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Science Inspired by Nature

Science Inspired by Nature

What do pickles and Ecover have in common? Fermentation.

Fermentation is a natural process that occurs when bacteria, yeasts or other microorganisms break down sugar, thereby converting the sugar to alcohol. It’s the same natural process used to make a variety of foods, including pickles, sauerkraut, bread, beer and cheese.

Our scientists have found

that fermentation can also be used to make effective ingredients for soap. For example, through fermentation we can turn sugars into alcohols that can be used as solvents — the cleaning agents in many of our formulas that dissolve oils and other stains. And by using nature-inspired chemistry like fermentation, we are able to minimize our impact on the environment. You see, many conventional cleaning processes typically involve high-heat, high-intensity practices to produce ingredients. While these processes can be quicker and cheaper, making ingredients this way requires a lot of energy and can lead to unwanted by-products that can be bad for the environment. Conventional processes can also emit more greenhouse gases and consume more water. So we attempt to limit our use of conventional processes when we can.

At Ecover, we like to ask: what would nature do?

After all, nature has a pretty clever way of doing things. So, much like nature only uses the materials, heat or light that are naturally available to grow plants, we are inspired to use low heat, renewable plant sources and responsibly obtained minerals whenever possible. Our naturally derived ingredients not only deliver a powerful clean, but they are also renewable or abundant in nature. Nature even inspires how we formulate our products for disposal. In nature, there is no waste.

Everything is food for another part of the biosphere. Leaves on the forest floor slowly break down into nutrients for the soil to nourish the trees. Our soaps are formulated to readily biodegrade in a wastewater treatment facility or a septic system. Through biodegradation, microbes turn our soaps back into compounds that are found in nature, ensuring we leave nothing dirty behind.

It’s the kind of clean you and Mother Nature can be proud of.