If you’re anything like me, you’ve found that one of the hardest places in your home to reduce plastic waste is in your kitchen. There is just SO much plastic, and much of it cannot be properly recycled through accessible channels. Whether the plastic is housed in your fridge and pantry, or found in the tools used to wash your dishes after cooking, the kitchen has felt like the last frontier for low-waste living in my household. So when I found these reusable kitchen sponges from locally sourced Juniperseed Mercantile, I was thrilled.
The Problem with Plastic Sponges
Okay, confession time: I used a lot of disposable kitchen sponges in my college years. These little sponges were cheap and accessible virtually everywhere, from dollar stores to grocers and beyond. We purchased them because they were easily available and they followed the simple principle most of us grew up with: Use briefly, then toss. Turns out, they certainly don’t last very long (at less than $1 per sponge, I should have recognized this), and often disintegrated while I was cleaning. Now I had to clean up a mess for trying to clean up a mess. Great. At one point, we were going through a few sponges each month, which added up to quite a bit of money thrown away over an extended amount of time - and a lot of unnecessary waste.
Not only do cheap yellow sponges break apart easily, they are also made of inexpensive plastic that serves as a breeding ground to a whole host of bacteria sitting next to your sink. The plastic from these yellow sponges also sheds as you use it, thus rinsing down your sink and polluting our waterways with microplastics. Microplastics are miniscule particles of plastics and are currently under scrutiny for a variety of human and environmental health concerns globally. Microplastics contribute to water and even air pollution not only in your community, but across seas and deep in our soils. They have been found in places that no plastic should ever belong, including the fish on our dinner plates and even inside the tissue of human lungs. The ramifications of microplastics aren’t fully known yet, but we do know they at least disrupt human reproductive systems. What we do know - best to avoid plastic, when possible.
I knew I needed to make some changes if I was going to minimize my constant exposure to plastics. Cheap plastic sponges are not easily cleaned between uses, and so often develop a perfect environment to house harmful bacteria when not in use. Basically, when I learned better after college, I wanted nothing to do with them. Fabric kitchen sponges were an easy sustainable swap.
Next Level Kitchen Cleaning
Enter the Fabric Kitchen Sponge! These sponges are made locally in Colorado with simple plastic-free ingredients. Antimicrobial bamboo and cotton waffle weave fabric creates a luxurious plush sponge for sudsing up your dishes, pots, and pans, and the bamboo outer layer reduces bacterial growth. But the best part about these dish sponges? They can be sanitized and used again for years! When these sponges look in need of some love, rather than throwing them out, just toss them in your dishwasher’s top rack or your washing machine and then reuse - good as new! You can also opt to wash them with your regular load of laundry. Thanks to the layers of waffle weave fabric inside, they’ll puff up again perfectly every time you need to put them to work, so you can use them time and time again.
Each set of sponges, handcrafted by Juniperseed Mercantile in Littleton, CO, is wrapped in a recyclable cardboard sleeve and contains two fabric sponges. Each sponge is approximately 3.5” by 6” and made with organic bamboo, unbleached cotton waffle, and cotton thread. No sneaky plastic here! The cardboard sleeve can be recycled with your curbside recycling, and when your sponges are finally too worse for wear to use anymore, they can be commercially composted. Yep, we’re pretty much in love.
Where To Find Fabric Kitchen Sponges
Where can you find these unique and innovative kitchen sponges? We’re totally here for ya! Check out our website or visit us at a local pop-up around town. (Info available through our website or socials.)
Summit Sustainable Goods is a zero waste and refill shop located in Denver, CO that is dedicated to helping you live a more eco-friendly lifestyle - without the intimidation. We curate sustainable household and personal care products and prioritize small, local businesses when possible. We verify all of our suppliers to ensure that all the products we sell are environmentally friendly and safe for you and the planet. We never push for perfection in the sustainable space (after all, we’re working within a larger system that prioritizes waste first) but encourage our wonderful customers to focus on their progress and feeling inspired to take small steps.
Want to follow our journey and learn about future zero waste events and happenings? Adventure with us by signing up for our email list or follow us on Instagram or Facebook to keep up-to-date on all things Summit.
Carrie Martin-Haley, founder