We have a pretty good deal in our house. I love cooking, and I take care of our meals pretty much every day. My husband loves being left in the kitchen afterwards – doing the dishes, putting things away and leaving the kitchen ready for a new day. I would say I’ve got the better end of this deal, yet my husband would claim the same. That’s what I call a win-win!
Like with other areas in our home, I’ve looked into ways to make our washing up more in line with our natural living & low waste approach. Going ZERO-waste can seem pretty daunting (at least it does to me), but it’s all about making simple steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle and REDUCE our waste. We don’t need a handful of people going zero-waste, we need ALL of us making some achievable changes. Previously, we’ve tackled some other areas (see the linked posts below) and today we’re moving on to the kitchen – more specifically, to washing dishes.
Over time we slowly replaced (plastic) items in our kitchen for more sustainable options. Recently, we’ve run out of our last regular sponge – it was the last item I was soo looking forward to changing around! In this post, I’m sharing some of the dishwashing swaps we’ve made – they are simple, achievable and ALL make a difference.
Quick side note here: don’t go ‘green’ by replacing all your items straight away. In most cases, the best thing to do is getting the most use out of the things you already own! When it’s time to replace it, go for a greener option.
So, are you ready to make some simple yet effective changes? Let’s go!
Five Dishwashing Swaps to Reduce Waste
Swap 1 – Use a wooden brush
Plastic dishwashing brushes are cheaply made but they are costly for our planet. They usually wear out quickly and end up in the trash afterwards. Wooden brushes are easily available and, depending on the bristles, can often be composted afterwards. Opt for a brush with a replaceable head so you can reuse the handle!
Swap 2: Pick a sustainable sponge
Regular sponges are made from plastic and have been found to release micro plastics in the water which are polluting our environment. They can also contain nasty chemicals (especially the antibacterial ones). Not something I’m happy to use any longer, especially since there’s so many sustainable alternatives! I’ve listed some of the options out there below.
Plastic sponge alternatives:
- a cellulose sponge – very similar to a plastic sponge, but made from plant materials. Although they are a little more pricey, they are plastic free & biodegradable.
- a loofah sponge – these are rough when dry but soft and pliable when wet. They are made from the loofah plant and are super durable + completely compostable!
- a coconut scourer – non scratch and great for pans and stuck-on bits. Made from coconut fibres and completely recyclable. (the one pictured is from EcoCoconut)
- a knitted yarn sponge – who knew you could make your own! See this tutorial to give it a shot.
- a cotton rag – skip the sponge altogether and use a simple rag to wash your dishes.
Swap 3: Use eco friendly washing up liquid
A planet friendly dishwashing liquid skips the harmful chemicals & is often packaged in recyclable bottles (or made from 100% recycled plastic already). I like to pour mine in a pretty (recycled) bottle for aesthetics. Use your liquid sparingly, not more than you need, to stretch it longer and buy in a bulk package if you can.
Swap 4: Opt for reusable cotton cloths
Swap from single use wipes or paper towels to washable ones. Microfibre cloths are really popular and they do have many advantages – yet I swapped back to cotton cloths for one big reason: microfibre cloths have been found to release micro-plastics into the water every time you wash/rinse them. Micro-plastics are tiny particles of plastic that end up in our waterways and eco systems. Cotton does require lots of water to produce, but it will last you forever and you can reuse old cotton materials like towels to make your own rags.
Swap 5: Use eco friendly cleaning products
Skip the conventional cleaning products – they don’t do any good for your health, your wallet or the planet. You can get really far with simple staples like vinegar, baking soda and green soap. To clean your sink, sprinkle a little baking soda over the surface, leave it for a minute and use a sponge or brush to remove and stains. Rinse with water and you’re done!
If you do like your cleaning products, pick a eco friendly product (for your own health as well!) – we like using this one by Attitude.
Which one of these swaps would you like to make? Anything you’d like to add? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!