If you’re going to sell an eco-friendly product, it had better work as well as its unfriendly alternative. If not, it will fade into irrelevance. So it’s not surprising that Brad Liski, a co-founder of Tru Earth, wasn’t initially excited about the idea of a laundry detergent sold as a solid strip in an iPhone-sized package.
Then he tried the product, which has been patented by a member of his extended family. The strips worked so well he teamed up with his friend Ryan McKenzie, and McKenzie’s friend Kevin Hinton, to bring the product to market. They thought 150 subscription orders in their first month would get them started; they ended up with 1,500. The strips are eco-friendly in multiple ways. They not only nix the plastic of clunky plastic bottles, but because they weigh so little (less than three grams per strip), they’re much less fuel-intensive to ship. And this isn’t greenwashing—the product is demonstrably less wasteful than traditional detergent. “Our competitors are focused on manufacturing and productivity,” says Liski. “Tru Earth is focused instead on the quality and usability of our product and on reducing the environmental impact caused by its transportation.”