A Sponge is a Sponge, Right?
We all have our eco-weaknesses around the house, and, in a world that feels like we are constantly receiving negative news or deadlines about the survival of our Earth, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed about climate change but thankfully there are alternatives to help relieve eco-anxiety.
Regular Sponge vs Eco Sponge
The bright yellow and green sponge is a household staple, but a sponge is a sponge, right?
Did you know, these well-known bright yellow and green sponges are derived from Polyurethane foam, a petroleum-based ingredient, and leach micro-plastics down the drain, which can be harmful to our water and ocean ecosystems?
Microplastics have already been found in mass inside birds, fish and mammals, and recent scientific evidence has shown micro-plastics within a human placenta.
A smelly sponge is not something you are going to be keeping for a long time, so we throw them out—and often. From an eco-point of view, that means lots of rubbish heading to landfill.
Now let’s say you throw one possibly germy plastic-coloured sponge in the bin a week, no doubt a safe hygienic move, but this means that on average a year’s worth of plastic sponges can last up to 52,000 years in a landfill.
With Singapore's landfill island, Semaku's lifespan is getting shorter by the minute, It's a stark reminder that we need to act now. At our current rate of waste generation, Semakau Landfill (SL) is expected to be fully filled by 2035.
Your home may be clean, but the mess you’re leaving in landfills will never go away in your lifetime.
Dirty Sponge = Germs
No matter what kind of sponge you end up buying, sponges are well known as germ breeders, and to keep it around a bit longer we may perform a little DIY germ slaughter.
Some experts recommend microwaving the sponge for 30 seconds every few days or washing it in the dishwasher. However, a new study finds that the strongest bacteria might survive the microwave. Instead, pop it in the washing machine at the hottest setting using detergent and bleach. Or retire it from the kitchen to the bathroom where hygiene isn't quite so critical.
“But it’s okay,” you say, “I buy Anti-bacterial/anti-fungal sponges from my supermarket’ - STOP!
Many Supermarket brands may claim their sponges won't hold odours, and "contain an Anti-Bacterial treatment to keep them fresh for longer", and while this is true, the ' Anti-Bacterial treatment' can be an extremely dangerous chemical called Triclosan
Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent and pesticide, which reduces or prevents bacterial contamination, and has been linked to cancer, decreases the levels of some thyroid hormones, contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics, potential of developing skin cancer after long-term exposure, developmental toxicity, and skin irritation as well as wreaking havoc on the aquatic ecosystem.
What is the alternative to Regular Cleaning Sponges?
Cellulose Sponges are the perfect alternative to Regular Cleaning Sponges. Pure cellulose sponges are not as widely available as plastic ones are, but they contain no Polyurethane or Triclosan and are completely compostable so don't end up in a landfill.
Made from wood fibres and although man-made, they’re far more “green” than plastic ones since they biodegrade in landfills and go through a far less toxic manufacturing process.
What are the environmental benefits of Cellulose Sponges?
Cellulose Sponges are not made with chemicals like Polyurethane or Triclosan and at the end of their life, if burned, a toxic-free gas is released and does not generate carbon dioxide on disposal.
Bio-based and plastic-free, eco-scrubbers and sponges are made from a loofah vegetable, wood pulp, and cotton, because of this they are biodegradable, and compostable which means earth friendly.
Do Cellulose Sponges Work as Well as Regular Cleaning Sponges?
Yes, absolutely! Cellulose Sponges absorb water due to fine-fibre air bubbles within the Cellulose. Each air bubble holds water, 10 times more water than its weight.
Topped with the natural luffa scrubber, neatly sewn together with cotton twine, and no nasty glue, eco scrubbers make a great alternative to the conventional, quick-grab blue- and green, yellow-tinged sponge at the supermarket.
So, whilst Eco Sponges may not last any longer than your regular colour sponge, keep in mind that you’ll eventually be throwing away a brightly coloured pesticide-soaked piece of spongey plastic into a landfill for thousands of years.
Why not make a quick and easy swap and opt for wood cellulose and luffah scrubbers instead?
Reuse your kitchen sponge for less sanitary tasks
Cut the corner off a sponge that has done its time in the kitchen. This is a visual reminder of it being downgraded to grubbier tasks such as outdoor and heavier-duty cleaning where it won't come into contact with food prep areas.
Charcoal Infused Dishcloth
Alternatively, try swapping to an eco-friendly alternative like our Japanese naturally anti-odour, anti-bacterial charcoal-infused dishcloths, which can be washed with the rest of your laundry load and hung in the sun to kill bacteria.
These Natural Dish Cloths from Nawrap, Japan are made of 100% natural materials, with absolutely no dyes or chemicals used
during production. Binchotan is Japan's highest grade charcoal, naturally antibacterial and anti-odour. The textured surface supports better cleaning power, and the multi-layer weave increases water absorbency and durability and dries quickly after use.
Our Eco Sponges are available in packs of 2 or packs of 4. Nawrap Japanese charcoal dishcloths are also available. Online and at The Green Collective Store, Funan Mall, Singapore
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT FOR OUR COMMUNITY – MAKE THE SWITCH TODAY AND SAVE 10%* CODE - WELCOME10
*Only available online at www.naturalspot.sg
So whether you are just starting out or well into your eco-living, sustainable journey, thank you for letting us be part of it.
NaturalSpot was born to create an inviting, calm, and beautiful space where you can shop consciously, for what we believe, are the best natural products from across the globe.