental philosophies. A small, rural based business, soapnut processing provides permanent work for around 50 employees and up to 200 mainly local, otherwise unemployed, women in shelling season which is all still performed manually. They take pride in ensuring that a fair wage is paid.
We strongly believe in spreading kindness beyond our own front doorstep. We commit to sending a portion of all proceeds to a registered charity which aligns with our values. We are strong advocates for foodwatershelter – an amazing little NGO that builds and runs eco-friendly children’s villages with education, social and health facilities for children in developing countries.
Read more on what foodwatershelter does and how we support them in their objectives.
It goes without saying that our products are not, and have never been tested on animals. (Why would we need to? They have been used safely by humans for hundreds of years). But Animal-kindness goes further than that.
Most of what we use in our homes ends up in our waterways, which inevitably means that marine life bears the brunt of the chemical concotions that flow down the drains (including biodegradable solutions). The impact of this is damage to marine life mucus layers that protect the fish from bacteria and parasites; they can cause severe damage to the gills; they decrease the breeding ability and ultimately kill them when levels get too high. Phosphates create excess algae that uses up available oxygen for aquatic life.
It’s not just humans that are affected by toxins – our pets also bear the brunt of the output of the products that we use at home and many pet cleaning products contain many chemical nasties too. Soapnuts can be made into a quick and easy pet cleaning solution that will spread a little toxin-free kindness to your best friend too.
From the planting of the soapnut seeds through to disposal and by-products – our mantra is to be Planetkind at every touchpoint.
- Sustainable production : Soapnuts have been growing in the wild for centuries in the area we source them from. Our supplier continues to harvest them in a sustainable manner with planting taking place every 2 years to preserve soil quality.
- Our soapnuts are planted, harvested and processed in the same way as they have been for centuries – which has by its very nature been organic (recently awarded USDA certification). This method preserves tradition, maintains higher levels of rural employment and minimises the environmental impact.
- Transport: we ship our soapnuts rather than using airfreight (airfreight creates 50 times more CO2).
- Packaging: we aim to have minimal packaging, which where possible is made from recycled material. We encourage further reuse/recycling of all packaging.
- By-products: Grey water can be added to the garden following use of Planetkind products. Soapnuts have in fact been found to have positive impact upon contaminated soil.
- Toxin-free: Now and forever.