9 Eco-Friendly Sponges – Biodegradable Alternatives You’ll Love
Why should you switch to eco-friendly sponges?
More like, why wouldn’t you switch to eco friendly sponges!
Considering off-the-shelf sponges are typically made of polyester and polyurethane (i.e. types of plastic) and have awful recycling rates (if they are indeed recyclable because they often need to be treated by a third party like Terracycle), it’s a no-brainer.
The waste to landfill impact must simply be enormous.
By instead cleaning up with compostable or biodegradable sponges (and loofah alternatives), we’re reducing fossil fuel consumption with something that can be responsibly returned to the earth at the end of its life.
So, which sponges are eco friendly?
For standard spills and dish stains, Zero Waste Outlet has three green, gentle and tough on grime eco sponges.
Public Goods’ natural sustainable sea sponges feel luxurious and have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
For something that was never living (but keeps our planet alive), Zero Waste Club’s coconut scour pads are zero waste sponges designed for the toughest scrub jobs.
Before reading more about how to wipe away dirt (without wiping out our planet), head to the end of the article to read more on our considerations.
*This post contains affiliate links
QUICK LINKS FOR THE BEST ECO-FRIENDLY SPONGES
1. ZERO WASTE OUTLET
Zero Waste Outlet’s Eco Friendly Sponge Alternatives
Sponges, brushes, scrubbers, and loofahs galore: Zero Waste Outlet stocks all your cleaning desirables.
Their Biodegradable Plastic-Free Cellulose Sponges are made with natural wood pulp and plant cellulose.
The 100% natural loofah Eco Dish Washing Sponge is good for regular dishwashing, while the Dual-Sided Eco-Sponge combines coarse cellulose and loofah to get rid of caked-on food.
These eco friendly kitchen sponges will last as long as that plastic sponge in your shower, they can be composted and won’t leach microplastics.
They can also be disinfected in the microwave or a pot of boiling water for extended use.
About Zero Waste Outlet
Zero Waste Outlet is one of our favorite zero waste online stores creating eco-conscious consumables.
Their selection covers everything from plastic free food storage containers to laundry soap.
Products are shipped in minimal, eco-friendly packaging.
Practicality and affordability are the main focus of the family-owned and operated business—which is also run from a rural 5-acre farm in Idaho.
Available: Zero Waste Outlet
2. ZERO WASTE CLUB
Zero Waste Club’s Eco Friendly Dish Sponges
The Zero Waste Club keeps it simple with two biodegradable eco sponges.
Their more conventional zero waste sponge is made from 100% wood pulp and capable of absorbing 10x their weight in liquid.
For hard grease and stuck-on food residue, the coconut kitchen scourers are made from waste coconut coir and natural rubber latex.
Both can be tossed in your indoor compost bin after use, buried underground to decompose, or sent to a commercial composting facility.
Like everything else, the sponges are sent in recycled kraft packaging printed with soy ink.
About Zero Waste Club
Zero Waste Club wants to make eco-alternatives your number one choice.
Everything they sell is cruelty-free, plastic-free, and made ethically and sustainably.
The UK-based company pays above the minimum wage, supports workers’ rights, and keeps supply chain practices transparent.
They also plant a tree for every product you buy and have offset ~100,000 pieces of single-use products from entering the environment.
3. FULL CIRCLE HOME
Full Circle Home’s Eco Friendly Reusable Sponges
The best eco friendly sponges from Full Circle Home include the Suds Up reusable handled dish sponges and walnut scrubbers made with real walnut shells.
Their latex scour pads are plastic, but 100% recycled.
If you prefer dish clothes to sponges, they also carry Swedish dishcloths and Kind organic cotton dishcloths. The latter we’ve used in lieu of paper towels for over a year—and they’re still going strong!
All brushes, sponges, cloths, and scrubbers are designed for long lives, to have replaceable parts, or to compost.
About Full Circle Home
A Certified B Corp, Full Circle Home is committed to better alternatives for everyday essentials like eco friendly mops and plastic free lunch bags.
By the end of this year, they’ll have plastic-free packaging and by 2025, the only plastic they use will be recycled.
In the meantime, they’re a Plastic Neutral Company, working with Plastic Bank to remove the same amount of waste from oceans and waterways for every piece they use.
4. PUBLIC GOODS
Public Goods’ Natural Sustainable Sponges
Public Goods’ antibacterial and antifungal Natural Sea Sponge is gentle enough for your baby (if you have one!) and our planet.
These living biodegradable sponges are sustainably sourced from Greece.
For eco-conscious dish sponge replacements, the Walnut Scrubber Sponge combines a natural vegetable cellulose sponge with a walnut-based abrasive side.
If you want an all-purpose washing up solution, the 100% natural agave Ayate Washcloth offers a sustainable way to scrub bathrooms and bodies alike.
About Public Goods
With toxic-free products made from wholesome, clearly-labeled ingredients, Public Goods is an ideal source for worry-free grocery, household, and personal care shopping.
For packaging, they use sugarcane bottles, tree-free paper products, and biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastic.
All your orders will be shipped carbon free (via offsets) and packed in 100% recycled packaging.
On top of planting a tree for every order, they regularly donate to local food banks and organizations like Feeding America.
Available: Public Goods
5. NASH AND JONES
Nash and Jones’ Eco Friendly Shower Sponges
For luxurious eco friendly bath sponges, Nash and Jones offers two alternatives.
Their Agave Exfoliating Cloth softens and gently exfoliates skin. You can machine wash this 100% agave fiber cloth.
The Silk Sea Sponge is more a buffer which has minerals naturally contained in sea sponges.
Theirs are harvested off the coast of the Philippines. Divers hand cut each one to ensure at least an inch of the root plant remains to properly regenerate.
The sustainable sea sponge can be soaked in a baking soda/water solution to refresh it. At the end of its life, it can be composted.
About Nash and Jones
Love is at the heart of Nash and Jones, the family-owned brand that recognizes that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in them.
Their range of plant-based personal care products is free of preservatives, petroleum, dyes, fillers, and perfumes.
They’re also cruelty free and use plastic-free packaging designed for reuse or recycling.
6. GROVE COLLABORATIVE
Grove Collaborative’s Eco Friendly Cleaning Sponges
Grove Collaborative creates an eco friendly sponge or sponge alternative for your every need.
Cellulose appears to be the main material in all options, along with coconut and walnut scrubbing components.
They’ve also got cellulose and cotton-based European Dish Cloths and a cellulose Glassware Cleaner cloth.
About Grove Collaborative
From zero waste hand soap to laundry soap, Grove Collaborative has your back with their range of eco friendly cleaning products for pets, personal care, and beauty.
Besides their own line of products made in the USA, their vast selection also includes top eco-brands like Dr. Bronner’s, Mrs. Meyer’s, and Seventh Generation.
The company will be plastic-free by 2025 and is currently Plastic Neutral, an EPA Safer Choice recipient, and a Certified B Corp.
Available: Grove Collaborative
7. MARLEY’S MONSTERS
Marley’s Monsters’ Alternatives to Eco Friendly Sponges
Marley’s Monsters is probably most well-known for their organic cotton reusable UNpaper Towel (and their similar zero waste toilet paper).
When messes are too much for reusable paper towels, they offer two eco washable sponges.
The base model is made with cotton, a polyester mesh for scrubbing, and recycled filling.
The Chenille washable sponges are made with the same recycled filling with softer 100% cotton outers that would also make them suitable as eco friendly body sponges.
Both are mildew resistant and can be tossed in the dishwasher or washing machine for regular disinfecting.
These sponges are not compostable or plastic free though.
About Marley’s Monsters
Hailing from Eugene, Oregon, a focus on reusability defines all of Marley’s Monsters’ products.
With goods for home and living, baby and mama, kitchen and dining, and bath and beauty, they’re a one-stop-shop for your wipes, cloths, towels, sponges, dusters, and more.
Everything is shipped plastic-free.
Seep’s Sustainable Sponges
As far as biodegradable sponges go, Seep’s got a few options, like the Eco Cellulose Sponge made of just 100% loofah.
For scourers, they have a Recyclable Copper Scourer and Eco Kitchen Sponge with Scourer, which combines cellulose with a loofah scour layer.
Aside from the copper scourer, the sponges are home compostable and are either machine washable for extended use, or designed to last at least a month.
While they do have a loofah-based Eco Washing Up Cloth, it contains some polyester (so not compostable or plastic-free).
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice a quality clean for a planet friendly product.
With Seep—the first Certified B Corp for household cleaning tools in the UK—you don’t have to.
They embrace circularity to provide cleaning products made from renewable, sustainable materials.
Through carbon offsets that account for an impressive 3x their impact, Seep is Climate Positive.
The packaging they use is sustainably-sourced and recyclable.
Blueland’s Eco Friendly Washing Up Sponges
Made without glues and adhesives, petrochemicals, and plastic, Blueland’s eco friendly sponges for dishes get the job done—with a clean conscience.
The Cloud Cloth is made with water-based inks, FSC-certified cellulose, and 100% cotton fibers.
The dehydrated Pop-Up Sponges are made from FSC-certified cellulose, and the Scrub Sponge with an additional plastic free loofah layer, sewn together with cotton thread.
For a selection of all three, you can check out their Cleaning Companions Pack.
Blueland specializes in sustainable laundry, dish and hand soap, and accessories to go with them.
Everything is made with conscious and scientifically backed ingredients that actually clean.
As a zero waste refill store, customers buy a bottle once, and then refill it forever.
Since the woman-owned company got its start in 2019, they’ve eliminated the purchase of over 1 billion plastic bottles.
They’re also Cradle to Cradle Certified, EPA Safer Choice Certified, Climate Neutral Certified, Leaping Bunny Certified, and a Certified B Corp.
HOW WE FOUND BIODEGRADABLE SPONGES
We considered the following criteria when deciding which are the best eco friendly sponges:
Wood pulp, vegetable cellulose, agave, walnut shells, coconut coir, natural latex, and loofah are the main materials found in biodegradable cleaning sponges.
In other words: natural, plant-based ones.
If they can naturally break down instead of releasing dangerous microplastics as they linger in landfills, that’s a better clean.
But there’s another type of sponge that puts new meaning to the word “natural”: actual living sea sponges.
So, are sea sponges sustainable?
They are living organisms that have the ability to renew their growth, provided they’re sustainably harvested and cut in such a way that allows them to continue to grow post-harvest.
While not sentient (they have no nervous system), they are still multicellular animals and thus technically not vegan friendly.
Also keep in mind though that they play a role in their ecosystem and are under threat from human influence, global warming, and over-harvesting.
If you opt for the natural sea sponge route, we highly encourage you to buy only those that are sustainably harvested and be mindful to make these last as long as possible.
- Certifications: FSC
Supply Chain & Labor Practices:
Certified B Corp is often regarded as the gold standard for supply chain audits, so we love seeing that word several times on this list.
Beyond third-party certifications, we look for mention of transparent supply chains, above-minimum wages, and supportive working conditions.
Green Business Practices:
Plastic free packaging, plastic neutrality, and carbon offsets make for even better biodegradable sponge alternatives.
Community & Charitable Giving:
Sparkling clean business practices include community donations and tree plantings.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUSTAINABLE SPONGES
Recap – are kitchen sponges biodegradable?
In most cases, no.
Sponges used by the average household can remain in landfills for more than 52,000 years!
Eco friendly sponges are therefore a crucial zero waste kitchen swap we can all take advantage of.
And chances are, we all have sponges lingering around (be sure to use these up first), but before they get slimy, share this article with friends and family to help freshen up their cleaning routine.