Veles is a spray cleanser made from organic waste—the first in what founder Amanda Weeks hopes will be a whole trash-based product line.
There’s a pervasive bit of mythology about food waste that it’ll just turn into compost, even in a landfill. It’s not true, but Amanda Weeks is used to the rumor. “Through some kind of magical thinking, people feel that their garbage is breaking down or getting recycled,” she says, “and then they’re not thinking about it more beyond that.”
Weeks is thinking about it. As the founder of a company reimagining the afterlife of stale bread and tossed-out produce, she turns garbage into something you can buy—specifically, into an unusually attractive bottle of household cleaning spray. Veles launched earlier this year as the inaugural product from Ambrosia, the company Weeks founded in New York in 2014 with the mission of diverting and repurposing food waste from landfills.
Billed as “the first closed-loop cleaner,” Veles is made from the water, acetic acid, lactic acid, and alcohol found in post-consumer organic waste. (Weeks gets asked a lot, and no, the spray doesn’t smell like a trash can—it’s scented with lavender, bergamot, and mint essential oils.) A dish detergent and farming fertilizer will follow; eventually, Weeks wants to make base ingredients for skincare products. Already, the company has been acquired by waste consulting company Recycle Track Systems.