The Citrus Movement

Junior starts business that turns food waste into cleaning supplies


Photo: Katrina Menshutkina

Menshutkina and her team sell soap, stickers and mocktails at a pre-pandemic event for The CitrusWay.

During her freshman and sophomore years at boarding school in Bristol, England, junior Katrina Menshutkina collaborated with five of her classmates to create The CitrusWay.

“My team and I began The CitrusWay after entering in the Tycoon Enterprise Competition, an entrepreneurial competition in England,” Menshutkina said.

Her school had never participated in this competition and was excited.

“Tycoon Enterprise is a national enterprise competition run by the Peter-Jones Foundation. Every participating team writes a business plan, lends money, starts a business and competes with other students through a Kickstarter style platform,” Menshutkina said.

Menshutkina assembled her team after learning about the competition.

Thus, Menshutkina and her team created an original, vegan, natural and cruelty-free cleaning solution.

Their innovative approach to commercial cleaning solutions not only earned them first place in their category but also the overall winners out of the 500 other teams at the competition.

“We won 1,000 pounds ($1,330 USD), and the opportunity to attend the finals at Buckingham Palace and present our business to Peter Jones and other entrepreneurs,” Menshutkina said.

After a team member used a recipe to turn her food waste into a bacteria killing enzyme, Menshutkina’s team began collecting orange and lemon peels from their school’s waste.

We wanted to somehow up cycle food waste into a product that would help educate people about the food waste crisis and simultaneously help our school eliminate a small portion of it

— Junior Katrina Menshutkina

“We mixed our enzyme solution with a homemade soap to give it a foamy effect,” Menshutkina said. “The garbage enzyme would be activated after a three month fermentation period in which the lemon and orange peels would bind with the sugar and water.”

Menshutkina and her team used a loan from the Peter Jones Foundation to purchase all other necessary materials.

“One of the competition’s objectives was to make the most profit, so we had to do a lot of research and find the best value for

money products,” Menshutkina said.

Despite their successes, Menshutkina’s team also faced many challenges along the way.

“One of our initial challenges was overcoming the public’s predispositions about how an ideal soap should look, feel, and smell. Commercial brands offer artificial, neon, bubbling gels. Our enzyme solution didn’t bubble up and evoked a more earthy scent,” Menshutkina said. “Our enzyme solution worked, but wouldn’t perform well on the market.”

A solution to this problem took a lot of research and time for Menshutkina and her team. They adapted their product while

staying true to their values by producing a three-ingredient cleaning solution that had a foaming element as well as enhanced

cleaning effects. To adapt the smell, they added two drops of orange and lemon essential oils.

Prior to COVID-19, Menshutkina and her team sold their products across the United Kingdom at bazaars and sporting events.

In the summer of 2021, Menshutkina and her team are invited to participate and present at the Peter Jones Enterprise Festival (EntFest) hosted by the University of Bucking- ham. By then, they hope to expand their line of products, starting with bar soaps. Shop The CitrusWay on