Making cleaning up cleaner is the goal for entrepreneur

SUDmerge founder Emily White (19), of Dunedin, gets ready to clean up at the Petridish penthouse...
SUDmerge founder Emily White (19), of Dunedin, gets ready to clean up at the Petridish penthouse kitchen in Stafford St.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Building better business ideas is the mission for  University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students who have taken part in Startup Dunedin’s Audacious programme. This week in a series for The Star, reporter Simon Henderson talks to a bubbly student who is all in a lather about her cleaning concept.

About eightbillion litres of dishwashing liquid is sold each year in New Zealand.

That is a lot of soapy water poured down the sink and ending up in our wastewater systems, SUDmerge founder Emily White says.

The University of Otago first-year student decided she wanted to find a kinder way to wash dishes.

Her product uses sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, sodium coco sulphate and Himalayan salt to create a powdered dishwashing sprinkle that breaks down oils and fats to clean dishes.

Essential oils are added to provide a range of fresh scents for her cleaning solution.

The idea for SUDmerge began when Miss White and some of her Darfield High School classmates took part in the Young Enterprise Scheme last year.

Darfield High School classmate Sophie Palmer, now studying at Lincoln University, was continuing to help with the project, Miss White said.

‘‘We were trying to find an everyday product that we could improve upon.’’

The aim was to find a product that was environmentally friendly and septic tank-safe, she said.

Her experience living in a rural area in Darfield informed her ideas.

‘‘Where I am from everyone has septic tanks and a lot of them are really sensitive to a lot of dishwashing products and it is very limited what you can put down your septic tank.

‘‘I thought if it is killing the bugs in the septic tanks, what is it doing to everything else it comes into contact with.’’

With the experience and research undertaken for the Young Enterprise Scheme they were able to successfully develop and sell about 45 units of the product.

Now the aim was to continue to research and develop the formula to create a product that had a long shelf life.

She was exploring sustainable packaging, including using aluminium containers instead of plastic, Miss White said.

Another idea was to create refill stations in supermarkets, which would enable consumers to use their own containers to fill up.

‘‘Just to make it really user-friendly is what we are trying to figure out at the moment.’’


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