Monday, 7 September 2015

Zero Waste Week 2015 - Eco Friendly/Natural Cleaning Aids

As it is Zero Waste Week this week (7th-13th September), I thought I would post about some of my efforts to live a simpler, waste free life.

I'm always on the lookout for everyday solutions to waste problems in all areas of life. I've had a couple of successes, namely making my own reusable cotton pads to apply my toner. Some that I've made haven't been very successful, however, due to the lack of absorbancy of the cotton, but nevertheless others have worked really well and they were free, as they were made by recycling fabric that I already had.

Another solution, has been making my own dishcloths from old jersey t-shirts and leggings that are not fit to send to the charity shop. I've been cutting these up and using them for a good few years now and I have a more or less constant pile in my undersink cupboard, which means I haven't had to buy a dishcloth in simply ages. Once again, this solution has been free and has had the added advantage of keeping worn out clothing out of landfill or having to take it to the cloth recycling bank to be recycled as rags.

I've also recently been bulk buying laundy and washing up liquid to reduce the number of plastic bottles passing through the house and this has saved me from having to repurchase these items for long periods of time, which has been good.

Some other solutions I have recently purchased, in an attempt to find new small ways to cut down on waste and in this particular instance, to prevent the need to use scouring or brillo-type pads.  Firstly, I bought this washing up loofah from Ethical Superstore.

I liked the idea of using something natural to scour pans with to help get rid of dried and baked on food. It is made from coconut husk and according to the packaging, they have been used by people in the Philippines for generations.  They last for 3 months or so and can be hung up to dry after use and composted once worn out.  I'm yet to actually try it, as I'm still using my last brillo-type scouring pad, but I am looking forward to seeing how effective it is.

A second solution I found whilst we were in the US and it is these 'Greener Clean' non-scratch scrub sponges by Scotch-Brite.  They are made from 100% plant-based fibres (mostly agave plants) and 23% recycled materials and can be cleaned in the dishwasher for re-use.  What I like about these is that they have a soft and an abrasive side, so you could use them instead of a dishcloth and scouring pad.  This might make them good for travel in a camper van or or a self catering holiday. They don't state on the packaging that they are compostable, but I would assume that they might break down more easily in landfill than plastic based products, if they are plant based. They too are an interesting alternative to plastic scourers and metal based brillo type pads.

In each case, these items cost less than a couple of pounds or the equivalent, which may sound expensive, but if they can be used for quite a while and prevent waste and pollution, they are worth it to my mind. Have you come across any useful natural products that can help eliminate waste? I'm always interested to hear of any.

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