Bio-D – the story behind the ethical cleaning brand

Read Time:   |  15th April 2021

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Bio-D launched over 30 years ago as pioneers in the ethical cleaning industry. We catch up with them to find out why being vegan is so important to them and how environmentally-friendly packaging is key to their future


When and why was Bio-D first launched?

Bio-D was first set up in 1989 by its founder Michael Barwell.

Back in the 1980’s, Michael’s job was to clean and maintain commercial ships. This was tough work, using industrial cleaning products that needed heavy-duty safety equipment to use – including a breathing respirator.

Shocked to find that many of the ingredients in the products he used at work could also been found in everyday household cleaning products, Michael started looking for naturally-derived alternatives that would still clean effectively, without harming people or the environment.

And so, Bio-D was born!

Did you have educate people a lot on why the other cleaning products on the market were so bad for them when Bio-D first launched?

It can be hard to believe that such harmful chemicals can be found in household cleaning products, so yes it was a challenge at first.

However, being environmentally responsible is becoming more and more important to people in all areas of their everyday lives, so the message is spreading!

What do you wish you’d known about running a cruelty-free business when you first set up Bio-D?

At first, suppliers of cruelty-free ingredients could be particularly hard to find – making sure their products and processes complied with our strict ethos and key values.

Thankfully now, after over 30 years in the industry, we have built up a trusted network of partners that provide great ethically sound ingredients helping us to deliver our range.


Why was it important for Bio-D’s products to be vegan?

Here at Bio-D, our main priority is to create products that are as ethical as possible – and to us, animal welfare is a fundamental part of this.

That’s why we make sure that none of our products are tested on animals, and that none of our ingredients are derived from animal by-products.

How do you source your ingredients to make sure they are both ethical and sustainable?

When sourcing new ingredients, we perform a thorough assessment of both the supplier and the ingredient, to ensure the credentials align with our range of accreditations and quality requirements.

What is Bio-D’s most popular product?

Our customers particularly like our lime and aloe vera sanitising hand wash – as well as being vegan, it smells great, leaves hands feeling fresh, and is 100% hypoallergenic, so suitable for even the most sensitive skin!

The packaging is also recyclable, and created from recycled plastics to reduce its impact on the planet.

You use lavender and juniper a lot in your laundry range – why did you choose these two ingredients?

We use pure essential oils to fragrance our products and lavender has always been popular with our consumers. It’s also calming, which we love – there’s nothing like fresh bedding delicately scented with a little lavender.

Choosing juniper was a bit of a wild card at the time, but the scent is rich and lively and smells wonderful. I

t was something different to the market – long before the gin craze kicked in!


Has Covid-19 created a greater demand for Bio-D’s products?

Household cleaning and hand soap markets certainly saw a steep increase from March 2020. The demand was so high that we saw a 53% increase in wholesale sales compared to 2019.

This is now starting to level off, but we are definitely seeing more people looking for sustainable alternatives to traditional cleaning products.

We have seen a 65% increase in sales of our refills over the past year, which is great for helping to reduce plastic use.

Have you developed any new products in reaction to this?

We have had our all purpose sanitiser tested against Covid-19 in accordance with European testing method EN 14776.

We’ve also been updating our range of sanitising hand washes, which will soon be available to customers.

Why did you decide to apply for the Vegan Trademark?

The Vegan Trademark really aligns with Bio-D’s ethics and beliefs around animal welfare, so it seemed like a natural decision to sign up, and it’s something we pride ourselves on holding.

It’s a trademark that people value and trust, and us having it gives our customers peace of mind that we are following the requirements for the accreditation.

Having the well-known logo on pack is an easy way for people to know the formulation doesn’t include any animal by-products, and that the formulations haven’t been tested on animals.

What are Bio-D’s focuses for 2021 as a business?

Our focus as always is to continue innovating and providing the best products for our customers. We are always looking for new ways to give people access to the Bio-D range and creating new products for them to enjoy.

We will also be continuing to focus on making our packaging as environmentally friendly as possible, reducing our impact on the planet.

Has this got you in the mood for a spring clean? Get started with our round-up of the best eco-friendly cleaning products


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Vegan Food & Living

Vegan Food & Living is a magazine dedicated to celebrating the vegan lifestyle. Every issue is packed with 75 tasty recipes, plus informative features.

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