This Delhi startup is aiming at a cleaner earth by offering alternative solutions to harmful chemicals

Founded by Gaurav Mahendru, Shruti Taneja and Abhishek Taneja, Berry Clean offers a range of cleaning products that are toxin free, 100 percent natural and scientifically backed.
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Every day we are surrounded by potentially hazardous chemicals which we cannot see. Synthetic chemicals are in almost everything that we touch and consume. These chemicals can be toxic because they can harm us when they enter or come in contact with our body.

These elements are well-integrated into our daily ablutions and the health risk associated with it cannot be overlooked. Some chemicals can be potentially harmful and cause long-term health effects due to our exposure on a daily basis. 

There is thus a dire need to challenge the existing chemical-based harmful products and replace them with ecologically responsible and sustainable ones: which are good for you, your home, the society and earth. 

Realising this need, husband-wife duo Shruti and Abhishek Taneja along with Gaurav Mahendru started Berry Clean. The platform offers a range of natural cleaning products which claim to be beneficial for health, society, and earth.

Abhishek Taneja (left) after a seminar on sustainability and waste management at Shoolini University.

“On an average, we use a minimum of 10-12 products including the cleaning products, clothes we wear, mattresses, food containers, and cosmetics that have harsh chemicals in them which are not meant for consumption. Some products that we use in the name of hygiene have poisonous chemicals. We are providing an alternative replacement for chemical cleaners based on the factors of sustainability. It not only helps in cleaning but also makes sure that the toxic chemicals are not absorbed by our bodies and do not remain on the surfaces that we use them on," explains Abhishek.



Sowing the seeds

Berry Clean is inspired by nature and has been launched to promote a sustainable lifestyle which is in harmony with nature. It strives to empower farmers, self-help groups, and micro-enterprises by offering sustainable packaging, shipping, and creating zero-waste and natural organic products.

When Shruti and Abhishek were introduced to natural cleaners by their close friend Dinesh (now a mentor to Berry Clean), they gradually started replacing all their synthetic cleaners with natural cleaners. This was the early stage of the idea.

Shruti and Abhishek are also founding members of EarthJust Ecosystems, an organisation that is trying to build an ecosystem to promote sustainable living practices for a clean (swacch), beautiful (sundar), healthy (swasth), capable (saksham), prosperous (samriddh), unified (sanyukt), and perpetual (satat) community (samaj).

In the last two years, through EarthJust they have been guiding people on the benefits of natural cleaners. While conducting these workshops, the promoters realised that people have a strong urge to shift to natural cleaners but are unable to find the time to make them on their own. This was the possibility stage of the idea.

Gaurav was part of this awareness building journey as a family member and advisor to EarthJust. Having worked earlier in Gillette, P&G and Biotique, he had the experience in the cleaning segment.

Gauvrav joined Shruti and Abhishek in starting Berry Clean. Operational from 2019, the startup advocates the idea of sustainable lifestyle. It offers a range of natural cleaning products that are toxin free, 100 percent natural and scientifically backed.

The startup tries to balance the “triple bottom line” which is people, planet, and profit. The entire process from production to consumption and beyond is said to be people and planet-friendly to the extent that the cleaners do not pollute the drainage or sewage system either.

Cleaner environment

“Competition is not a part of our ethos. We believe in collaborating and spreading the idea of right cleanliness. If we need to attain sustainable living, we all need to start collaborating. What we offer is a bundle of #RightClean - a solution that is #Right for Health, #Right for Society and #Right for Earth. This business model pushes and allows us to work on almost all the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Abhishek.

He adds,

“Our unique selling point is the way we are designing our business model - an eco-model (sustainable economically and ecologically) - right from sourcing the key raw product from farmers, unorganised and micro entrepreneurs, to developing a technology that learns from the evolutionary science, and using one that creates magic from waste through simple science, and marrying that with lean processes.”

Its solutions are said to be lean, modular, and scalable that work for all people involved in the value chain from farmers to micro-entrepreneurs to consumers to recyclers. The Berry Clean products consume minimum energy from production to consumption - a solution which is circular and as close to zero waste as possible. 

Berry Clean uses natural ingredients such as citrus bio-enzyme, soapberry or soapnut extract, essential oil, and water to make its products. The team sources sustainable packaging options from bottles to dunnage to redesigning shipping model that focus on refills and subscription.

Berry Clean presently has a portfolio of nine products across five categories. These categories are aimed to take care of one’s home, baby, laundry, kitchen, and institutions. Apart from this, the company also offers a six-month subscription where the customers can subscribe to the products of their choice for six months and the team will deliver it every three months in bulk bottles and refill packs. 

“We are responsible producers and are happy to take back the bottles, cartons and all packaging material if they are not of use to the customer. We even offer a discount for it. Additionally, we are happy to conduct workshops and seminars on the facts and science behind natural cleaners. We also conduct DIY (Do-it-Yourself) workshops on how to make some of these at home,” Abhishek tells YourStory.



For a sustainable future

In the seven months since it started operations, past three months were consumed by COVID-19. The startup however managed to build a consumer base of over 1,000 customers. “We are already supplying to one of the first chain of Zero-Waste Stores across India, two institutions in large returnable containers and directly to our loyal consumers in the NCR region and across India,” says Abhishek, adding that the company is currently focussed on delivering its products in Delhi-NCR region.

As institutions and factories are getting ready to open amid the lockdown relaxations, Abhishek believes that Berry Clean products can be used to clean and sanitise workplaces.

“As people return to work, there will be more chances of germs, dust, and pests which call for frequent and excessive cleaning. Unfortunately, most of the institutional cleaning products available today have strong synthetic chemicals that release harmful toxins, drastically increasing indoor air pollution. Our products help in saving resources by keeping germs and pests at bay, without the strong chemical toxins and residues in grey water. They even come with essential oils to lend a nice aroma to your office/work area,” says Abhishek.

Going forward, the team wants to reach out to more consumers and introduce the natural cleaning products to them. The startup is also planning to expand beyond India and are in talks to take it to Denmark.

Edited by Javed Gaihlot

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