Have you ever looked around your sink and noticed how much plastic there is in every washing-up product? You might already be wondering, How can I reduce plastic in the kitchen? Going plastic free in the kitchen is key for any eco-conscious household. The good news is, you can reduce your plastic usage and still have a clean kitchen, and a great place to start your plastic-free journey is with your washing up. There are many plastic-free washing-up items for your kitchen that work just as efficiently as the traditional washing-up products that many households are used to. Let’s explore why you might want to make these eco-conscious changes, and look at some options to get you started.
How does going plastic-free in the kitchen help the environment?
According to the World Economic Forum, more than 320 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally in 2015, and 40 percent of that was single-use. Recycling helps to tackle the problem, but not everything you put in the recycling bin is actually recycled (as seen on BBC One’s War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita). By substituting some of your traditional washing-up products with plastic-free options, you can help reduce the amount of plastic sent to landfill, and reduce the amount of micro-plastics released into the environment. Making simple changes means that you are helping to change the world. You can start small with your plastic-free journey: you don’t need to throw out all the plastic in your kitchen right away. The best thing to do is use the plastic items that you have and, when they reach the end of their life, replace them with plastic-free items.
Why should I make my washing up plastic free?
Washing-up adverts over the years have filled a lot of our heads with the idea that washing up must equal a mountain of bubbles, but those bubbles are created by nasty chemicals. The bottle the liquid comes in is plastic and your washing up brush is plastic. Washing up sponges, scourers, and the other tools you use to ensure your dishes are clean contain plastic as well. It’s everywhere! And so much of it isn’t recyclable, which impacts the environment. Making your washing up plastic free is a great way to start your journey to having a plastic-free kitchen.
Vida Eco Shop stock a range of plastic-free products that work just as well as traditional plastic-based products. We have tried and tested all of our products and we think they work even better! Each of the companies that produce the products we sell work ethically and sustainably to support the environment and the people who work for them. By choosing plastic-free washing-up products, you can help make a big impact on the environment, and your dishes will still be clean! Let’s take a look at where you can start.
What eco-friendly product can replace my washing-up liquid?
Many branded washing-up liquids are formulated with toxic chemicals, artificial fragrances, and ingredients you can’t even pronounce. They come in a plastic bottle that is usually not recyclable. The liquid is not kind to your skin or kind to the environment. At Vida Eco Shop we stock this plastic-free washing up soap bar which you can use in place of your preferred liquid:
Plastic-Free Washing Up Soap Bar (https://www.vidaecoshop.com/collections/kitchen/products/plastic-free-washing-up-bar) - £10.00
This plastic-free washing up soap bar is 100% natural. It is tough on greasy dishes but kind to your skin and kind to the environment. We have tried and tested this product and can confirm that it works just as well as traditional liquids, it’s one of our favourite plastic-free swaps. Your dishes will still be just as clean, and the ingredients in this plastic-free soap bar are so mild, you can even use the dishwater to water your plants!
To use this soap bar, just rub it on your loofah, plastic-free sponge or washing-up brush and wash as you have always done to enjoy clean, guilt-free dishes. You can use this product to pre-clean your dishes before putting them in a dishwasher as well. To extend the longevity of your soap bar, keep it dry in between uses and store on a draining soap dish or rack. We love using this scrub pad made from sustainable coconut fibre:
Plastic-free soap dish (https://www.vidaecoshop.com/collections/kitchen/products/coconut-fibre-scrub-pad-soap-dish) - £2.00
You can easily store your plastic-free washing-up soap using this natural, reusable scouring pad as a soap dish. Simply stand your washing up soap on top to dry out between uses. The pad is made from 100% coconut fibre and bonded with natural latex so is 100% compostable, plastic-free and biodegradable.
What Plastic-Free Tools Can I Use to Do The Washing Up?
Now you’ve got your plastic-free soap stored in your plastic-free soap dish, you can begin to think about ditching the plastic sponges and scourers as well. Using a loofah is a great alternative to traditional plastic kitchen sponges, which release micro-plastics into the environment. Loofahs are derived from the loofah plant and mixed with natural coconut fibre for an all-natural cleaning experience. Once wet, they expand and become soft and easy to handle. Loofah is a renewable raw material that absorbs CO2 when growing, so it is kind to the planet and the environment. We love these 100% biodegradable loofahs made by LoofCo:
Loofah Washing Up Pad (https://www.vidaecoshop.com/collections/home/products/loofah/) - £2.75
To use this loofah washing-up pad, simply wet the pad and use it exactly the same way as you would use your current kitchen sponge. Once wet, the loofah washing-up pads expand and become soft and easy to handle. They are perfect for moving towards a zero-waste home. Even better – these products are ethical, sustainable, and vegan-friendly!
The loofah washing-up pads that we stock are made by LoofCo. LoofCo products are inspired by cleaning methods that have been tried and tested over generations. Using this knowledge, they are skilfully created in Sri Lanka and Egypt. LoofCo ensures that their local farmers and production workers have a safe and inclusive workplace, and are treated fairly with fair wages and benefits, such as medical insurance, and no children are employed. LoofCo products are completely vegan. Some coconut producers use monkeys to aid with their harvest, but LoofCo coconuts are not harvested in this way. LoofCo are registered with The Vegan Society. Their farming practices are sustainable and performed to the highest environmental standards. Both coconut and loofah are renewable raw materials that absorb CO2 when growing. Plus, the coconut fibres and husks used to make these products are left over from coconut food and oil production, which would otherwise be wasted or burnt. Anything that reduces waste is a winner in our books! All elements of LoofCo products are 100% compostable and biodegradable, except the metal core of the brushes which is recyclable and the cardboard packaging is also recyclable.
What plastic-free sponges can I use to do my washing up?
Maybe you would prefer a traditional sponge instead of a loofah for your plastic-free kitchen. Maybe you are wondering, are there even plastic-free sponges? Do all sponges contain plastic? Conventional, disposable cleaning sponges are made from oil-based plastic, it’s true. But not all sponges contain plastic. At Vida Eco Shop we stock a range of plastic-free sponges made by Rowen Stillwater:
Plastic-free sponges (https://www.vidaecoshop.com/search?q=sponge) – from £5.99
These products have an innovate cellulose fibre core made from wood pulp, flax and cotton. This makes your sponges wringable, quick drying and, most importantly, foaming. You can still have the bubbles that your brain is used to! All these sponges are completely biodegradable in the environment, so are perfect for eco-friendly cleaning and moving towards a zero-waste home.
We stock heavy-duty sponges, multipacks of everyday sponges in a variety of colours, and even this inspirational coffee sponge:
The Coffee Sponge (https://www.vidaecoshop.com/products/plastic-free-sponge-the-coffee-sponge) - £6.25
The Rowen Stillwater Coffee Sponge is handmade and upcycled from a coffee sack that has reached the end of its journey. The tough jute top is stitched to a canvas liner and pure cotton back. As with the other Rowen Stillwater sponges, it is filled with the innovate cellulose fibre made from wood pulp, flax and cotton to ensure a wringable, quick drying, foaming washing up experience.
Are There Plastic-Free Washing-Up Brushes?
One of the most obvious places we can all see plastic in our kitchen is in the traditional washing-up brush. The bristles are made from plastic and the handle is made from plastic and, when it is worn out, it is not recyclable, which adds to the waste sent to landfill. You may not realise but your plastic washing-up brush affects the environment in one other key way: every time you use it, you are washing micro-particles of plastic down the drain. These particles are small enough to get through the filtration systems at water treatment plants, and can end up in waterways and oceans. We have all seen the photos of sea creatures with plastics inside them, and your washing up brush is adding to that.
The good news is, there are plastic-free washing up brushes that you can use in your plastic-free kitchen. We love this one:
Plastic-free washing up brush (https://www.vidaecoshop.com/products/washing-up-brush-with-handle) - £3.25
This biodegradable, plastic-free washing up brush is hand made from sustainably-sourced coir fibre and rubberwood. Coir is made from the outer husk of a coconut. This washing-up brush is made by LoofCo, who also make the loofah products we sell. They harvest their coconuts in a sustainable way that doesn’t exploit monkeys as some coconut farmers do. The brush is flexible, durable and versatile. The coir bristles are totally natural and biodegradable. You can use it just like any other washing-up brush, and know that you’re being kind to the environment, and not washing plastic down your drain. Simple shake out any food particles after you’re done with the washing up, and hang it up using the cotton string loop to keep dry in between uses. It works brilliantly and lasts for a seriously long time, we have been using ours for around a year and it’s still as good as new.
Tell Us How You Got On With Your Plastic-Free Kitchen Items!
We love to hear from our customers. Have you bought any of our plastic-free washing-up products? Or any other kitchen essentials? We would love to hear from you. Share your photos on social media and tag us! @vidaecoshop