A pioneer in ecological laundry detergents and cleaners since 1977
Sonett has set standards for 40 years
In the beginning, there was the water and the natural scientist Johannes Schnorr who by using the drop picture method detected the extent to which drinking water was polluted by laundry detergent surfactants as early as the late 1960s. This was the incentive for the company Sonett to be founded in 1977, and thus the idea of environmentally friendly washing in a modular system was born. The washing substances can be made use of at their best, only when detergent, softener, and bleaching agents are dispensed separately. Abstaining from any petrochemical raw materials, deliberately renouncing genetic engineering, using no enzymes but rather oils and essential oils derived from organic plants continues being the ecological criteria applied to date for sustainable washing and cleaning.
We understand sustainability as going far beyond pure ecology. Sonett considers itself a pioneer not only regarding their products’ efficiency and economic use but also as far as structuring the company in a socially acceptable way. The labeling of many of the Sonett products is carried out by disabled people at the Camphill Workshops Lehenhof close by. Sonett’s joint management is based on partnership principles and has been transferred to the Non-Profit Foundation Sonett already some years ago.
We see the purpose of our work in not only wanting to decrease pollution of nature and, above all, water, but we rather consider water to be the essence of all life and wish to respect and revitalize it.
Geographic location: Sonett is situated in Deggenhausen – Southern Germany - 15 km to the north of Überlingen, on the Lake Constance.
Initial Incentive and Task
Caring and feeling responsible for water as the essence of all life, has made Sonett come into life. Water as such is the actual laundry detergent and cleaning agent. By using readily and completely biodegradable raw materials such as purely plant-derived soaps, sugar surfactants, and minerals such as sodium carbonate and silicates, we increase the washing performance of the water, at the same time fostering its being returned to and reintegrated into the natural cycle. Doing the laundry and cleaning are “cultural achievements” which, though useful to man, do pollute the water.
We consider it our task to do the laundry and cleaning in harmony with nature, and especially with the water, in a considerate and revitalizing way.
Our entire range of laundry powders, liquid laundry detergents, and cleaning agents are produced in the Sonett Plant at Deggenhausen.
Our liquid soaps are manufactured in a procedure of chemical reaction, transforming the oils into soap without applying any energy, instead of using the conventional energy-intensive soap boiling.
A considerable part of our labeling is carried out by disabled people at the Camphill Workshops Lehenhof. This offers Sonett great flexibility in working in small batches; taken into account the great variety of languages regarding our labeling, this is a perfect addition. As far as the Lehenhof Workshops are concerned, this co-operation creates socio-therapeutic jobs and income for their sheltered people.
In the wake of the nascent health food movement in the 1970s, Sonett was established in 1977 as one of the first manufacturers of ecological laundry detergents and cleaning agents.
Sonett’s real beginnings are to be found several years earlier in the “Strömungsinstitut” (“Institute for Flow Analysis”) in Herrischried / Black Forest where the anthroposophic natural scientist J. Schnorr did research on drinking water using the drop-picture method.
He was one of the first scientists to, as early as the late 1960s, recognize the enormous extent to which ground water was polluted in Germany due to the newly developed synthetic and non-biodegradable laundry detergent surfactants. The shock regarding the state of the water prompted J. Schnorr’s initiative for the concept of doing the laundry using a modular system. The basic approach to this new washing system was: rapid and complete biodegradability of all the laundry detergents‘ ingredients and using raw materials most sparingly by measuring out the basic laundry detergent, softener and bleaching agent separately and selectively.
Very early on there was some demand from other European countries as well which enabled Sonett to soon establish themselves as an international pioneer for ecological washing and cleaning. In the 1980s Sonett saw themselves up against an existential crisis. In 1992 Beate Oberdorfer and Gerhard Heid took over the company. As from 1993 Sonett have been able to reverse the downwards trend again and ever since have registered continuous, mostly double-digit, growth rates. Thanks to its rapid growth the plant was continuously expanded and modernized. At present Sonett have state-of-the-art production and bottling techniques at their disposal and are No. 2 in the German health food sector. Apart from the 31 European countries to which Sonett sell their products, currently they also sell them to 12 non-European countries and label them in 15 languages.