sustainability in the home

eco-friendly plant based sponges made out cellulose resting on a wooden cutting board next to a small aloe plant

Can I just say – I’m having the best time putting this series together. I feel like I’m becoming a better human through it, like there’s a fire in belly and now I’m going balls to the f–king walls redoing my life. It’s a new passion, what can I say.

Now I want to make eco-friendly gift baskets of this stuff for everyone in my life – a “starter kit” for a sustainable lifestyle. Or just tools to help them keep going with theirs. I’m thinking some produce bags, a cute canvas bag or two, bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straws, a pretty tea towel, some new sponges.

Consider this a Home Series part 1. There are a crazy amount of sustainable practices to can take in your home, and these are just a few of the things we’re doing in ours now. I’ve got more plans for the future and things to try. There will be updates.

close up view of eco-friendly plant based sponges made out cellulose resting on a wooden cutting board next to a small aloe plant

in the kitchen

It blows my mind that these aren’t more mainstream than they are now. Am I missing something? I’m like a little kid in a candy store around this stuff. I just found these a few weeks ago hidden on the very bottom shelf and involuntarily did a little happy dance in the aisle. Sponges are something I was always worried about replacing in the name of sustainability. I go through so many in my kitchen and the idea of using a wet, flimsy, washcloth to do my dishes with never sounded appealing or effective. Then I found these and I feel like my dopamine levels will remain peaked for about another week until the high fades out.

They look almost like a normal plastic sponge, except here’s the kicker: they’re completely plant-based. Made 100% off cellulose and loofah, which means they will decompose once I’m through with them. Genius. No chemical dyes. No artificial colors, no glue (they’re hand sewn). I put them to the test, and they passed with flying colors. If you were to close your eyes you couldn’t even tell the difference. They don’t scratch my glasses, which I was worried about. They’re durable, tough on dirt, easy to use, plus they’re pretty, aesthetically. Not gonna lie that makes me happy.

How are these not more common?? They act just like a regular sponge, minus the environmental impact and chemicals. You don’t sacrifice anything by choosing these. $2 each, which is a few cents more than Scotch Brite. Visit your local health store to support your community, but if they don’t have them, find some here. Their website has a ton of other sponge options if these particular ones don’t work for you.

young woman holding up a variety of tea towels with different designs on them

I’ve found an un-relenting love for tea towels through this process. Our local store, Healthy Living has the best ones and they’re always front and center when you walk in the door. Which makes them unimaginably hard for me to resist. I mean I only have three. But I see this becoming an exponential problem.

I’ve set a goal for myself to completely replace the need for paper towels in our household by this time next year. A hefty goal, I know. Trying to break our long-instilled habits of reaching for a quick paper towel to clean up a mess will be a new challenge. Little spill? Tea towel. Drying a dish? Paper towel tea towel.

They’ll get dirty fast, but maybe that’ll be our excuse to finally stay on top of our laundry.

There are tons of other uses for these babies too –

– as potholders or trivets

– napkins/placeholders

– keeping breads and other foods warm from the oven (just cover/wrap – we use them to line our break baskets)

– storing greens or herbs in the fridge

– steaming foods (just create a tight seal on your pot – you can make the fluffiest rice by doing this)

– wrap a gift with one. Sounds cute.

eco-friendly and sustainable bamboo toothbrushes with black bristles

in the powder room

Toothbrushes. Often things we buy without thinking, about every 3 months or so. That’s four plastic toothbrushes a year, per person. There’s 8 billion people on this planet. I’ll let you do the math.

This was the easiest switch of all – bamboo toothbrushes. Fun fact: Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world, which makes it a WONDERFUL renewable resource and replacement for disposable plastic products we use everyday. Some bristles are made of nylon so they’re not perfect, but they’re still better than the ones that end up in our landfills every day. 100% biodegradable options are out there too (linked below).

Worried about mixing them up? Most manufactures number these so that doesn’t happen. Don’t worry about swapping spit with your roommate.

We got these off Amazon, which is on my sh-t list right now for reasons like fair worker’s rights, but you can find them at countless other health stores or online too. I’m going to be purchasing from here or here next – about $3 each. So much cheaper than plastic toothbrushes – save your dollars!

To get real one more time – the worldwide use of plastic toothbrushes cannot sustainably continue…they will never biodegrade and our oceans are filled with them. Making this switch is the easiest way to start making a difference right now – plus it’s so much less expensive and won’t disrupt your normal routine. Win-win.

Side note: I have plans to start experimenting with making our own toothpaste at home, because there’s a lot of plastic packaging that can be avoided that way. Should be fun! I’ll definitely screw up. Write about it later.

variety of colorful bar soaps such as pacha and river soap company in the sunlight amongst greenery

Can I be honest? My whole life I have been anti-bar soap. I couldn’t really tell you why. Just never liked them. Then I found Pacha soap, these little bars of beauty, and suddenly I’m buying them for gifts and looking forward to my showers more than ever.

Guys. These smell so good.

My main focus was reducing the plastic packaging in my shower routine. The easiest place to start was with our body soap since alternatives out there are more common and accessible. I started with Pacha, but it can be a little pricey and I found that a bar didn’t last a super long time. Still love them – but I’ve found more bang for my buck with River Soap Company, about half the price and they last twice as long. There’s a lot of options out there and no matter the company, most are infused with essential oils and natural ingredients that hydrate skin and leave it feeling refreshed and nourished – not the usual tight and dry.

You’ll also only need so little to get a good lather. I never looked forward to using body wash because I felt like I couldn’t get a good wash unless I used boatloads of product which just felt – you guessed it – wasteful. But using these bar soaps is the opposite, and it’s like a little pamper-me moment now. I can’t see myself going back.

That’s it for this session.

Stay tuned for more ideas – I have lots on my radar, and now that this has become a full-on obsession of mine they’ll be coming at you HOT. I’m excited to keep this series going and learn more about how I can reduce my environmental impact. Trying to take less from the limited resources of our planet and protect the ones we have. I feel like there’s a piece of me that can exist more peacefully because of it.


oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message I’d love to be in touch!

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