15 Apr 2020
Barcelona, Spain
Sustainable Cleaning Products and Cosmetics

Turtles have long captured the human imagination, often as the most unlikely of heroes. Aesop’s persistent tortoise gradually overhauled that arrogant hare in their legendary race. From the sewers of 1980s New York City, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles emerged to vanquish all manner of cartoon villains.

Outside the pages of fiction, mankind has not always treated the plucky turtle kindly. Jordi Caparrós is appalled that the ocean unwillingly receives 8 million tons of plastic waste annually. The endangered Baula (or Leatherback) turtle then eats the rubbish, mistaking the glimmering plastic for edible jellyfish. A blocked digestive system ensues and — often — a slow and painful death. 

Baula, Caparrós’ company for sustainable cleaning products, is slashing the global cleaning industry’s contribution to this environmental hazard. Caparrós’ patented, capsule-based technology cuts down plastic packaging by more than 90 percent, while also limiting the company’s carbon footprint. 

Baula’s eco-friendly appeal, coupled with the products’ effectiveness, has set the foundation for corporate success. “Our products meet the requirements of sustainability and efficiency, so the business is taking off,” said Caparrós. Having taken the commercial market by storm, Caparrós now wants to put Baula products in every household’s cleaning cupboard.

Rather like the fabled tortoise, Baula’s achievements have been hard-earned — the result of consistent effort and determination. Over a decade ago, Caparrós began experimenting with eco-friendly, capsule-based detergents. His innovation was to create a small detergent tablet, free from harmful chemicals, that users could simply dissolve in water. This effective concentrate removed the need to keep buying new plastic bottles.

Caparrós received support from Barcelona Science Park, a well-known research institute, before obtaining his first patent in 2010. He explored the capsule technology’s market potential, running tests with restaurants, hotels and households, before finally establishing Baula as a company in December 2015.

Since then, Baula has manufactured and sold its range of degreasers, disinfectants, bleaches, glass cleaners, and more. The business strategy focused on the commercial cleaning sector, which has culminated in lucrative contracts with major global corporations, including Bunzl (a large distributor) and ISS (a powerful facility services provider).

Baula gains a competitive edge from its eco-friendly credentials, as governments increasingly demand more sustainable business practices from cleaning companies. According to Caparrós, Baula’s contracts already cover 16 countries, and include the option of expanding to 15 more.

Now, Caparrós wants to leverage Baula’s reputation for making effective and sustainable cleaning products to enter the domestic cleaning market. For a start, he hopes that workers with his commercial partners — such as ISS’ 800,000-person strong staff — will use Baula products in their own homes. Caparrós believes that the products’ high performance will do the rest.

Of course, it will be far from easy for Baula to change the mindsets of more stubborn consumers, who may still prefer lower prices over sustainable cleaning products. Nevertheless, Caparrós remains undaunted.

For the name Baula does not only refer to the Leatherback turtle, whose life is threatened by plastic waste. Baula also means the “link” found in a chain which, for Caparrós, calls to mind his company’s dedicated and talented staff. He enthused: “Many baulas, or links, create a great team chain.”


Learn more about Baula through the website and Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Baula

David Wood is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
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Baula Organic cleaning products and cosmetics