When it comes to soap, many words probably come to mind such as cleanliness, fresh and fragrant. Our minds are drawn to pleasant scents of vanilla, rose petals or talcum powder.
What most people don’t know is that the contents of our fine smelling bars and tubes are often made from animal fats and oils, unless they have been specifically bought from a health or specialist natural store.
While this fact may make people think twice about the soap they buy, Indian startup Cowpathy is taking extreme new measures of keeping their products natural, by doing incredible things with cow dung and urine.
Cowpathy currently has a large selection of products including toothpaste, soap and moisturizer, all sourced from the waste produced by cows. Contrary to the aromas you expect when cow dung is mentioned, many of these products are scented with enticing fragrances.
Their website offers a video (below) in which the interviewer is pleasantly surprised by the sweet fragrance of Cola Bottle candies from one soap. This initial type of skepticism may been the reason to their slow start “Initially, business was tough and it was difficult to break even,” according to Umesh Soni, founder and CEO of Cowpathy, as mentioned in Quartz. “But then, as awareness increased, it has been good.”
The soap also has medical benefits according to the company’s founder. “I have had people tell me that eczemas that haven’t healed in two years have disappeared due to the use of the cow dung soap,” stated Soni.
However, Soni explains that his soaps are like any other medicine. You need to have faith in it’s ability to work, and in order to see results he believes faith in the products is required.
While many potential customers might turn their noses up at buying products created with animal waste, the CEO stresses the company’s processes have been developed to be as hygienic as possible, and aims to reassure to any uncertain customers.
“We dry the dung at high temperature after three days of it being produced. We boil cow urine at high temperatures, and then the vapor is condensed and used in the products. These steps remove the bacteria from the products, and what is left is of high medicinal values,” Soni explained.
India has a history of controversy regarding the use of cows and cow products. Millions of Hindus highly respect and worship cows, and due to India’s large Hindu population cows are often found at the centre of many controversial topics. For example, Indian authorities have caused a stir after deciding to censor the word “Cow” in a new documentary.
Cowpathy was developed out of respect for animals, and aims to offer farmers a new sustainable way to earn a living, without needing to slay their animals to do so.
Soni states their business is unique because “we are the only company that is building a business without owning any cow shelters. That makes us one of a kind.”
Moreover, Cowpathy may inspire farmers to take an alternative and more human approach regarding the treatment of cows in their later life.
“We want to tell the farmers that they needn’t sell their cows to slaughterhouses. In turn, they can still make money by selling urine and cow dung,” adds Soni.
For this company the future looks promising. Despite what appeared to be a slow and tough start, Cowpathy has acquired two unnamed investors to back the business. Clearly with a little imagination there is a lot of potential here for other products.
Though it may not sound very appetizing, Soni has also expressed an interest to 101 India regarding the production of “superfoods,” using cow urine to make products such as biscuits. That would definitely make for some interesting conversation material at your next tea party. Malted Milk anyone?