Here at Sweeping Dimensions, we believe that every person has a part to play in helping build a more sustainable society. There are lots of actions that we can all take right now to help ensure a safer, cleaner, and healthier planet in the future — including being extremely mindful about the cleaning tools we use in our homes.
One simple, sustainable cleaning swap you can make in 2021 also has to deal with one of the most bacteria-covered items in any home. That’s right, we’re talking about kitchen sponges!
Why Traditional Kitchen Sponges Are Not Eco-Friendly
Sponges are useful and versatile cleaning tools, perfect for wiping down counters and digging through scum and grime in the kitchen sink or bathtub. However, that conventional kitchen sponge can pose serious harm to the environment.
The big reason why? It all comes down to the very real perils of plastic.
Like far too many products we all take for granted, most of the traditional sponges that we use in America are made to be disposed of after just a few uses. Most mass-produced kitchen sponges are made with plastic materials, meaning that, once it hits the landfill, your spent sponge won’t biodegrade for hundreds and hundreds of years.
As it decomposes, that plastic material will be leeching off harmful microplastics, which find their way into our waterways — where they get consumed by fish and, eventually, humans!
Who wants to eat the leftovers from their sponges? Yuck!
All told, humans generate hundreds of millions of tons of plastic waste to our oceans and rivers each year. The amount of plastic in our oceans is expected to surpass the number of fish by 2050.
To make matters worse, even some biodegradable non-plastic sponges are treated with harmful chemicals that can impact the environment through run-off.
Environmentally Friendly Sponge Alternatives
Fortunately, there are lots of simple, sustainable substitutions you can make for that old, wasteful sponge. Here are a few to keep in mind the next time you want to restock your cleaning caddy:
- Bamboo Sponges, Scrubbers, and Pads. Bamboo is known for being naturally antibacterial. Most bamboo products are resilient, and can be washed and reused again and again. Look for bamboo sponges, towels, and scrubbing brushes for all of your kitchen needs.
- Organic Cotton. Organic cotton is fully biodegradable, meaning that it won’t contribute excessive waste to landfills. Organic cotton sponges can also be reused multiple times before starting to wear out.
- Loofah Sponges. Talk about plant-based! Loofah sponges are generally made from this natural material, usually combined with cellulose to be fully biodegradable. You could also use a large chunk of loofah itself in place of a standard sponge.
- Coconut-Fiber Scrubbers and Sponges. Coconut fiber is hearty, resilient, and all-natural meaning it will stand up to tough scrubbing jobs while also being good for the planet. Consider scrubbing pads made from coconut fibers, or look for a Tawashi, a handheld Japanese scrubbing tool usually made from coconut or palm fibers.
- Walnut Sponges. Plant-based walnut sponges are hardy, resilient, and great at repelling odors.
- Cellulose Sponges and Scrubbers. You’ll find a lot of cellulose products as you look for environmentally friendly sponges and pads. Cellulose is made from wood pulp, usually mixed with cotton. It’s important to do some research to make sure that the cellulose products you’re interested in are fully biodegradable; some are made with polyester and other less-than-sustainable fibers. A good choice is the classic Swedish Dishcloth, made from renewable and biodegradable fibers with a perfect texture for working around the house.
Sweeping Dimensions: A Cleaning With a Conscience
Here at Sweeping Dimensions, we focus on handling all sorts of cleaning and housekeeping projects, so you can focus on the other things that matter most to you.
A big part of that is making sure our clients’ wants and needs are met at all times. That’s why we make a point of always having sustainable and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions on hand and ready to use.
We also believe in passing along our green cleaning knowledge, whenever we can. We love to talk about all things cleaning and organizing, including the strategies that can make taking care of your home a more sustainable practice. The more people we can bring together in our mission for a greener world, the better off all of us will be!
So, if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, or making a green switch in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch – I am always happy to talk shop! At SDCS, we are sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going.
Want to set up a green cleaning for your Chicago home? Don’t hesitate to reach out for your FREE service estimate!
Looking to exchange ideas on reusable alternatives to sponges, or share how you’re going to focus on sustainability this year? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch via email or on social media to let us know your thoughts.