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Dandenong-based Orange Power has spoken about its beginnings and about the difficulty competing as a green manufacturer.
Founded in 1991 by Iain Chaney and three others, Orange Power originally had four products including a multi-purpose cleaner. Chaney visited a fruit co-op in Mildura, noticed a huge amount of orange peel being thrown out, and literally decided to make something of it.
“When I saw this oil wasn't going to be used, I thought we could do something with it and bought the lot, which I didn't realise at the time but amounted to 20 tonnes worth,” Chaney told Fairfax Media.
“We were using orange oil in hand creams we were producing instead of kerosene as it smells nice and is a natural solvent.”
The company eliminated palm oil from its products a few years ago, and currently highlights the dangers of palm oil harvesting to orangutans on its website.
Chaney admitted that despite the company’s growth and success, it would not be as successful in landing distribution in supermarkets if it started in the present time and followed what it did back then.
“We were lucky in that we were able to get our products into the major supermarkets,” he said. “It would be much more difficult these days.”
Operating as an environmentally responsible company had also become more challenging, with a host of competing companies spruiking their (often dubious) green credentials in their marketing.
''There are a lot of greenwash products out there which just have a green sounding name but aren't really green,'' said Chaney.
''We are the only mainstream supermarket range that has had its green claims independently audited.''