Have you ever considered what we wash down the sink?
Have you ever thought about what exactly goes into making your dishwashing liquid and sponges?
Back when my friends first started WWOOF-ing (working on organic farms), I remember the conversations we would have about the stringent rules on the farms. Since most of them were off-grid or in rural locations, it was essential that waste was kept to a minimum and any wastewater was kept chemical-free as far as humanly possible. The detergents and cleaning liquids we were used to were replaced with vinegar, or warm water. Everything was scrutinised. It made me pay closer attention to labels too.
Most kitchen cleaning products made from plastic or packaged in plastic -- for example, kitchen sponges, or liquid detergent (inefficient in transport).
Making kitchen swaps can be more convenient and more economical too!
Seeing is believing, so here are five ideas for a plastic-free and low-waste kitchen!
#1: Solid dishwashing block
Our latest bestseller, and for good reason (even if we say so ourselves!), is the solid washing block.
Made from coconut oil and lemon essential oil, you'll get a super sudsy clean without the usual harsh chemicals. Fear not, it's gentle on your hands (and the earth!)
Why solid washing soap? Firstly, liquid detergent is mostly water (up to 80% of its content is water)! Bar soaps give you more bang for your buck, lasting longer as they are more concentrated and you'll use much less for the same effect. Since water makes up the bulk of the liquid soap content, it is heavier and more difficult to transport. The carbon footprint of liquid soap is estimated to be 25% more than that of bar soap for this reason!
Secondly, liquid soaps mostly require odd-sized plastic bottles for packaging and will take more energy to produce and ship than simply wrapping a bar of soap with paper! While plastic detergent containers are often made of recyclable plastic, they are regrettably seldom recycled!
And a bonus - the refreshing hint of lemon essential oil in this bar has made this a hit among its new fans!
All-natural Washing Block - available in 2 sizes, 200g (regular) and 100g half-size block
P.S. Guess what - the block is also multi-use and can double up as a stain-stick or laundry block - great for travelling!
#2: Reusable cloths and kitchen towels
Less-waste or not, the efficiency and texture of reusable cloth towels beats disposable kitchen towels any time! We don’t sell “unpaper towels” because you can easily find reusable towels cheaply in any neighbourhood shop. Go forth and use all the towels, or reuse old cotton t-shirts!
#3: Luffa sponge
Loofah sponges are wonderfully useful around the home and very similar to plastic sponges that most people are used to. Fun fact: they're actually a gourd that can be eaten - we love it stir-fried with egg! Luffa sponges can replace bath sponges and dish sponges. We dry our loofahs to be flat for efficient shipping, but as soon as you soak them in a shallow dish of water, they'll puff up all ready for the first use! The luffa is 100% natural and can be composted in home compost bins! A wonderful win!
Luffa sponges - single or sets
#4: Plastic-free Cleaning Brushes
These brushes make great scrubbies for either the dishes or the sink and general cleaning! The agave (cactus) sisal bristles are a material that is traditionally woven into mats and ropes. Here, you can choose between soft (the lighter colour) or hard bristles, and a hand held grip or a long handle.
We recommend the hard bristle handheld brush for washing hard vegetables (potatos, root veggies, fruit), or for washing sinks and hard stubborn buildup.
Dish scrub with long beechwood handle (Soft bristles) - Head or full set
#5: 100% cotton mesh bag
Crocheted cotton bags are said to be originally used by French fishermen. Because they can stretch to fit whatever you put inside, the lightweight bags became popular in the '60s and '70s as market totes for bringing home fresh produce and baguettes. Use for grocery runs or keep in your everyday-bag for impromptu necessities!
The budget option, of course, is to simply reuse any plastic bags under your sink or any reusable bags that you already own!