Southern California-based Certified Lye, supplier of sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and the necessary personal protective equipment, has been an HSCG supporter from its inception. It is a company that was years in the making, driven by market need and a soapmaker’s ingenuity.
It all started in California’s central valley, where owners Kerri Mixon and David Perez made their home in the early part of this decade. Soapmakers at the time were fortunate; olive production and processing throughout the central valley drove demand for sodium hydroxide production. “At the time,” relates Kerri, “the sodium hydroxide manufacturers also shipped lye to New Jersey, where it was resold as “Red Devil” brand lye, which is what I used to purchase for making soap because other sources of lye were nonexistent.”
Olive processing, however, would not last long in the area. Lye used in the production of olives was disposed of incorrectly, affecting growth of nearby orange groves, whose owners took legal action to have the olive processing facilities closed. Sodium hydroxide production decreased in response. “Meanwhile,” explains Kerri, “in New Jersey, Red Devil suffered loss of its lye supplier at the same time the company was fighting its own battles regarding the retail of a hazardous material often used to produce illegal methamphetamines.”
Kerri realized she needed a replacement for Red Devil and started to research what it would take to establish a lye supply company. Handling hazardous materials came with onerous restrictions, but a fellow soapmaker’s horror story surrounding the desperate purchase of fifty pounds of subpar lye gave Kerri the impetus she needed to create Certified Lye.
Learning from the legal battles of the defunct olive processing facilities, Kerri and David made sustainability a key tenet of Certified Lye’s operations. “We have seen the ramifications of environmentally irresponsible business;” says Kerri, “we do our best to have as minimal of an impact on our environment as possible.” In fact, Certified Lye continues to raise the bar, having recently completed additional solar panel installations and “sponsoring the gutters, rain chain, and 60-gallon water cistern for collecting rain water to irrigate the aromatic plant gardens at the A+ Soapmaking Studio.”
Thank you, Certified Lye, for sharing a glimpse of your history and for your support of the HSCG!