Zero Waste, Eco-Friendly Sponges and Scourers for a Sustainable Kitchen


Eco-friendly sponges, cloths and scourers are some of those things that are made of plastic and changed ever so often, sometimes even once a week. The traditional sponges that you find in most supermarkets are usually made of polyester and polyurethane which will add microplastics to your dishwater every time you wash up. Some sponges may contain triclosan, a hormone-disrupting anti-bacterial agent, and manufacturer 3M is yet to confirm what the dye in the sponges are made of so it could be anything!

When consciously cutting down on waste and in particular plastic within the home, for a more sustainable life, it’s important to consider all of the items you use and discard regularly. 

Luckily we have other options to consider as there are many new eco-friendly sponges and brushes that we can employ to help keep our kitchens tidy, sustainable and habitable.

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Choosing an Eco Friendly Sponge

Eco-friendly sponges can vary in the type of material and their longevity. You’ll also need a hard bristle for scrubbing pots and pans.

Cellulose Eco Friendly Sponges

Cellulose sponges are made from wood pulp and can usually be identified by larger holes within the sponge. These eco friendly sponges are usually compostable as it’s made from natural fibres, but be aware that it can potentially be soaked in chemical anti-bacterial agents such as triclosan.

Swedish dish cloths are made of cellulose and cotton and does last a long time. Once you’re done with it you can chuck these in the compost, just cut them up so that they degrade more quickly.

Note that some of these eco friendly sponges could have a scourer side made from polyurethane which is not biodegradable and potentially harmful.

Cellulose & Coconut Kitchen Scrubber

2 Packs of Compostable Sponges | Made in the UK

Pack of 10 Swedish Dish Cloths

Sea Sponges should be Avoided

I’m mentioning sea sponges as some websites are listing them as sustainable and technically speaking they are 100% biodegradable and natural. People have been using these to clean for ages, however, sea sponges are living organisms and at threat of overharvesting. I think sea creatures have enough to worry about, they don’t need more people exploiting them so I’d say it’s best to avoid using sea sponges at all times. They are also the primary food source for the endangered baby Hawksbill sea turtles and are definitely not vegan, if that is a concern for you.

Silocone Sponges

Silicone sponges can technically be recycled, but they are normally only recycled by specialist companies and is likely to cost you pain, fuel and effort to get rid of. You’re welcome to consider these as they are more environmentally friendly than plastic, but this sounds like a lot of hard work that I’d rather avoid personally. 

Natural Loofah Sponges

Loofah sponges are made from plants that grow on vines and look a little bit like cucumbers. Eco-friendly sponges made from the luffa or loofah (same thing different spellings) plants are 100% bio degradable and is classed as a zero waste product. 

I won’t say that it is the most incredible scrubber in the world but it does the job more naturally.

eplanita Natural Dishwashing Sponges
(available in the USA and UK)

HOMUG Natural Dish Scrubbers

Bamboo Dish Brushes

Bamboo dish brushes fit perfectly in your hand and make easy work of washing up. Just be mindful that some of the brushes have variants of plastic either in the bristles or the body of the brush. These should last you a considerable amount of time and the plastic tend to be a lot less than a traditional sponge. The Full Circle version shown below contains an amount of recycled plastic, the Bürstenhaus Redecker Large Dish Brush is plastic-free.

Full Circle Bubble Up ceramic soap dispenser & dish brush set
(available in the USA and UK)

Bürstenhaus Redecker Large Dish Brush with Hard Bristles
(available in the USA and UK)

Walnut Shell and Coconut Scouring Pads

Walnut shells and coconut fibre are both naturally abrasive and make a pretty decent scouring pad. It lasts long and is 100% biodegradable. A win-win for you and the environment!

Full Circle Neat Nut Walnut Shell Scouring Pads
(available in the USA and UK)

Eco Coconut Eco-Friendly, Multi-Purpose Scourers
(available in the UK only)

The list above should give you a good base to work from when you buy your next eco friendly dish sponge, scourer or brush. Unfortunately, you’ll still need to do the dishes, there’s no getting around that but hopefully, I’ve saved you a little bit of research time with the options above. 

Feel free to suggest any favourites in the comments below.

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