LastObject: Disrupting the single-use industry with reusable, sustainable and lovable alternatives

WRITTEN BY Bronagh Loughlin

May 1, 2023

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LastObject: Disrupting the single-use industry with reusable, sustainable and lovable alternatives

Bronagh Loughlin

1 May, 2023

LastObject is a Copenhagen-based company on a mission to end the need for single-use items in our everyday lives. The company creates reusable, sustainable, and lovable alternatives to single-use items, like cotton swabs, tissues, and cotton pads, to provide consumers with a planet-friendly option. 

The company was founded by Isabel Aagaard and her two other Co-Founders, who all come from a design background. Before starting LastObject, Isabel was working on designing equipment for hospitals, however, she had always been a sustainable advocate. The three Co-Founders had a shared desire to do something positive. 

Isabel explains: “This led us to research the single-use items that were the biggest source of household waste. Surprisingly, cotton swabs were among the top offenders, and this realisation inspired us to create our first product, LastSwab. From there, our company grew as we continued to innovate and create sustainable alternatives to other disposable items.” 

LastObject is working towards a sustainable future, disrupting the single-use industry, and leading a revolution. The company was born to disrupt with reusable products that work better for customers and do better for the planet. Their impact thus far has been significant. 

Speaking on the impact LastObject is having on the single-use industry, Isabel says: “LastObject is disrupting the single-use industry by creating reusable alternatives to everyday products like cotton swabs, tissues, and period pads. Our products are designed to be durable and easy to use, so people can easily make the switch to reusable products while reducing their waste.”

LastObject is also proudly B Corp certified, which ultimately means they are part of a worldwide network of purpose-driven organisations that strive to use business as a force for good. Not just that but it also certifies that they meet the highest standards of economic and social impact and play a role in transforming the global economic changes of the future. 

Isabel touches on what it means for LastObject to be a certified B Corporation: “Being a certified B Corporation means that we are committed to using our business as a force for good. It means we are accountable to high standards of social and environmental performance, and that we’re committed to making a positive impact on the world.” 

She adds: “We’re committed to running a responsible business by minimising our environmental impact, treating our employees fairly and giving back to our community. Yet, we’re still constantly looking for more ways to improve our operations, materials and products, and reduce our carbon footprint.” 

As a business, LastObject is based on three key things – planet, product, and people. The reason they are in business is to protect the planet and make it last for years to come. Their products are designed and made to last and be enjoyed and have minimal impact on the environment. In terms of people, they are all about creating meaningful and lasting work in a fun, open, and borderless workspace, an element that is often forgotten about or not discussed nearly enough. 

The business was built on the belief that each one of us has the power to create a positive impact and that using products that are made to last and are reusable is an excellent leap into establishing a sustainable future. Through their reusable products, they have eliminated 4,821,154 pounds of waste, 3,397,019,731 single-use items, and 437,148 pounds of plastic from entering our oceans. 

Isabel shares some deeper insights: “We’ve saved over 3 billion (and counting) single-use products from ending up in landfills. We’ve also eliminated nearly 5 million pounds of waste, and stopped nearly half a million pounds of plastic from entering our oceans.” 

They are not solely focused on selling their products and making a profit but on educating, informing, and inspiring change on their communications platforms. On average, their posts that educate on reuse reach more than 90,000 people. LastObject wants to be part of the solution, and so far, their community has contributed to preventing over 3,000 tonnes of carbon from entering our atmosphere. 

Their products make sustainability easier because customers only have to purchase them once and have them for life. The design is both long-lasting and durable, having been tested to last over 1000 times each, and the majority of products last even longer than that. They also utilise materials that further minimise their impact. For instance, selecting materials such as cardboard, and organic cotton and compostable wood fibres. 

Most of the cotton they use is certified organic, and for products that contain plastic, they use recycled ocean-bound plastic with an aim to help clean up our oceans and protect marine life. They are also committed to being entirely transparent about their business, which as many of us sustainability advocates know couldn’t be more crucial. They explain the materials they use, the kind of packaging they source and the process so you can shop your ‘last product’ with confidence you are making an eco-conscious choice. 

LastObject certainly faced challenges in the beginning when it came to encouraging consumers to make the shift to reusable products, especially for the likes of period pads or cotton swabs. However, it was much less than they expected, and they were pleasantly surprised by how open people were to the idea and how willing they are to try reusable alternatives. 

They also faced hurdles when it came to creating the products and ensuring they checked off various boxes, like being durable and long-lasting. Isabel explains: “There was definitely a lot of trial and error involved in creating our products. We went through hundreds of prototypes. We did most of the work on the computer, but it was equally important for us to get our hands on our designs and test them thoroughly.”

Each testing round helped the LastObject team make improvements, and they also got very helpful feedback from their Kickstarter supporters. They took some of these very suggestions on board before their launch. The main boxes they wanted to check off concerning product design and feel were that they were easy to use and durable. For this reason, they spent a significant amount of time testing different materials and designs to get them right. 

When asked what her favourite product in the LastObject line is, Isabel’s holy grail is the LastTissue. Just as it sounds, it is a reusable, eco-friendly handkerchief in a silicone case. The LastTissue replaces +3100 single-use tissues, and as a mum to a three-year-old boy, she uses it all the time. The brand estimates the LastTissue product to be 8.2 times better for the planet than single-use tissues. 

The brand has experienced significant growth since its inception, and the founders never expected it to scale to this level. Isabel says: “We hoped that our business would have a positive impact, but we never anticipated it to grow as much as it has. It’s been amazing to see how many people are interested in making the switch to reusable products, and we’re excited to continue driving the reuse revolution.” 

Looking to the future, Isabel feels it is vital that other brands become part of the solution and balance profit with purpose in the same way LastObject has. She says: “I think it’s important for all businesses to consider the impact of their operations on the environment and society, and to work towards being a force for good. It’s possible to make a profit while also making a positive impact, and I believe that as consumers become more conscious of sustainability, it will become increasingly important for brands to prioritise purpose alongside profit. At LastObject, we hope to inspire other businesses to prioritise sustainability and social responsibility, and to work towards a more sustainable future for all.”

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