There’s an easy way to cut plastic waste and smell great: Cacao Pow Deo Bar! Made by Tonya in London, these bars are vegan friendly and cruelty free, as well as being kind to your skin. Every bar comes in a cute glass jar, and the company even offers a jar return scheme! We had a chat to Tonya this week to find out more about what inspired her to invent Cacao Pow.
Interviewed by Ruth Walton
When did you start your company?
We launched in June 2018
How long have you been using natural deodorant?
Since 2009 when I developed a condition called Fibromyalgia and a sensitivity to aluminium.
What inspired you on your journey to reduce your plastic waste?
I was a Design Technology teacher for 15 years. We covered environmental issues extensively as part of the curriculum and ironically I saw a lot of plastic waste in the departments I worked in. Both of these planted a seed.
Why do you avoid aluminium in your deodorant?
When you cut and apple in half it turns brown – this is caused by oxidation. Aluminium is a cause of oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can in lead to disease in some cases.
What ‘ingredients’ are used to make your deodorants and why?
We use a 100% organic cacao butter which is sourced from a Peruvian co-operative. We use cacao butter because it smells amazing and doesn’t need any essential oils adding as well as being incredibly moisturising. Bicarbonate of soda has many therapeutic benefits as well as being a powerful deodoriser so a must in a powerful formula. A very small amount of zinc oxide is used to calm more sensitive skins.
Do you have a favourite ingredient?
As a chocolate addict I have to say the cacao butter.
How many jars of deodorant do you usually make in a month?
It can vary from month to month but we usually make a few batches a week.
What are your top tips for someone starting a zero-waste lifestyle?
Tackle one item at a time – the one that shows the least resistance. Some things don’t always work out and it’s not about being perfect. All of the small changes add up to bigger things. Just keep doing what you can.
Tell us more about your jar return service:
I’ve always felt that all companies should take responsibility for their own waste. It seemed like the natural thing to do, to offer a jar return service. Details of how to take advantage of this service can be found over at our website.
What are your personal highlights as a sustainable business owner?
Getting our product into physical shops in several cities so that people can buy in person if they prefer.
Do you have any dreams or goals for the company?
To reach as much of the UK with our product as we can, with special focus on London, as this is where we are based. Buying locally has to be the future for cutting down on Co2 emissions.
Describe a typical work day at Cacao Pow:
I always endeavour to get all orders out during the morning. The afternoon is either dedicated to producing a batch products or preparing a batch for sale. The early evening is spent looking after the various social media channels. I look after all aspects of the business with a little help on communication from my partner Aiden.