Scourers are one of those daily items that are now being made from plastic. This type of scourer poses 3 significant problems for the environment: Firstly, they come over-packaged in plastic; secondly, when it is time to change them, they are not recyclable and they turn into waste that ends up in an incinerator or in landfill; and finally, they continuously release micro-plastic particles throughout their lifecycle and given that water treatment plants can’t filter these particles out, they end up going directly into the ocean. In addition, as these micro-plastic particles are porous they absorb poisons and toxins that end up contaminating the sea and they become a poisonous source of food for fish and marine animals that confuse them with real nutrition.
Luckily the plastic scourer is not an irreplaceable product and here we offer 3 environmentally friendly alternatives to the plastic option.
1 – 100% biodegradable vegetable scourers
These scourers are made from loofah (luffa). Loofah is a vegetable that comes from the cucumber or zucchini/courgette family. Loofah scourers are very effective as sponges and are very gentle on delicate surfaces. In addition, they have the great environmental benefit of being a totally biodegradable and renewable product. When it is time to change them, we can throw them straight into the compost.
Our tip: As the loofah is a vegetable, it is very important to let it dry well between uses and not to put it into a closed container whilst damp, this way we can avoid mould developing and at the same time prevent it from wearing out too quickly. Also, you can put it in the microwave for a few seconds or into boiling water to disinfect it and remove any bacteria.
2 – Wooden dishwashing brushes
To go along with the loofah scourer, particularly for dirtier surfaces, wooden dishwashing brushes are ideal. There are various types with different shapes and hardness for every use (plates, glasses, pots…). They are manufactured from natural and organic materials, and with some models you can even replace the head and reuse the handle.
Our tip: Being wooden, it is really important that they dry completely between uses. Ideally hang them or store them with their bristles facing downwards on a metal rack in a well ventilated spot. Like the loofah scourer, you can put them in boiling water every now and then to eliminate bacteria.
3 – Copper scourers
Lastly, for very dirty surfaces and encrusted stains, one of the products we like a lot is the copper scourer. It is very gentle on surfaces (as long as we don’t apply too much force) and it removes all the encrusted food from our pots, pans and serving dishes. Copper is also a hygienic material due to its antibacterial properties.
Our tip: To clean the copper scourer you can put it in the washing machine.