Zero Waste Kitchen Sponges from Ecotopia
Does anyone else feel weird washing their dishes with a soggy, stinky disposable sponge? YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD, THAT'S GROSS.
I hated handling my old sponges, but I hated even more that they were usually chunks of plastic, and no matter what they were made of they were heading for a landfill. (We don't spend much time talking about the fact that many of these "sponges" are actually wads of plastic, do we?) Was there a better option? I had no idea, until Kelli at the Ecotopia threw a couple into my massive reusable bag order I wrote about last fall.
Kelli makes lovely little terry cloth Unsponges that also feature a cotton mesh and additional absorptive layers with antimicrobial properties. The fabrics are customizable, they have been pre-shrunk, and machine washable and machine dryable.
I won't lie, when I looked at these perky little fabric sponges and then looked at my massive pile of dishes covered in caked-on and burned food bits, I thought, "Yeah, RIGHT." How could this sweet little thing possibly last? I committed to seeing how long and how well it would hold up before I'd consider posting anything about it.
I started using my Unsponges 4 months ago. I have been using them almost daily, since I cook all the time. I've scrubbed cookie pans, melted cheese, pans with fried egg bits, charred pasta sauce from when I accidentally left another burner on, and that pot I used to make the turmeric dye with this sponge. (It was a little jaundiced for a bit after the turmeric episode.)
Here's a detail shot of how it's held up:
And another one:
Your eyes just bugged out of your head. You started sweating with excitement. I KNOW, ME TOO. I LOVE THESE THINGS.
The best part, to me, is tossing them into the washing machine every couple days. This is so much more sanitary, and I don't feel that tinge of shame when someone places a water glass in the sink anymore next to that creepy petri dish of a disposable sponge. My Unsponges are more absorptive than your average plastic disposable sponge, so give 'em a good wringing between bouts of dishes.
These little guys are going to eliminate so much more of your waste over the next year, and they come in a huge array of adorable patterns and designs. They won't shed micro-plastics in to the water supply or onto your cutting boards, they aren't sink-side germ factories, and they'll peacefully biodegrade when their time comes. And they're cute as all hell.
Speaking of ways to reduce waste, I would be completely remiss to not take a moment for the makeup removal pads that Kelli also threw into my purchase. (This is not a sponsored post, just to clarify. She sent me items to do with what I please, no expectation.)
The Ecotopia's makeup removal pads are simply beautiful. These things are so soft, they're like fluffy little clouds come to float away the last of your drunken raccoon eye makeup.
They're cotton flannel on one side and bamboo velour on the other side. Bamboo is one of the world's best renewable resources, and bamboo velour is crazy soft, hypoallergenic, and anti-microbial. These, like their sponge cousins, can also just be tossed into the washer and dryer! You can literally use them hundreds of times before you have to discard them.
Can you say the same for these chemical-soaked disposable counterparts? That come in an appalling amount of packaging?
I'm still at the beginning of this journey of mine, but already I'm amazed at how the tiny shifts I'm making as part of my 100 Greener Choices series have impacted my life as a whole. I have so much less trash, and the way I see the world is continually shifting.