Most of us have never given our dish washing tools a second thought. We pick up the first one we see, solely for convenience and then we toss it in the garbage when it's worn. Then we rinse and repeat.
However, it's time to take a closer look at the seemingly small choices we make and how they add up to create a MUCH larger impact.
The common kitchen sponge, commonly recognized by its yellow and green attire, now available in many forms, is crafted from petroleum-derived polyurethane. Even the production process takes a toll on the environment, giving these sponges a substantial environmental footprint before they even grace the shelves of stores.
Those bearing an "antibacterial" label are not exempt, harbouring a medley of hazardous chemicals, including triclosan—a culprit linked to cancer and detrimental to marine and plant life. Once in use, these seemingly innocuous items swiftly transform into breeding grounds for bacteria, with studies revealing that plastic-based sponges are often filthier than a bathroom toilet.
Kitchen brushes, the ultimate powerhouse against dried-on or baked-on food residues, commonly sport a hard plastic wand with silicone elements and a plastic bristle-laden brush head. While less prone to bacterial growth than sponges, these brushes succumb to wear and tear, necessitating frequent replacement. Collectively, these seemingly mundane cleaning tools contribute to a considerable impact on the environment.
The durability of plastic makes these brushes and sponges resistant to decomposition. Once discarded, they persist in landfills for hundreds of years, releasing harmful microplastics into the environment. These microplastics can contaminate soil and water, adversely affecting wildlife and entering the food chain. Marine ecosystems, in particular, suffer as plastic waste often finds its way into oceans.
Transitioning to more sustainable options for dish cleaning can significantly reduce our environmental impact. Consider using dish brushes and sponges made from eco-friendly, renewable resources. Bamboo dish brushes are an excellent choice, as bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable resource that requires minimal water and no pesticides to thrive. The Bare Home’s dish washing accessories are 100% compostable.
Another sustainable option is replaceable head dish brushes. These typically have a durable handle made from materials like stainless steel or recycled plastic, with detachable heads that can be swapped out when worn. This reduces waste, as only the bristle head needs replacement.
For sponges, opt for natural options such as cellulose sponges made from plant fibres. These sponges are biodegradable and can be composted at the end of their life. Loofah sponges, derived from the fibrous interior of the loofah plant, are also a sustainable choice. They are durable, biodegradable, and can be composted.
Small changes make BIG impacts.