Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

, Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

After a thorough go-through of our bathroom, I thought I had eliminated most of the plastic in our home. What a surprise when I realized that we still had one holdout – the kitchen. I realized that many of the items I use daily were still plastic!

Somehow, the very items I touch most often, look at most often, and are in plain sight were still unattractive, depressing, non-compostable plastic pieces. How did I miss them? What could I do?

, Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

That Sponge!

I’ve never been one to compare brands of sponges – I like the ones with sponge on one side and scrubby material on the other.

Every year, I probably wear out about four to six of them a year. They get “demoted” to bathroom use, then make their way into the trashcan. What if I chose one that could be recycled, or, better yet – composted?

Online I did a bit of searching, and came up with some natural, plant-based sponges. They claimed to be 100% natural material; sisal and synthetic recycled fibers. They showed photos of coconut shell, agave, and henequen – a suggestion that they were comprised of these fibers.

, Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

Good Sponges

These are the Natural Plant-Based Scrub Sponge by scrub-it, Non-Scratch, Biodegradable scrubbing sponges for Kitchen and Bathroom– Single Wrapped Pack of 10.

Had I read more carefully, I would have seen the review that they arrive individually wrapped – defeating the ecoconscious goal. However, my other sponges came nearly individually wrapped, so that’s a wash.

I’ve used mine for a couple weeks now, and have to agree with all the reviews – the price is reasonable, they hold up just as well as non-natural sponges. The colors are slightly more “green” in appearance, and blend in just as well as brilliant blue in most kitchens.

The one claim that they won’t collect bad smells – any sponge left wet will have an unpleasant odor, these included. I microwave mine for 2 minutes 22 seconds when damp to kill the smell, these included.

Reading the description, they are made of a mixture of natural sisal fiber, as well as synthetic recycled fiber. Including some recycled synthetic fiber is better than using non-recycled synthetic fibers.

, Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

Better Sponges

Here’s a better choice: Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Natural Fiber Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge, 6 Scrub Sponges. This one is called “greener” because it is “greener” than ordinary sponges, with mostly natural materials like recycled paper, coconut shells, and agave However, the scrubbing side is 50% non-compostible.

Also, they are not individually wrapped, so that’s a slightly better choice.

Best Sponges

Better yet, totally separate the scrubbing bit from the sponge bit, and try Skoy Eco-Friendly Cleaning Cloths that are 70% wood and 30% cotton, and Skoy Scrub pads. Supposedly, a single Skoy Cloth will replace up to 15 rolls of paper towels.

For me, maybe not, but if you are in the habit of reaching for paper towels all day long; it’s really time to stop doing that! It’s wasteful! Use sponges or cloths for wipe ups, rinse them out, and regularly toss them in with your laundry. They don’t take up any room at all in the machine, and you’ll feel so much better about yourself and your conservation efforts.

Reserve your paper towels for truly worthy cleanups. I’m talking cat puke or worse. Otherwise, if it’s spilled water on counters or even food – food is not nasty, so just use a cloth and rinse it out regularly. The Skoy cloths are the equivalent of 15 paper towels – so, also – far less expensive overall!

Per the website, “It is a European made product and 100% biodegradable when properly composted because it is made from a natural cotton and wood-based cellulose pulp.” According to them, “After an independent composting test, Skoy Cloth broke down completely within five weeks.” 

Best Scrubs

Skoy Scrub pads are made of 100% natural, organic fibers. They are safe for Teflon pans, and can be washed in the dishwasher or washing machine. There is a warning to avoid washing them and delicates in the same load – the same thing you’ve probably learned about washing delicates with anything with a Velcro strip – they cause snags and fuzziness.

With separating absorbant towels and scrubs, you won’t have the problem of food particles being trapped by the scrubbie bit in your sponge, causing odors.

These are made of cotton fibers, with a food-grade non-toxic hardener. “Skoj” means “just for fun” in Swedish, thus the cute designs for “kitchen drudgery.”

, Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

The Skoy products – cloth, scrub, towel, and holder – are from a woman-owned California business. When the two ladies learned how many tons of paper towels are used annually filling landfills, 2.5 million tons – that’s 5,000,000,000 pounds a year – they set out to develop an ecoconscious alternative. There are several dish cloth holders for in-sink use including the Skoy version. The main decision is if you want a suction cup or not.

, Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

Scrub Brushes

I can’t imagine not having a scrub brush at the sink! I used to think these plastic versions from Oxo were the cat’s pajamas. They have a liquid detergent reservoir, a comfortable feel in the hand, however, they are all plastic, and that’s just not cool anymore.

Instead, this time, I chose the WISH Cleaning Scrub Brush for Cast Iron Skillet Pots Pans – Made of 100% Wood Handle and Coconut Bristles.

They are almost too pretty to use! They have natural oak handles, which will do nicely with a bit of cutting board oil applied. With the downward-angled brushes, they won’t splay as quickly and lose their stiffness.

Zero waste, all natural fiber; I can toss these in my compost pile when they wear out some day. I do know, with the wood handles, if you leave them sitting in water, they will split. Best to make sure they can drip dry and air out thoroughly after each use.

, Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

Bottle Brushes

A fairly new addition to our kitchen was a bottle brush. With cycling bottles galore, we really needed a soft, long brush to clean them thoroughly. A bottle brush is the sort of cleaning utensil you don’t know how much you needed it until you get one and don’t know what you did without it.

Suddenly, flower vases, juice pitchers with narrow necks, and so much more are accessible and easily cleaned. Brilliant!

When this plastic one arrived, not only was it rather unattractive, it was accompanied by a plastic base that looked like the whole setup belonged in the bathroom next to the toilet. It looks SO much like a toilet brush that I hide it when company comes! In the handle there is a teeny brush that seemed smart, but we’ve never used.

Although this one is not even halfway through its life, I already found an acceptable replacement, the Redecker Natural Pig Bristle and Cotton Cleaning Brush, 12-5/8-Inches.

It took a lot of reading about bristles, handle lengths, and brush widths to find what I wanted. From the same company, there even is a bottle brush that looks just like the plastic one above – again, just like a toilet brush.

I did not want a brush with a cotton tip to break down, discolor, and rot. Again, I know with the wooden handle, it cannot be left to sit in a pan of water. It must be allowed to completely dry after use. You can even comb out the bristles with a metal comb if needed.

Eventually, when this one wears out, I can toss it in my compost pile – the wood, metal, and bristles will be completely compostable. Plus, it looks natural, almost historic, and blends in lying in the drainer rack.

Copper Scouring Pads

What an old-fashioned choice! Well, I wanted something to really scrub when boiling burnt-on food won’t work. The Chore Boy 811435002145 Copper Scouring Pad (Pack of 10), Scrubber were exactly what I needed.

While I didn’t want enormous scrubbers, more importantly, I didn’t want any copper-plated and copper-coated steel versions that would rust and leave stains in my sink. These are perfect.

Interestingly, cycling enthusiasts restoring bikes and even motorcyclists say these are softer than chrome, so they won’t scratch. Someone else mentioned cleaning hub caps, even!

Non-Toxic Natural Dish Soap

Well, as long as we’re overhauling the cleaning supplies in the kitchen… might as well swap for a plant-based ingredients version of dish soap.

I swapped to the Seventh Generation Dish Liquid Soap, Free & Clear, 25 oz due to reading several good reviews, and due to my satisfaction with their liquid laundry detergent.

I’m one of those who thinks dish soap must have suds in order to be effective, right or wrong, and this one bubbles nicely. The price per ounce is one of the best out there. It has no fragrances, dyes, phosphates or triclosan, and is an EPA Safer Choice Certified Product and USDA Certified Biobased Product 95percentage.

The product claims to be hypo-allergenic, septic safe, animal testing free, and biodegradable, and says “Gluten Free” on the back label. I don’t know of any dish soaps with gluten… At 95% natural, there’s 5% non-natural, however, it’s a huge improvement over what we were using.

, Eliminating Plastic in the Kitchen // Surprise Holdouts

Living Clean

Thanks for reading – my kitchen plastic clear-out was inspired by my previous bathroom revamp. I had written “30 Minute Ecoconscious Bathroom Makeover // Eliminating Plastics and Going Green” back in May, and I wondered how I hadn’t even noticed how much plastic is in kitchens.

I set out to eradicate the plastic enemy!

Thanks again for reading! Use of any of my Amazon links does not increase your price, but they might reward me with a portion of the sale for sharing my experiences with you.

Now, get busy! Start replacing nonrenewables with renewables, non-reyclables with recyclables! Have fun! Elevate the look of your home. Enjoy – it’s fun to surround yourself with beautiful wood and fibers instead of slimy plastic.

Don’t forget – whatever sunscreen you wear eventually finds its way down a drain and into the water table. Do your part in protecting our oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams! For instance, treat yourself to Earth-friendly Stream2Sea shampoo, leave-in conditioner, and sunscreen this season. Here’s a 10% off discount to reward you for being environmentally conscious; just use “KimW” at the checkout.

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