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Zero-waste alternatives to conventional sponges

Plastic surrounds us, it is everywhere. We now know that the recycling circuit has many limits. Technologies do not make it possible to recycle everything. Let's take the example of multi-material packaging that cannot be separated or even containers soiled by their contents, and yes, unfortunately, the pizza box eaten on Friday evening with friends that you kindly put in the yellow bin will not be recycled! Not to mention the waste exported in sometimes very poor conditions.

The solution ? Avoid the use of plastic in our daily lives and above all eliminate disposable products or accessories by promoting reusable, sustainable and natural products. This good practice can be applied to all rooms in the house. Every gesture counts, the best waste is the one that we do not create.

Let's start with the kitchen by stopping on an accessory present in all homes: the sponge.

Since its rejuvenation in the 60s with the innovation of the double face (green to scrape and yellow to absorb) the sponge has become a kitchen essential. This harmless-looking accessory nevertheless has hidden faces.

The problem with conventional sponges

Conventional sponges are often synthetic, made from plastic-derived foam. They are then treated with chemical solvents to give them an attractive color and better resistance to humidity and bacteria. With each use, micro-plastics are released, contributing to the pollution of soil and water.

Synthetic vegetable sponges are made from cellulose derivatives which is a paste made from wood pulp and salt. Ecological at first glance but these sponges are often treated with chemical substances to prevent the proliferation of bacteria.

The false belief of recycled sponges

Recycled plastic sponges are plastic that has been given a second life. It starts with a good intention but recycling is energy-intensive and sponges are often sold more expensive than their counterpart and the same pollution.

Polishing, washing, scouring by dirtying the ground and the water...a hell of a nonsense, isn't it?

What to replace his sponge with?

Here are 3 plant-based, compostable alternatives to synthetic sponges.

The Luffah

This dried squash is moderately abrasive. It does not scratch and can be used on all surfaces and with all natural cleaning products: Marseille soap, baking soda, vinegar, black soap... Ideal for washing dishes, loofah n has no damp smell and is very durable. Loofah gourd is widely used in the bathroom for body exfoliation. Average time of use: 3-6 months

The coconut brush

She looks like an animal but it's completely vegetable. The coconut brush is the essential accessory in all zero waste or non-waste homes. In coconut fibers, to scour without scratching your pans, sink..., brush your fruits and vegetables or even dust your shoes... Coconut fibers are both flexible, resistant and biodegradable. The frame and the suspension ring are made of zinc (does not rust).

Average time of use: 12 months and more

The agave fiber dish brush

Ideal for washing without getting your hands wet thanks to its handle. Vegetable fibers are perfect for scrubbing without scratching. The handle has an unlimited lifespan and the head is interchangeable. Average time of use: 6 months and more.

Properly store and maintain your zero-waste sponges and brushes

To keep these accessories for as long as possible, remember to always rinse them well and hang them upside down in a dry place. To avoid food residue in the fibres, be sure to first rinse your dishes with clear water.

To prevent the brushes from getting greasy and lasting, maintenance is essential. Soak them regularly (once a week) in a water + white vinegar mixture. This disinfects and deodorizes. About once a month a hot water + sodium percarbonate bath, 2 tablespoons for 500ml of boiling water. Add the water little by little to prevent it from overflowing (it foams a max). And here are sponges and brushes like new.

How to compost your sponges and brushes in vegetable fibers?

For the luffah just cut it into pieces and put it in your compost bin. The coco brush contains a zinc wire that you simply have to remove to detach the bristles that will go to the compost. Finally, remove the head of the dish brush which will go to the compost and keep the handle to hang a new head on it.

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