Going Green: ENJO
With initiatives to help the environment and people, this company is helping clean the planet – one cloth at a time.
ENJO is known for creating cleaning products that work simply with water. But even though the company has been around since 1985, you won't find ENJO products in supermarkets or physical stores.
Instead, you can shop online or with one of the company's direct sellers, who also offer demonstrations, product care information and can take back products for recycling when they wear out. But if you've never heard of ENJO or haven't seen how it works, you may be wondering what makes it a green option. So, we had a chat with ENJO CEO Barb de Corti to find out more.
What does your company do and how is it green?
Our product is made of fibre technology that replaces detergent and other cleaning products by working together with just water. Our products are reusable for three years – and that's when you use it every day.
In that time, people would use thousands of metres of paper towels, which one of our cloths would replace. Then detergent goes into our waterways, which can poison fish and damage the ecosystems of rivers.
The whole product is focused on sustainability and we manufacture to the highest standard.
Firstly, where we manufacture in Austria, we believe in a cradle-to-cradle approach. So we have various certificates and accreditations that get tested all the time and are to the highest standard.
We also have no carbon footprint for manufacturing. So transportation of our products is by train and ship instead of flying. Then we have product information to make sure the customer reuses it and, once it comes to the end of its life, the product goes back to the factory for recycling. Then it gets put together with other upcycled materials and made into car seats, insulation, et cetera. So it has another life and, once it gets replaced in the car, it can be used again for something else.
We also create very little microfibre waste and microplastic, which a lot of other microfibre cloths produce. It is equivalent to 7 grains of rice with ENJO. So we really give it thought across the board. A cheap microfiber will end up in waterways.
What inspires you and your business to be green?
The world. I look at the planet [and I think] nobody speaks for the planet… Also, you know, with looking after the planet or being sustainable or green comes looking after human beings. Because why do we still have people working under unbearable conditions? If we look after those people we would have a better planet.
It's the same with food. Everybody wants a $1 bottle of milk but then farmers suffer.
So if we look after human beings, we look after the planet. If we look after ourselves, we also look after the planet.
That's why I love what I do so much and our product so much, because it's amazing. It gives us three wins: you have a healthy cleaning option for people, for the environment and also people can make income from ENJO. Because sometimes when we look after the environment, we give up income and that's hard when you have a mortgage and family. So for people to make changes when it affects their livelihood, we have to be sensitive to that as well, how can we create better jobs for them?
This is why our company does what it does – I'm surrounded by people that really care.
Why is being green personally important to you?
I grew up in the environment – on a farm in Austria, with organic food. Nothing got wasted. We grew up with sustainability not because my parents were aware of it but that's just the way we did things.
Now I have two grandchildren and I want them to see the planet as it is. I want to leave the planet a better place than I found it.
Could you describe one small step people could take towards being greener?
For me, it would be using ENJO to clean – that's obvious. But the other way people can make an impact is to buy less stuff. You don't always need the latest phone or anything like that. Be more in control of what you buy rather than being influenced by media. That's the same for ENJO, you only buy what you need.
Also, probably in the last 18 months I have had a real focus on asking myself "do I really need that". For example, I could go into a shop and buy some lipstick, but do I really need that? And how many people finish a lipstick? And when it's wasted, it ends up in landfill.
I think you can save money by being sustainable and green – not everybody can afford electric car and not everyone should.
If you make a choice to clean with ENJO and buy only what you need, you will save money.
It's nearly too simple because we always associate change with cost… Often, we go to extremes with what we want to do and we never get rewarded for good behaviour but we get told off for bad behaviour.
There is also a psychological impact when we change, which people don't always understand. We also educate along the way, so it's not just "ENJO, ENJO, ENJO" – yes this is important to us, but what's more important is that people make lasting changes.
What is one resource that you think people should read/watch/consume to understand more about sustainability and going green?
I personally haven't got a favourite but I watched The War on Waste and that was quite an educator for me. I also saw a Four Corners episode the other day about global warming, so it's just getting that general information from a lot of different places. I'm not hard and fast [with these resources] because sometimes it's a bit extremist and people get scared off.
We also write a beautiful blog and we encourage people to read our blog and get information from all over the place – and share information so that people can make changes without being extreme.
And [you can] just take everything in, look at it, watch it and go "how can I modify this for me?" For me, it's like the four-minute shower is not going to happen. So there are certain compromises you need to make and not feel guilty about it because it needs to be fun, meaningful and… we need sustainable goals. See what you have done or see the financial savings, because the planet is a big place and people don't always see an outcome straight away.
Going Green is a series that sheds light on companies, organisations and initiatives that have a focus on sustainability and ethics. We ask a representative from each company the same five questions so you can get a snapshot of the work they are doing to help protect the planet.
Want more info and tips for making greener choices? Check out the Finder Green homepage.
Image credits: Getty Images, Tristan Jun (supplied)