You know, when you switch to a zero waste lifestyle, you use all real stuff - like what we talked about in day 6 of the zero waste challenge.
This can mean a lot of dishes. But, when it comes to washing dishes, can you make that zero waste or more eco-friendly? You sure can! And, today, I’m challenging you to wash your dishes the zero waste way!
It’s day twenty of the zero waste challenge! We’re basically a third of the way through, and we’ll be transitioning to some more advance stuff next week.
Today we’re talking about another lifestyle change - washing dishes!
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The biggest problems when it comes to washing dishes is wasting water, sponges are nasty, and of course not washing dishes and opting for disposable products instead.
A lot of people ask me if it’s more eco-friendly to toss a plate them it is to actually wash one? But, that fails to account for the water used in manufacturing the paper products. Paper products are notoriously thirsty, so it’s alway better to wash a dish and reuse it over and over again.
Let’s get straight into all of the solutions to turn your dishwashing into a green, clean machine! And, don’t forget to check out day 9 of the zero waste challenge: zero waste cleaning! I share all of my favorite zero waste cleaning recipes.
When choosing a dish soap, you want to make sure that you’re opting for a biodegradable soap! The problem with conventional soaps is they can contain toxic chemicals that can harm our health and marine life.
When our water is treated, it’s difficult to remove all of the toxins, so by opting for a biodegradable soap, you won’t have to worry about it.
The ingredients that I would actively avoid would be fragrance, colorant, chlorine, formaldehyde, and ammonia. When our dishes are washed (especially in a dishwasher!) these ingredients can linger on our dishes.
For instance, Cascade, the most popular brand of dishwashing detergent, contains bleach. I personally, really wouldn’t want that hanging around on my dishes or drinking glasses….
So, solutions for the soap.
You can of course go the DIY route with ingredients that are easy to find in bulk. Both of my recipes for hand washing and dish washer powder can be found in my book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste!
The hand washing recipe is one of my particular faves!
When it comes to recycling the box, make sure you break the box down. Remove the metal spigot if it has one and then tap any excess powder out. You want to make sure the box is completely clean and then recycle.
There are so many options to replace sponges these days. The main thing I look for is compostability, as a bonus many of the scrub brushes I last on average and entire year. This adds up to massive savings! I’ve listed a few of my favorites below as well as some new one to me.
Several of the links are affiliate links for more information please see my disclosure policy. My favorites are listed in bold.
use less water:
When it comes to saving water, running a full energy star rated dishwasher is more environmentally friendly than washing by hand. You can read more in this Guardian Article.
The average faucet flows at 2.2 gallons of water a minute and on average energy star rated washing machines, use 3-5 gallons of water total to wash an entire load of dishes.
But, I have lived without a dishwasher the majority of my life so understand that’s not an option for everyone.
My recommendation is to put a little bit of water in the base of the sink and to get everything super soapy. Then, after everything has been prepped, just use running water to rinse. And, don’t turn the faucet on full blast! Just use enough to rinse the dishes clean.
take the challenge:
I challenge you to use up all of your current dishwashing materials and then switch over to eco-friendly scrubbers and a biodegradable dish soap.
Switch to dishwashing, if you have one and haven’t been using it or start turning the faucet off while you’re hand washing. This will save water and of course factor into day 11 conserve resources as well.
Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.
I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.
PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.