Each starter pack purchased contributes to Biom's annual pledge to prevent 99,000 pounds of waste from entering the ocean
(Left) Biom products; (Inset) Founders Will Gahagan and Hank Schellenger.
As the threat of COVID prompted consumers to reach for disinfectant wipes, more of them have ended up in the ocean, inspiring Lowcountry transplants Will Gahagan and Hank Schellenger to co-found Biom, a sustainable, plant-based alternative.
Gahagan, who has a background in environmental science and business development, discovered the wipe industry generates a staggering amount of plastic waste—from woven micro-fibers to the containers they come in—which often ends up in the ocean through the sewer system. Inspired to create an eco-friendly substitute, he reached out to friend Schellenger to develop a formula for plant-based wipes and started prototyping a refillable container in fall 2020. After 20-plus redesigns and shipping delays, the first local pre-orders arrived in April 2022.
Made with 100-percent wood pulp, Biom wipes are biodegradable and compostable, breaking down in 14 days in aerobic conditions. Conventional wipes, meanwhile, can stick around for as long as 100 years.“ The sustainable component is top-priority, but we also want people to love the fragrance and the design,” says Gahagan. The wipes come in sleek containers and are scented with lavender or grapefruit, derived from essential oils.
Biom says each starter pack purchased contributes to its annaul pledge to prevent 99,000 pounds of plastic from entering the ocean. The company plans to make dispensers out of recycled plastic soon and is currently testing baby wipes.