Solbio - a small company with big changes in mind

Making small changes can quickly add up to help make big ones – especially changes concerning the environment and our impact on it as a species. It’s something that is preached to us as consumers all the time in our daily lives, but how many times do we actually make those small changes or decisions that will lessen our impact on the environment? Perhaps more than we ever had, but it is still not really enough. It was this thought process that was churning around in the head of Carlo Debaeke on one of his first vacations in a motorhome, not long after founding his company Solbio. Carlo had founded the company after working in collaboration with a biologist who had helped create a natural cleaning solution using microorganisms that so far they had mainly sold to water treatment facilities in their native Belgium and neighbouring Netherlands. 

“Taking that trip in a motorhome, obviously we used the on board toilet, and quite honestly we were disturbed by the harsh blue chemicals used in the toilet,” Carlo explains. “It cannot be good to be inside a box with those chemicals for a prolonged period – why are they so blue? Why do they smell so strong? These are harsh chemicals being used in a civilian setting, we started to think there must be a better way.” Carlo and his team soon realised that the excellent product they had created had a new force for good in the world of camping. 

Carlo adds: “Camping is about enjoying nature – clean air, clear water and green surroundings. Sitting in a box on top of a lot of chemicals, really seems to go against this. Really, when you think about it, it’s crazy that it has taken this long for a biological alternative to harsh toilet and water tank chemicals.”

Solbio is made of just four simple ingredients: natural soaps, natural citric acid, 100 per cent natural essential oils, and plant extracts. These four ingredients combine to help cultivate good microorganisms to break down waste and keep things clean with no foul smells and no damage to the environment when disposed of. This means that Solbio Original, the company’s central product, can be used for several applications for campers: the waste tank, the flush water tank and the wastewater (or grey water) tank. Just a small dose (one pack contains 40 doses) can be all you need to keep your tanks clean, break down waste and stop the build-up of bacteria, dirt and stains. It does all this without causing any damage to your toilet, tank or any of the seals. It means you can dispose of the waste you generate while camping with a much cleaner conscience than ever before. As Carlo and his team often say: “Mother Earth provides us with the most powerful cleaners.” Solbio offers powerful self-cleaning and sanitising without worrying about harming yourself or the environment with hazardous chemicals or odours. It’s a simple concept that really came into focus for Carlo and his team once they started working closely with customers in the camping industry.

“For the first year or so of selling the brand into the camping market, I actually travelled around a lot of Europe in a motorhome myself, as it was the easiest way,” says Carlo.

“This meant I could show to customers the real-world benefits of Solbio – it had been serving me fantastically well on my journey. We also showcased the product at a few events such as Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf and we got pretty good reaction.”

While there is definitely more awareness than there ever has been regarding being kinder to the environment with buying choices, Carlo believes the turn in attitude is still slow, and that it should be driven by consumers.

He said: “In the camping industry, many of the big companies are making changes for sure, but they usually follow the demands and preferences of the market. Because of this, we want to educate the customers in why our product is a more environmentally-friendly choice. There is too much greenwashing marketing out there – with our product, it is only natural ingredients, nothing synthetic and no harsh chemicals. When consumers learn the benefits and the why behind Solbio, we believe more will move to start using it – and this should lead other companies to consider their environmental impact as it becomes more important to consumers.”

Besides the obvious green selling points of Solbio, Carlo and the team wanted the product to benefit campers in other ways. So, they focussed on making sure you only needed to use a small dose each time – they also packaged it in a flexible container so when space is premium you can easily fit it inside your camping unit. They are also working on using natural flowers to create different delicate fragrances for future versions of Solbio, as directed by their customers. This is just the start of one company’s mission to create a more responsible camping world.

See Solbio at Caravan Salon: Hall 13, Stand C10

Read our full feature on Solbio in our second issue here.