CLEAN START:  Mike Smith is looking for a space around Byron Bay to base his new business venture, Zero Co.
CLEAN START: Mike Smith is looking for a space around Byron Bay to base his new business venture, Zero Co. Javier Encalada

$400k and counting: Why people love these cleaning products

A START UP business that has crowdfunded more than $400,000, and literally fishes plastic out of the ocean to re-use, is about to settle in the Byron Shire.

Zero Co is the business venture of Mike Smith and his team, backed by a number of investors.

The idea is to take plastic from the ocean from Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, turn it into plastic pellets, make them into plastic bottles that they will then send to consumers who will re-fill with cleaning products.

"We are trying to eliminate single-use plastic packaging from every Aussie kitchen, laundry and bathroom," Mr Smith said.

"We are doing that by building a new circular supply chain."

Customers will receive re-fillable plastic bottles and pouches with cleaning products. The delivery is already carbon neutral and the pouches are also re-usable, meaning if 14,000 Australians take up the service, one million single-use plastic bottles will not be required to be created.

The products delivered are designed as planet-friendly, personal care and home cleaning products, including laundry liquid, stain remover, dishwashing liquid, handsoap, bodywash, bathroom/shower cleaner, toilet cleaner and air freshener, amongst others.

The original fundraising effort on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.com had a goal of $205,000 which was reached after a week. Last Thursday, with 22 days to go, the project had raised more than $400,000.

Mr Smith just moved to the Byron Shire and is currently hunting for office space for the venture.

"It will be easier to get senior-level talent here for our operations," he said.

"It will be hard in (other regional centres) to find people who can run big businesses, or overseeing multi million-dollar marketing budgets."

Mr Smith said while products are going through 'stability testing', a process that takes some months to complete, the Zero Co team is getting ready to go 'fishing' in November.

"We are going to Indonesia, we are going to get on a boat and we are going to do an ocean cleanup ourselves, shred it, turn it into our bottles and then we are going to fill them and send them out," he said.

Mr Smith said he hopes to be able to offer a number of new jobs to residents.

"Our ambition is to create a $100million business, and that means a lot of jobs: sales and marketing, customer service, warehouse, finance. I'd love to have at least 100 people in this company working out of Byron Bay in the near future," he said.