Wednesday, May 14, 2008

#222 - Sponge-Worthy

Switching from Plastic Sponges to Cellulose

This is the eighth change in my month-long pledge to give up plastics for Crunchy's Extreme Eco-Throwdown.

I used to buy a three-pack of Scotch-Brites every month or so, before I "turned green". I haven't bought a new plastic sponge now in almost a year. The ones I have are ragged and worn and are, most likely, thoroughly laden with a thousand garden variety household bacterium. But they still work, so I'm keeping them - holes, inhabitants and all.

However, since I am working to find non-plastic alternatives this month, I got me some stylin' cellulose scrubbers to supplement my septic sponges.

I ordered a two-pack of the Twist Loofah Sponge from for $4.49 plus $8.00 shipping, because, of course, I can't find a natural cellulose sponge with a scrubber side anywhere in Richmond. I have two kids, a dog, a husband, and poor cooking skills. Trust me - I NEED a scrubber side.

Anyhow, I've been using the new sponges and they seem to work just fine. The sponge, as I mentioned is cellulose (which means it's made from trees) and the scrubber side is a loofah (made from a tropical dried fruit). The loofah part doesn't seem to hold up quite as well as its petro-counterpart, but then again, that's the idea, isn't it? That we're trying to move away from the infinite life span of plastics to a more natural, biodegradable product?

That being said, I hope these suckers last a long time. At over six bucks a pop, that's a lot of jingle and unless I can find these locally, I don't think I'll be buying them again. I do have my cheap-ass backup system on hand, though: Standard Cellulose Sponge + Elbow Grease + Fingernail Scraping + Occasional Stainless Steel Pot Scrubber = less than $3.00 at Kroger.


organicneedle said...

I have been happy with the Caldera/avocado netting combo. The Calderas do come in plastic but because the are so dehydrated ten fit in a smaller piece than one Scotchbrit, my old scrubber. Obviously the netting is plastic so it wouldn't work for you this month,unless you already have one headed for the bin, but in the future it may be an option. I wouldn't use a stainless steal scrubbie on my pots, too harsh. Oh...the other cool thing about the Calderas is that they are cheap entertainment for the wee ones. They poof up really fast like a marshmallow in the microwave...not that I spend a lot of time with such silliness. :)

Anonymous said...

Fun fact: unless you're up somewhere like Canada or Alaska, you can even grow your own loofahs -- they're not exclusively tropical. I'd wanted to do that this summer, but they need more sunlight than my yard gets :-(

eco 'burban mom said...

Thanks for the heads up on the loofah, I was wondering how that would work. I am always happy when someone else is the guinea pig! :o) I walk away from the stove too often (4 boys, 2 dogs, 1 hubby - there is always a crisis!) and end up with boiled over, crusty, stuck on gunk that requires mucho scrubbing and I only have one scrubber sponge left! I did check the twist website and they list a few stores around my house, but I can't tell if they carry all the products or just a couple. Maybe you can check the website for local stores near you to eliminate the shipping?

And, I take a little comfort in the fact that you might resort to buying a remedy at Kroger once in a great while. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one!

Also, Ms. green guinea pig, how is that Burt's Bees toner / moisturizer regime working out?

Verde said...

Oh, good find... I wonder if whole foods has them because $8.00 shipping seems kind of steep.

But then I'm the one paying $8.00 for a gallon of milk that might have straw bits in it.

Natalie said...

I'm going to have to try those TWISTs. Thanks for the tip. Also, love the Seinfeld innuendo!

heather t said...

I wonder if you could use a regular loofa bought at a discount store and just slice chunks off of it when you need a new scrubby. Of course, this would be one you'd NOT use in the shower! (A little TOo organic for me!)

You can grow your own? Coolness.

JAB said...

Crate and Barrel sells Twist sponges. In fact, the eco-loofah sponge #50 is on their outlet page right now.

Is there a Crate and Barrel in Richmond? I KNOW there isn't one in Rural Texas, where I am. However, I often order from them for Christmas presents, etc. As a bonus, their products usually ship with recycled paper packing (not plastic peanuts or bubble wrap), in cardboard boxes (not plastic baggies).

CindyW said...

I use cellulose sponges from Trader Joe's. No scrubbing side.

I remember Chile made a suggestion of using plastic netting-kind of bags (for fruit like oranges or avocados) as scrubbers. Tried it and very effective.

MamaBird said...

ask yr local whole foods, ours just started carrying them in DC - i know cause i just got some for that green cleaning basket i did for an auction (not cause I've actually tried them - tx for the review).

melanietai said...

instead of a sponge i use a knit cotton square. it took me a bit to get used to it, but now i love it. i have a bunch (10?) of them and i can just throw them in the wash when it's time. (and i use a stainless steel scrubby also on pots and such.)

Miaux Cat said...

I use the twist, I get it at my local organic market. I'm more lucky than you, I suppose- my two-pack is a dollar fifty. I think you should shop around for better prices, because you're getting hosed.

The scrubby side does tend to get scratched off if you're cleaning too hard, or it's sorta old, but they hold up really well, clean well, and a run through the dishwasher makes them like new. Plus, the packaging they come in doubles as a craft for kids- just look on the underside of the apper wrapping.