Saskatchewan cleaning product manufacturer finds formula for success

EnviroWay vice-president Raj Behari feels intense pride as he looks around the company’s Saskatoon manufacturing facility, the centre of operations for the business his family has built over the last 35 years.

“I grew up washing pails in the warehouse, handing out coupons at Market Mall and in high school I would work at flea markets selling laundry powder, so it is a part of me,” said Raj Behari.

Raj has been a key part of the EnviroWay’s rapid growth. The company started as a one-person operation based in his father Bob Behari’s basement and evolved into a major manufacturer and exporter of eco-friendly cleaning products. EnviroWay now has nearly 300 employees and ships its unique products across Canada and abroad to more than 20 countries.

“The reason we have this global reach is the chemistry. Green chemistry is the future,” said EnviroWay President and CEO Bob Behari. At the outset of his company’s development, Bob saw what he perceived to be a lack of environmentally responsible options in the cleaning product market. He decided to focus on developing and producing safe and sustainable products through the practice of green chemistry, which is a modern approach to designing chemical products and processes based on minimizing or eliminating hazardous substances. 

The company’s extensive product line features dozens of green items including soaps, laundry detergent and sanitizers. They are all developed and manufactured at the company’s Saskatoon facility which houses a fully equipped laboratory. 

EnviroWay’s longstanding focus on research and development positions it as an innovation leader within and beyond Saskatchewan, said Raj. The company has partnered with several organizations to bring new products to market including the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC). 

“Our collaboration with SRC was really important for the company’s foundation,” said Raj, referring to a study the company worked on with SRC examining the environmental and financial impact of windshield washer fluid jugs being discarded in landfills. The results of the study helped to inform some of the core principles of the company which include minimizing packaging and offering more concentrated cleaning solutions. 

Saskatchewan’s robust mining and agriculture sectors have also been a boon for EnviroWay. By-products derived from mining and farming production are important ingredients in the company’s plant-based cleaning products. For example, EnviroWay sanitizers are manufactured using ethanol which comes from wheat extract that is grown and produced in Saskatchewan. 

“It is a real benefit to our company to be able to reach out to local producers for the ingredients we need to make our products. It is all available right here,” said Raj. 

This abundance of local raw materials lowers EnviroWay’s production and shipping costs and environmental footprint. Saskatchewan’s location in central North America has also been ideal for EnviroWay’s transportation needs because it has increased the company’s ability to move goods and products within the continent. 

EnviroWay’s competitive edge depends on its diverse and talented staff, said Raj. “The culture at EnviroWay focuses on employee development. For any company to grow, its people must grow. We have an extremely diverse group at EnviroWay and I think that helps us make better decisions,” he said. 

The Saskatchewan government’s Re-Skill Saskatchewan Training Program has helped the company further develop its employees, while the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) has been instrumental in helping EnviroWay find workers. “SINP has helped us recruit people in technical operations, manufacturing, and sales. Saskatchewan has done a great job of bringing people at different levels to support the local economy,” said Raj. 

Bob agrees with his son and believes Saskatchewan’s competitive business environment has enabled EnviroWay to develop into an innovative force, utilizing cutting edge technology and green chemistry to create better products. “Saskatchewan is the best place to grow your business,” said Bob. “The Saskatchewan government recognizes the need to build strong local supply chains and is responsive to the needs of industry.”

EnviroWay will soon be launching a new bottling facility in the province, allowing the company to turn damaged packaging into new packaging, further reducing waste. It will be another testament to the success of the family-run company and another accomplishment Raj can be proud of. “What I hope we’re able to achieve here is making the world a better place through the way we deal with our team, the way we deal with our customers as well as the technologies that we work with.”