Loyola University Chicago
Meliora Cleaning Products is a brand that makes products that are designed to be good for consumers and the planet. All of the ingredients are listed on their packaging and, unlike cleaning products from bigger brands, the ingredients do not require science degrees to understand them. Every ingredient is included for a purpose and Meliora lets you know exactly what the purpose is with descriptions of each ingredient listed on the company website.
Beyond just the actual soap, Meliora strives to make its packaging as eco-friendly as possible. Most of the products come in plastic-free packaging and the ones that require spray bottles are made to be used with reusable bottles. This allows Meliora to reduce the amount of plastic it produces and releases into the world. There is a huge problem with single-use plastics that are used once and then either recycled or thrown into a landfill. By making sure there is no single-use plastic coming from the factory, Meliora is reducing the amount of unnecessary waste that is released into the world.
Meliora’s innovation goes beyond its products. The company also experiments with business and manufacturing processes, like lean production, as it tries to become a zero-waste company. Lean production is a business practice that focuses on being as efficient as possible. Some lean production practices include activities such as just-in-time inventory to avoid keeping unnecessarily large amounts of inventory on hand or ensuring the factory is as efficient as possible. By using lean production practices, Meliora is able to cut down on producing avoidable waste both in materials and time. As a start-up company, Meliora had the ability to set its factory up in ways contrary to traditional manufacturing methods. The company could choose not to use single-use plastics in its factory and, through experimentation, explore new ways to make it's business more efficient and eco-friendly.
When Kate Jakubas was studying for her Masters in Environmental Engineering, she saw a need for transparency in the cleaning product industry. Many of the regulations she thought would be in place in the industry simply were not there. She also noticed that brands that tried to make a positive impact either focused on using natural ingredients or on making eco-friendly packaging, but very seldom both. So that is what she decided to focus on. She wanted to create a company with products that were both good for people because of the ingredients and good for the planet because of the packaging and manufacturing process.
With her background in science and engineering, Kate started experimenting with different plant-based soap recipes until she found the right combinations to make safe and effective cleaning products. Her soaps are all vegetable-based and non-toxic. Meliora explains why each ingredient is used in each product. This allows customers to know exactly what they are buying and bringing into their homes.
Meliora Cleaning Products provides a viable alternative to harsh and often harmful cleaning products. The company provides an easy way for consumers to switch to a less wasteful way to clean their homes and do their laundry. Meliora also has made a big impact on their local Chicago community. By not using the toxic chemicals and materials that are often found in the soap manufacturing industry, the company is making sure it is not negatively affecting the community it serves.
When asked how she feels about the triple bottom line model of business, a model that focuses on environmental, social, and economic sustainability, Kate said that it was really important to have all three aspects of sustainability. Specifically, when it comes to profit, Kate said it was important to show that an environmentally and socially responsible company can be successful. Kate also said that the traditional model of philanthropy has been that people go to work, to make money that they can donate to a charity. Instead, she thinks that it can expand to include people using their jobs to create a direct positive impact on society. This is what Meliora strives to be.
Regarding social and environmental benefits, Meliora is working to address three UN Sustainable Development Goals (1) No Poverty, (12) Responsible Consumption & Production, and (13) Climate Action. For example, one of the company's goals this year is to eliminate the manufacture of one million plastic soap bottles, a goal that Meliora is on track to reach. This goal addresses UN Global Goal 12 of responsible consumption and production. Other practices, such as not releasing toxic chemicals into the local ecosystem or the company's commitment to becoming zero-waste. These practices contribute to Goal 13 of climate change. Meliora is not just focused on being an environmentally sustainable company, it is also a socially responsible one. Meliora Cleaning Products is proud to say that it pays all of the employees a living wage, which is how they are contributing to UN Goal 1 of no poverty. By starting in the local community, the company is showing that it is possible to pay employees a living wage and take care of employees. The company takes pride in being a reliable company and a good place to work.
Kate Jakubas, Owner
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Chicago, IL, US
Business Website: meliorameansbetter.com
Year Founded: 2013
Number of Employees: 2 to 10