Hand wash was just one of the bathroom essentials that stepped into the limelight in 2020. Never has it been more important to have our homes inundated with the soapy stuff, but doing so also means in an influx of plastic packaging. A simple solution would be to throw the empty vessel in your recycling bin, right? Well, as of 2019, only 9% of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic produced had been recycled, proving that if we truly care about the future of our planet, we need to stop consuming plastic completely.

Shaking up the industry (quite literally) is Sweden-based FORGO, whose powder to liquid refillable hand washes are the eco-friendly answer to traditional hand hygiene. Simply order whichever scent you desire, empty into one of their glass bottles, add water and then shake. Having removed all of the unnecessary elements that could pollute the earth, whether that be plastic or particular ingredients, FORGO refrains from any form of environmental damage. Now available in the UK, we spoke with one of the company's co-founders, Allon Lbermann, about his brand.

Can you tell us a bit about how the brand started?
FORGO started as just an idea back in 2017. At the time it was called “sustainable convenience,” because that was what we wanted to do; make things more sustainable and less complex. I pitched it to a friend and entrepreneur, Samuel Chevalier, and the design studio I am a part of, Form Us With Love. FORGO today is a small team of industry outsiders. I think that being on the outside has made our work with formulation chemists and packaging suppliers very fruitful. Powder to liquid hand wash is just the tip of the iceberg. 

What was the idea behind creating sachets for the hand wash? What is it about the powder-to-liquid method that makes it more sustainable?
It all started from the understanding that liquid soap is actually 60 to 95 percent bottled water. When you just ship the 5% ingredients that you need, it allows for a whole stretch of environmental benefits: you get rid of troublesome plastic packaging that has a small chance of ever being recycled, which lasts hundreds to thousands of years as an environmental toxin. Instead, it’s replaced with kinder paper packaging, that has a high chance of being recycled and is compostable. From a shipping perspective, we can ship 20 concentrated FORGO refills in the space of one bottle. This is a proof that all our daily essentials can be made better with less.

How difficult was it to keep your hand washes to just six ingredients? Why did you want to keep it to such a small ingredient list in the first place?!
We only have 6 essential ingredients above 1% in powder form. The rest of the ingredients list is our natural scents from waste wood, leftover citrus, and our plant-based colorants. For us simplicity is key. It took us two years to question the sustainability of each ingredient and find better alternatives. We still feel we could do better, but we are working against a system that sugar coats bad practices. The industry is using ingredients that are virtually untraceable: most are derived from petrochemicals, and there is a huge reliance on the Palm Oil industry, which has been a large contributor to deforestation and habitat loss.

I can imagine that the pandemic has brought a lot of attention to your brand, have you found it a hindrance or helpful in growing your company?
We’re really a new type of brand in personal care. The pandemic has given people time to thinks about what’s most essential to them; in their everyday lives, in their communities, and for future generations.

How do you think your powder-to-liquid approach will change the beauty industry? 
As a provocative idea, quite a bit. We see a lot of industry eyes on us. We know other brands are now starting to catch up. It’s important for us to keep working on fewer, better things. There’s really nothing that can’t be improved.

We love the minimal design of the bottle! How do you strike the balance of creating a beautifully made product whilst being sustainable?
It’s look and feel is that of a truly reusable soap bottle. The simple fact that it’s going to be refilled again and again with our plastic free refills gave us the liberty to invest more in its design and materials, like glass and steel. 

What have you got planned for the future of FORGO 
More powder essentials in paper packaging. Just add water.

Shop FORGO hand wash here.

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