It's Time to Remove Plastic From Your Cleaning Routine, and Here's Why
Cleaning in an Eco-Friendly Way
This article will provide you with tips, tricks, and products to help make your life in the kitchen as eco-friendly as possible. It will cover several cleaning solutions available that are friendly to the environment and have very little waste.
Cleaning Your Kitchen, Without Plastic
Keeping your kitchen clean is no light task. After all, you’re facing steep counter-top competition with grease, oils, crumbs, hot metal cookware, and all kinds of food mess. But the real mess in the kitchen is the 185 pounds of plastic used per person every year, most of it coming in the form of plastic bottles from cleaning products designed around single-use containers. While these may still help get the kitchen shiny and spotless, they have a much more harmful on our environment.
So, if you want to go the extra mile and maintain your kitchen in a way that cleans and is also green, here’s are some options to forgo single-use paper and plastic that will leave your kitchen looking spotless.
Paper towels and other single-use paper or plastic products are neither cost-effective nor environmentally friendly - you are literally throwing money in the trash every time you use paper towels - so why not go back to the drawing board and build up a collection of reusable dish towels in a refillable container? You can use your reusable towels to clean the mess and dry your dishes, then add them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. It saves you money, reduces the amount of waste in the kitchen, takes up less space, and actually protects your surfaces and helps them last longer.
Another cheap, sustainable alternative to paper towels is reusable Bamboo towels. Extracted from rayon, a natural raw material, and effectively grown bamboo sprouts, these towels are very absorbent, washable, and biodegradable.
Most normal sponges are plastic and can’t be recycled or composted. To aggravate matters, they are also a haven for bacteria. German scientists did a study and found 45 billion kinds of bacteria per square centimetre in an average house-hold sponge. So, if you are aspiring towards a clean and green kitchen, it seems like the beloved but beleaguered sponge is best excluded from your cleaning tools.
Additionally, no matter how good sponges are, they aren’t always strong enough to wash away tougher messes. Moreover, they can collect unwanted bacteria if they remain unwashed as the study mentioned above shows. So, if you want to incorporate more dish washing power to your cleaning routine and forgo potentially harmful bacteria, then wooden dish brushes can be a great alternative solution.
Dishwashers have commonly been considered less eco-friendly than hand-washing, but in actuality, a fully-loaded dishwasher using high-efficiency settings uses less water than hand washing. Furthermore, dishwasher pods add convenience and additional environmental benefits compared to larger single use plastic detergent bottles. The concentrated, non-toxic formula in most pods assists you in getting your dishes clean! The refillable and reusable plastic storage containers they typically come in save on space and cut down on plastic waste. It’s another great ingredient in a recipe for a clean and environmentally-friendly kitchen.
Here are some additional zero waste cleaning tools to add to your arsenal:
- Feather duster: You can get a plastic-free feather duster. Just know that most plastic-free feather dusters are created from ostrich feathers and wooden handles. It is recommended to get one-second hand, so that it’s already in existence, and you’re just keeping it out of the waste disposal. If you feel like feather dusters, move dust around the house, or onto the floor, you can vacuum it up afterward.
- Rags: You can use these instead of feather dusters to clean up dust, or other messes. 100% cotton bar towels are preferable as they do a great job of absorbing liquid and picking up dirt.
- Cleaning spray: This versatile all-purpose cleaning spray functions on just about every surface and in every room. It can be used to sanitize mirrors, windows, sinks, counter-tops and other surfaces
- Dish scrubs: Bamboo dish brushes are appropriate because they last such a long time. There are several distinct kinds, too, like a bamboo bottle brush that has a long handle or a handheld pot brush that can be used on tubs and tiles. These can be composted at the climax of their life.
- Wooden hand broom and a metal dustpan: If you want to clean up some small accidents without having to use the vacuum cleaner, get a hand broom and a metal dustpan. You can get both secondhand an antique mall, which will avoid them getting disposed of.
- Wooden toilet brush: Most toilet brushes are manufactured from plastic. But, there are many other options like bamboo, steel, and silicone brushes that can be used in place of plastic ones.
References and Resources
The eco guide to cotton towels
Zero Waste Challenge 27: Bamboo Dish Scrubs