Why should you consider eco-friendly alternatives to your usual kitchen sponge?
Behind every one of us there is a sponge. The question is: is yours good or bad for the planet?
Let me ask you:
- How many times have you used a sponge that went straight to the bin after a couple of weeks?
- How many packets of sponges have you bought in your lifetimes? (probably a lot)
- Do you even like using these plastic sponges?
Today, let’s look into the problems that come along with using plastic sponges and let’s have a look at my three favourite alternatives.
There are 3 main issues with plastic sponges:
Problème numéro 1: The Landfill waste!
Plastic sponges are cheap and manufactured not to last. The direct consequence of this problem is that you keep buying more and more of them! That’s great for manufacturers, the more you buy, the more money they make.
However, it’s a catastrophe for the environment. In some cases, the yellow part of the sponge might be made of natural fibres called cellulose, but the scrubby part is made of polyester or nylon. Good luck recycling that! It’s neither recyclable nor biodegradable. Most sponges are made from petrochemical materials and some even contain bacteria-killing agents such as triclosan. Both of these compounds have a direct impact on the environment and the aquatic life.
These cheap sponges will end up in your bin sooner than later, and ultimately they will end up in landfill and remain there for centuries. This is an expensive price to pay for such a small item!
Problème numéro 2: The micro-plastics.
Every little plastic sponge that you use contains small particles of plastic. Every little wash releases these particles of plastic. Don’t assume that it will be dealt with by the water filtration system, because it won’t.
Non, non, non, these particles will end up in the ocean, eaten by fishes that might finish on your plate. C’est délicieux isn’t it?
If you don’t eat fish, you are not safe either. We all eat our fair share of micro-plastic one way or another. Micro-plastics are everywhere: in our water, our food, scientists even found micro plastics in beers. Non merci!!
Of course, micro plastics don’t all come from kitchen sponges, but sponges are part of the problem and it is so easy to replace them with an eco-friendly alternative.
Problème numéro 3: Fossil Fuels:
Sponges are made of plastic, and plastic comes from crude oil. When you purchase a cheap plastic sponge, you encourage oil companies to keep doing what they are doing.
Of course, we are all part of the problem when it comes to oil companies. We are driving vehicles that need fuel and we are consuming all sorts of things that are made of petrochemicals. The idea is to give you some tools that will allow you to gradually reduce your consumption of these items. When you stop buying products that support oil companies, you take another step in the right direction.
For me, it’s all about the little steps. I want to debunk this misconception that as individuals, our actions don’t have enough impact to make a difference. We can easily make little tweaks that in the long run will have a big impact for us and for the planet.
There are all sorts of things that I don’t buy anymore such as liquid body soap, shampoo in plastic bottles, plastic sponges, supermarket laundry liquid….Some might think that I am wasting my time, but I would not go back to my old ways. I have noticed all sorts of positives changes since I made the switch: no more skin rash, much smaller bins, less expenditures on cleaning products or better indoor air quality. (I don’t cough anymore when I clean my house with my natural products).
Now, let’ talk about the good news! All the amazing alternatives available to you. I want to talk to you about my favourite three.
Numéro 1: A dishwashing brush! Oh la la!! Je suis Fan!
You can now find all sorts of dishwashing brushes. Most of them have a replaceable head. You keep the handle, pop a new head, done! By doing so, you reduce your waste and you do your bit for the planet.
Be careful how you choose your dishwashing brush. Make sure it does not come from the other side of the planet, choose one with a wooden handle instead of a plastic handle. If you can, try to buy one from an artisan brush maker.
I have been using my dishwashing brush for more than a year now and it has not failed me. I have not even changed the head yet! Mine is completely made of wood, so when I am done with the head, I will simply leave it to dry and then burn it in my stove. No waste! Voilà!
Buy a quality dishwashing brush, and you will buy a sustainable and durable product. J’adore.
Numéro 2: Plant-based recycled sponge.
Some sponges are made of recycled plant materials and minerals. They are great because they have the look and feel of a normal sponge but they are completely biodegradable.
I love the one we sell at La French Maison. It is made in France (oui oui) by a small company called Le Chêne et Le Roseau. One side is super absorbant and made of plant-based recycled material. The scrubby side is made of minerals.This is a really good alternative, especially if you are keen to keep using a sponge. This sponge can also be washed in your washing machine.
I have to admit that I like using both: the brush & the sponge. They complete one another.
Numéro 3: Loofahs.
I do like a good loofah. What I love about them is the fact that they are made of a plant from the cucumber family. As its flower grows, it also turns into a gourd-like plant that looks very similar to a cucumber. It is then being harvested and left to dry for several months before it is finally cut into different shapes and sizes.
It is most commonly used as a bathroom sponge because it is a great exfoliant, but I have seen it sold as a kitchen sponge. Either way, make sure you clean it well when you are done using it and always leave it to dry between each use. At the end of its life, simply compost it or use is as a fire starter for your BBQ or your stove.
Fun Fact: my brother has decided that he was going to attempt to grow his own loofah in his garden and then dry it! I will keep you posted!
I believe you know everything there is to know about sponges. All you have to do is decide which alternative suits you best.
La French Maison