Most of my process of changing to sustainable and eco-friendly habits are based on personal experience and learning of facts of contamination and its consequences.
In this case, I started having really bad skin allergies to dishwashing soap when working in the F&B Industry due to which I ended up with minor chronic dermatitis and now I have to be fast and try to have as little as possible direct contact with the dishwashing soap and sponge.
Regarding facts, I've learned that sponges are made of plastics and generate million of microplastics making it very dangerous to our environment. As well as dishwashing-soap. I've heard stories of how people use these types of soaps on gasoline while at sea to make it "go down". Contaminating our waters without us even knowing.
These and many other facts had made me make a switch of mind and start incorporating products more sustainable when washing the dishes.
One of the first changes is to look for eco-friendly soap and switch for plant-based, natural, and biodegradable products; reusing and recycling their plastic containers. You can also make your dishwasher which is very easy. You need sodium bicarbonate, neutral soap (usually used for hand washing clothes), and essential oil. I currently buy mine refilling my bottle at a ZeroWaste Store here in my neighborhood because of the foam and smell it has which I love.
Another important swap is the natural bristle brush and copper sponge. You can also go for bamboo cloth, knitted sponges from thick sisal thread, or cotton. Lemon or orange peel also works great as sponges to wash the dishes with, you might not even need the dishwashing soap.
I also learned about these new silicone products to clean dishes but I haven’t had the opportunity to try them and assure their silicone is recyclable.
Feel free to ask and try new products, still assure you do your research. Each item changes according to each country and regulations. If you can’t find a product you like remember there are always DIY and natural options.
As I always say; the best thing is to start from little and look for what works for you. Don’t start throwing everything away and replacing everything with sustainable products. That will still generate a lot of waste of perfectly usable products. Finish what you have, make sure it’s time to buy a new one before throwing anything away. Changes happen in baby-steps, one at a time.
I changed to wooden and natural brushes a year ago and still haven’t replaced it. Changing to plant-based and natural soaps has helped me with my dermatological sensitivity. Overall it has been more than a positive outcome for me. My skin is better and less sensitive to soaps and I am generating much less waste than before.
I hope you find this article useful and keep in mind that the change starts at home.
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A True Nomad - Sol Acevedo