Plastic sponges, paper towels, a massive selection of plastic bottles of various cleaning sprays – plastic, one use, throwaway products and harsh chemicals. It’s easy for our cleaning routine to contain all of the above.
But can you really keep your house clean, while still keeping our planet clean?
Of course you can. Here’s my favourite sustainable swaps you can use to clean up with a clean conscience.
Why Make your Clean Green?
Whether you have been living the zero waste life for some time, or are new to the journey, let’s have a quick refresh on why you should care about reducing the amount of plastic involved in your cleaning routine.
Plastics are made from non-renewable fossil fuels and create a lot of pollution when produced, when thrown away they either stay in landfill for hundreds of years, or end up in our oceans, washing up on our beaches and harming the environment.
Chemicals from cleaning products can end up in the ocean, harming wildlife and plants.
Many single-use or plastic items are used in cleaning routines – like plastic containers for cleaning products, plastic based cloths, paper towels and plastic bristled scrubbing brushes.
Recycling is not the solution (only about 9% of plastics are recycled).
So here’s my favourite swaps to get you started…
Choose environmentally friendly cleaning products, like ocean saver. The sachets are made from plant-derived, sustainably sourced ingredients and dissolve in water to make your cleaning solutions, simple! All this but whilst still being kind on the environment. They allow you to reuse the same bottle over and over rather than keep purchasing plastic bottles to then throw away. You can also have reusable glass spray bottles for your cleaning products, cutting the plastic altogether!
Plus, since these are concentrated sachets, they are able to come in a small packet instead of 5 large plastic bottles. This reduces the amount of space they take up in transport, which also reduces their carbon footprint (which is already fairly low due to being made in the UK)
2. Try a compostable sponge – they are durable and will last for months with no bad odours. They also require less soap than a traditional sponge scourer and produce more suds for easier cleaning!
3. Another great option for compostable cleaning is these Swedish dishcloths. They are an incredible and eco-friendly alternative to the traditional synthetic sponge or microfibre cleaning cloth. These cloths can be used all around the house, on bathroom surfaces and kitchen countertops to dishes and everyday spills.
Traditional cloths and sponges are made from plastics and cannot be recycled or composted. Millions of microplastics from cloths have also found their ways into oceans and into the stomachs of our wildlife.
They’re hygienic, reusable, and fully biodegradable, created from 70% FSC certified cellulose (natural wood fibre) and 30% waste cotton. The pack contains 4 different colours, which are handy to identify which cloth you use for where in the home. No more mixing up the dishcloth with the bathroom cloth! One of our tried and tested favourites!
4. If you like to wear gloves while cleaning, you could opt for natural latex rubber gloves. Suitable for household cleaning, washing dishes or to protect your hands from household cleaning agents. Reusable, biodegradable and compostable.
5. Use washable or reusable fabric kitchen roll instead of paper towels. If you do want to stick to disposable kitchen roll, opt for a plastic free packaging, like paper or biodegradable materials and choose a bamboo kitchen roll, which is much more sustainable than paper.
6. These coconut husk scrubbers are non-scratch, durable, and usable on products such as bottles, plates, cookware, and cutlery. Made sustainably from coconut husk, also known as coconut fibre, carefully wrapped around a thick stainless steel wire.
7. Swap plastic sponges for compostable bamboo dish scrubs, pot brushes, fabric unsponges or biodegradable varieties, that won’t shed microplastic in to the water system and ultimately our oceans.
The Eco Laundry Egg is an innovative laundry washing system that cleans clothes effectively, using two types of natural mineral pellets encased in a recyclable egg.
Containing no harmful chemicals and kind to your skin, it completely replaces laundry detergent and fabric conditioner, giving you a kinder and easier laundry solution!
Lots of laundry detergents use petrochemical-based surfactants to help break up dirt and stains. This sounds great, but the problem is it’s not anaerobically biodegradable. After use it washes down the drain into a sewage place or a river, and if oxygen is not present, it does not biodegrade. Most detergents also contain phosphates, but unfortunately, when released into waterways these can lead to algal blooms that stifle fish and other aquatic life.
The Eco Laundry Egg helps to reduce your plastic use. Once you’ve used your Laundry Egg for around 70 washes, you can buy Refill Laundry Egg Pellets which allow you to use the egg over and over again.
If you switch from liquid detergent and fabric conditioner to a Laundry Egg you will save up to 40* bottles of plastic each year. (*Based on 7 washes a week and 18 wash bottles.)
A sustainable spring clean is neither a hard, complicated nor an expensive goal to achieve.
Simple swaps will be easy on your budget, as well as the planet. And remember reusable products are an investment, so you buy once instead of repeatedly purchasing single use, throwaway products.