Sponges. We all use them, from cleaning pots and pans to other household chores. But did you know that many sponges contain plastic? They are also a repository for germs and pretty hard to recycle.
One way to make environmental changes in kitchen habits is to replace sponges with Swedish dishcloths. They are made from biodegradable cellulose, can absorb 20 times their weight, don’t collect bacteria (because they dry so rapidly), and can be washed (dishwasher or laundry machine) @50 times. They say that one cloth alone can replace 17 rolls of paper towels. You can use these for almost anything you’d use a sponge or paper towel for: wiping down counters, cleaning up spills, and cleaning appliances.
For cleaning baked-on messy pots and dishes, however, more aggressive tools are sometimes needed. Again, “scrubby” sponges are usually made of plastics which can’t be recycled and often shed microplastics into the water supply.
An unconventional choice is switching to a Japanese scrubber, called Kamenoko Tawashi. Kamenoko means small-turtle and Tawashi means scrubber.
You may be wary of using this unique scrubber, but after only a few clean-ups, you may become a believer. It does not scratch everyday dishes, pots, or pans, but you may not want to use it on fine china. The scrubbers have very good longevity and can easily last months. There is more information about it here
Of course, everyone has their preferences when it comes to washing dishes. Other eco-friendly options include dish brushes, copper scrubbers, etc.
Although the cost may be more initially, the frequency of replacement is far less, leading to cost savings and waste reduction in the long run.
Replacing kitchen sponges with one of these alternatives may seem like a small action, but doing so can have a big impact on the environment and on our health. Give it a try and see how it goes!