To many, lawn care is a point of pride. There are those who strive to have the greenest, cleanest lawn in the neighborhood. However, at times it has come at a price – the price of using chemicals, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers. This is something that Coulter Lewis discovered when he owned his first home with a lawn. After noticing all of the chemicals he was using to keep his lawn green, he started to imagine a way to get the same quality, but in a more eco-friendly way. The result was Sunday, a non-toxic lawn care company that develops unique care plans for each customer. In this exclusive interview, Lewis details the origins of Sunday and what specifically makes his products so eco-friendly.
Innovation & Tech Today: Tell me about the origins of Sunday.
Coulter Lewis: Sunday is a non-toxic way to grow a beautiful lawn. I came up with the idea for Sunday after buying my first home with my then-pregnant wife in Boulder, CO. I had never had my own lawn before and had little knowledge or experience growing one. Like most people, I drove to the nearest home improvement store and bought a bag of fertilizer off the shelf. I turned to the internet for instructions and instead found warnings that I was covering my lawn with 10X more chemicals than they use on industrial farms and I refused to use such toxic chemicals around my pregnant wife and around our home. I needed a product that was safe, easy, and budget-friendly, but there wasn’t one. With the help of experts, including Frank Rossi, an award-winning plant scientist from Cornell, we built Sunday to provide an alternative for the 180 million Americans with lawns.
I&T Today: In what ways are typical lawn care practices unsustainable?
CL: Traditional lawn products are antiquated in their approach – contributing 90 million pounds of pesticides each year. It makes soil and grass dependent on chemical inputs. Good for their business, bad for your lawn. Instead of brute force, Sunday uses cutting-edge soil science to make lawns more self-sustaining. We provide custom nutrients that contain many ingredients used by organic farmers, like seaweed, iron, and potassium. Sunday’s mission is to overhaul the use of “typical lawn care practices,” like dousing your lawn in toxic chemicals, and teach every lawn owner how to cultivate a rich, healthy yard that’s better for them and the Earth.
I&T Today: How are Sunday’s products more sustainable and eco-friendly than what else is on the market?
CL: Sunday uses climate data, satellite imagery, and soil sampling to create a plan that’s custom for each yard, so it’s only getting the nutrients it needs, when they’re needed most and nothing more. The dangerous chemicals found in traditional products (2,4-D, glyphosate, etc.) are left out because these ‘filler’ ingredients kill everything in sight and leave a yard sterilized and damaged. Sunday’s ingredients nourish and don’t kill, which creates richer soil built to protect the natural ecosystem of a common yard – fresh grass, butterflies, bees, and the millions of other organisms that live there. Plus, by using natural ingredients in specific quantities tailored to your lawn size, we encourage less water use and stop toxic runoff.
I&T Today: Tell me about the ingredients of Sunday products. You mentioned seaweed and iron, but I also see food waste, urea, soy, and leaondardite.
CL: Each ingredient is crucial to Sunday’s plans and growing a healthy lawn. For example, molasses is an organic source of sugar that activates soil fertility and iron is what gives grass a rich, dark green color. When selecting Sunday products, we look at customer’s soil test and address any deficiencies found in the soil. For example, our customers only receive phosphorus if their soil test shows a deficiency.
I&T Today: For your food waste, what is your collaboration with grocery stores like?
CL: We partner with California Safe Soil to use the leftover grocery produce from stores to create nutrient-dense plant food. The recycled food waste serves provides organic matter and nutrients to help cultivate rich, fertile soil.
I&T Today: Entering the lawn care industry, with such giants such as Miracle-Gro and Scott’s, what is Sunday’s strategy to compete and measure up?
CL: Our strategy is to provide a new, smarter approach and better, healthier products. Sunday takes the guesswork out of lawn care and makes it easy for customers. We’re transparent about the ingredients and focus on the health of your lawn and your family. Instead of going to the store and buying heavy bags of fertilizer you have to lug back home, Sunday ships directly to your door each season. Our customer service team is always available by text for specific questions, such as how to get rid of a stubborn patch or how to deal with heat stress – taking any uncertainty out of DIY lawn care.