With a mission to combat climate change and make a positive impact on the environment, former plumber and now CEO of CleanO2 Jaeson Cardiff says his company, 15 years in the making, is more than just “another environmentally-friendly soap company.”
In 2005 Cardiff and his business partners, Kathi Fischer, a chemical technologist and Scott Forgrave, president of Excelair Mechanical Services, set out to capture CO2 from building heating system exhaust — with the simple goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the commercial heating industry.
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Fast forward to 2021 and their mission has been accomplished, but throughout the journey there was a plot twist. The company captures CO2 in their CARBIN-X units and converts the emissions into a compound that can be used to create soap and detergent — good for both your body and the environment.
The little soap company that happened by accident
“We never intended to be a soap and detergent company. Originally, we were just a carbon capture company that was focused on the technology and efforts behind reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Cardiff tells Calgary Citizen.
“We ended up making some soap as a marketing tool to try to get some engagement with people to explain what Clean02 was, and the soap was just a huge hit, it was a success.”
The company went from making five bars to 100 bars to 1,000 bars a month. Now?
“We’re working towards doing about 100,000 units of soap per month. So, it’s kind of funny how this technology has pivoted into the soap and detergent industry,” Cardiff says, adding it was “very serendipitous.”
Expanding all over the world.
The company has grown a lot since they spent 10 years developing the technology and is now deploying its commercialized technologies to other countries, including other parts of Canada, the US, and Japan.
“We’re not capturing carbon in Tokyo and shipping it across the Pacific back to Calgary to turn it into soap to sell it in Houston, or Toronto — once it’s captured there, we work really hard to keep it there.”
CleanO2’s carbon capture units (called “CARBiN-X “) use a chemical process to convert CO2 captured from heating system exhaust into a stable carbonate used in soaps and detergents.
“All of our soap and detergent products have carbon in them from the technology that kept it from going into the atmosphere,” Cardiff says, adding roughly 20% of Canada’s emissions from the scale of emissions his company is addressing.
Cardiff says the company is producing about 20% in greenhouse gas emissions, but new technology released next year should bring those numbers to 50%.
“Our long-term goal is to get to 100%, through a couple of technologies that we’re currently working on that we think will come into play. And then we take all of that carbon and put it into these various products that we’re producing.”
What about the soap itself?
The soap itself has been such a hit and there are several scents to choose from, including the popular Peppermint & Clay, and the unique wine bar; Mulled Merlot and Juicy Rosé.
“Everybody here is a guinea pig. We always try it on ourselves before we send it out into the world,” Cardiff says.
He also added that the company has some new up-and-coming personal care products coming down the pipeline — so be sure to stay tuned!