FAQs

  1. How is Pono Home Essentials “zero waste”?
  2. How do I return my empties and get paid for them?
  3. How does the subscription service work?
  4. How does Pono Home choose ingredients for its products?
  5. There used to be palm oil in your shampoo. What gives? Don’t you care about orangutans??
  6. Is Pono Home a different company than Pono Home Essentials?
  7. Where is Pono Home Essentials on social media?
  8. How can I become a distributor in my area?
  9. How do soap nuts work?
  10. Why do you sell concentrated refills? How do they work?

How is Pono Home Essentials “zero waste”?

Zero waste is a concept that typically implies nothing goes to landfill. Everything is either recycled, reused, or composted, more or less. Our bottles, tins, pumps, caps, dispensers, and other packaging for our products are all designed to be reused. We pay $2 per bottle for people to return our bottles and tins, and also pay return shipping, so we’ve done our best to pave the way for everything’s easy reuse. We clean, sterilize, and refill our packaging, and sell it to the next customer. Our shipping materials are reused as well, from boxes to fill. We ship products in boxes that customers can then use to ship back empties and get their deposits back.

Here’s a video on how it works: 

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How do I return my empties and get paid for them?

There are a number of ways! You can drop them off with us at one of the markets we do or an event we table (contact us at info@ponohome.com for locations). If you buy more products, we’ll ship you a box with new bottles, then you can use that box and a pre-paid shipping label to ship stuff back to us. Once we receive the bottles, we’ll send you money back via paypal, check, or credit to your next order. 

Live in Honolulu? You can drop off at the Impact Hub (across the street from Whole Foods in Kakaako) and have the proceeds go to the Hub, Hawaii’s only social impact coworking space, or if you want to get your $2 refunds, downtown at our office at the Hawaii Office Centers, 1110 Nuuanu St., between 9-5, M-F. 

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How does the subscription service work?

Get all your favorite products, direct to you, with free shipping, and a discount, too!  

Our subscription box is set up to fit your lifestyle. Features include: 

    • flexible volume – subscribe to a monthly box, an every other month box or quarterly box (those are your basic options). Subscription boxes go out at the beginning of the month. 
    • flexible product selection – modify what you want in the next box at any time prior to the 16th of any month in order to receive different products the following month. Got enough shampoo to last a while, but need some sunscreen and lip balm? Switch it up by the middle of one month to ensure delivery of new products in the next month’s batch. 
  • flexible delivery – if you move you can change the address, so long as it’s still within our delivery area (the U.S., except Alaska). 
  • flexible commitment – you can cancel at any time. In order to get the discount on a subscription, you have to commit for a year. If you cancel you’ll get one more box, and then the balance is refunded to you. 

Here’s a video to explain a little further:

 

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How does Pono Home choose its ingredients?

We start with a filter of no toxic junk. The Environmental Working Group has a database of products and ingredients that range on a scale of safest to most toxic, and all of our ingredients are in the “safest” EWG categories. We then source locally first, and organic second.

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There used to be palm oil in your Hawaii based shampoo and body wash. What gives? Don’t you care about orangutans??

Some of our products we make in house, and others are made by third-party partners. When we started, there was only one producer of a nontoxic shampoo and body wash in Hawaii, and they used a “certified sustainable” palm oil. We didn’t love it, but we wanted to get started with our zero waste model and work out the bugs as soon as we could. Good news is, there is no longer any palm oil in anything we make or sell. Being zero-waste, we don’t plan to throw away the products or labels we already have. Please know that since June 2019 on, all our products are palm-oil free. 

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Is Pono Home a different company than Pono Home Essentials?

Same company! We started in 2014 by working in peoples’ homes to help green their lives. You can learn more about Pono Home here and request a free audit if you live in one of our service areas. We’ve performed over 11,000 energy and water saving upgrades across six islands and three states and are currently saving over 120 million gallons of water and roughly 13 million pounds of CO2 annually from the homes and small businesses we’ve serviced in the past. More every day. If you’re interested in doing that kind of work for a living, you should check out Home Efficiency, where you can get a “business in a box” package to get you up and running on greening homes and small businesses in your area. 

Pono Home launched this line of zero waste “home essentials” in 2018, simply due to the fact that many of our customers when we were greening homes asked us about how to take their sustainability journey a step further. We typically give people a demo book by our company founder, Scott Cooney, called “Green Living Ideas“. That book contains hundreds of tips and tricks to green your life, and, among them is a list of the most toxic ingredients in various personal care products. That chart left many people saying, “OK, everything in my house is toxic…help!” So we decided to launch this effective, natural, organic product line, but we didn’t want to stop there–we created a zero waste model to really live up to our values. 

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Where is Pono Home Essentials on social media?  

All our social links are up on the top right of the page! 

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How can I become a brand ambassador or distributor in my area? 

We see our model being a great one for creating economic opportunities around the world for people to sell our products, build client lists, and create a residual income for themselves. We’re starting with brand ambassadors, and those that sell well we will work with to create a more official relationship that might include a protected territory. Interested? Apply to become a zero waste ambassador here

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How do soap nuts work?

Soap nuts or soapberries are the dried shell of the fruit of the soapberry tree. They naturally contain saponin, a compound found in detergent that cleans and foams. Yes, mother nature thought of soap before we did! To use your soap nuts, put 5 in a muslin bag and put them in with your load of laundry. Wash as you would with regular laundry detergent. Cold water works great and saves energy. You can reuse those 5 nuts about 10 times, then compost them and add 5 fresh nuts to your bag. You can learn more about soap nuts here!

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Why do you sell concentrated refills? How do they work?

Good questions. First, the why. Like the human body, most bottled products from most brands contain a lot of water. It’s a wonderful substance! The problem with water is that it takes up space and adds weight when you’re shipping products like we often do. If you remove water from the product, you can send more product with less space and weight. That lowers the carbon footprint AND the packaging requirements. Even though we use reusable packaging, it’s ALWAYS better to reduce first and reuse second. Thankfully, water is something that’s readily available! So we can deliver the value of the product to our customers without the extra weight and packaging by letting them order our concentrated products and add in their own water in their original container.

How do they work? Very simple. The first time you purchase, you’ll want to buy the regular product (not the concentrate) so you have a container you can refill. With most of our aromatherapy products, like Lucid Dream Spray, you can choose whether you want a 2 oz or 4 oz bottle. When your product is getting low, order the same scent but in the concentrated refill version. This 2 oz bottle of concentrate will refill your 2 oz bottle four times or your 4 oz bottle two times, and you only pay the bottle deposit once instead of 2 or 4 times, so it really saves big! When you receive your concentrate, instructions will be on the label directing you how much concentrate and water to mix. When you mix up your last batch of concentrate, send that bottle back in with free return shipping for a deposit return and another batch of refills. It’s that easy!

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