Sustainability Journal – Compostable Loofah Sponge

At my home in Czechia we tried to introduce more of a zero-waste lifestyle in the past couple of years. We started to take veggies, fruits and bread into our own bags in the supermarket, use more ecological products for the house and wash clothes with soapnuts.

What we were struggling with, are sponges for washing dishes. As conventional sponges are not recyclable,  they end up in landfills and oceans. Imagine the tons of sponges human kind produce every year… They also produce microplastics, that are washed off to the water system.

Something more about microplastics, if you don’t know yet. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are usually invisible to the naked eye. They pollute the environment and are already spread everywhere, including human bodies. Wastewater treatment plants are not capable of detaining them, so microplastics are present also in drinking water. We still don’t know, what is the scale of the causes to the environment and people. Microplastics absorb hazardous chemicals and when in the ocean, they are swallowed by fish and other marine life. According to scientists, this eventually causes liver damage to them.

Back to my house in Czechia and trying to replace these deadly yellow things. We used a homemade cloth sponge from a fair for some time, but it didn’t work as a long term solution. It is expensive and still produces a lot of garbage. Our next try was the Ecoforce Recycled sponge. They are made of clean foam, that would otherwise end on landfills. Sounds great, but the little pieces of foam quickly started to separate from the rest of the sponge. This time, it wasn’t just microplastics going to the drain pipe.

Finally, here in Shipka Paradise, I got to know the solution to our problem. If you are looking for a sponge-happy ending for your house too, follow ours: loofah.

The loofah gourd is a vegetable similar to cucumber or zucchini growing in tropics and subtropics. It is edible, but if you let it dry out, it turns into amazing sponges. Compostable, with the surface perfect for scrubbing and absorbing water. In fact, it is so genius, that I really wonder why we all don’t use it from the beginning!

You can buy loofah on many websites online, find a local producer or even produce it yourself. Some companies do special sponges from it, but the easiest way is to buy the whole loofah and cut it into thick slices. You have multiple sponges in a while. Use it for washing dishes, surfaces or even yourself. And don’t forget to compost it when it serves out. ❤

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