We are all aware of the drain on earth's resources but maybe we don't see it in relation to our everyday activities. Take cleaning for example. How often do we consider the environmental impact of single use cleaning products?
Our forests are in crisis. Nearly half of all global forests are under threat of deforestation and forest degradation, which represents a major risk to global climate, biodiversity, water, people, and businesses who depend on healthy forests. (1)
Part of the goal in reducing waste is to choose quality over quantity.
Recently I received a box of cleaning products to try from NatureZway, including cleaning cloths, floor wipes, bamboo toilet paper, scrub brushes, and compostable waste bags. Another product that I have been using from NatureZway is the (not paper) towels. These reusable towels are made from bamboo – and not the kind panda's eat! Each one can be used up tens of times, according to the package up to one hundred times.
What makes bamboo better than trees for cleaning products?
Bamboo is a super fast-growing, renewable, and easy-to-grow grass that requires zero chemicals and pesticides. There are 91 genera and about 1,000 species of bamboo. Bamboo grows in colonies and does not require replanting. The Guinness Book of World Records awards Bamboo as the fastest growing plant on earth, with some species growing 35 inches per day.
Bamboo growth also contributes to cleaner air as it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than an equivalent stand of hardwood trees.
Bamboo cleans the air, but what about counters
At some point after I received these bamboo cleaning products, I had a coffee spill. I haven't kept “paper” towels in my home for a number of years. Intending to put the towels to the test, I cleaned up the coffee with one, rinsed it out, and hung it to dry. To my surprise, it came clean. (Listen to the podcast or watch the video to hear what Japanese do to test it out!)
On to more challenging tests…
After making some paprika chicken in my iron skillet, I wiped out the pan with one of the bamboo towels, rinsed and hung to dry. No problem. If you've ever wiped out an iron skillet, you'll understand why I'm impressed.
Soap and Reusable Towels for Cleaning instead of Disposable Disinfectant Wipes
I'll never forget the first time I saw someone using a disposable disinfectant wipe. The person cleaning used about four or five of these disposable wipes to clean the kitchen counters after a regular meal.
The package indicates that they are disinfecting wipes. Even back then, I remember thinking how odd it was to use a disinfectant since no one was sick. More odd was that it was disposable. That incident occurred many years ago, and now using disinfecting wipes for everyday cleaning is the norm.
According to the instruction on the back of the plastic tube, the surface must remain wet for 10 minutes to disinfect. So, I'm not sure people are using these properly. Most of the time, I see people using these with their bare hands. The container says to rinse hands and surfaces after use. Why? Because the EPA classifies disinfectants as pesticides.
Sadly, these cloths are made from synthetic materials and are not biodegradable. Now when kids start school each year, teachers ask for them along with the other school supplies such as paper and pencils. Using these disposable disinfectant wipes for everyday clean up is completely unnecessary.
At the very least, antibiotic wipes do not appear to help us and, it may be that they are actually hurting us. Scientists Discover That Antimicrobial Wipes and Soaps May Be Making You (and Society) Sick. Another problem is that disinfecting wipes include some toxic ingredients, such as quaternary ammonium compounds – or “quats” – which can cause asthma, allergies and irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs, one more indoor air pollutant you can avoid.
Why not just go ahead and use soap and water? Isn't it just as good?
“There's no data demonstrating that these drugs [in the disinfectant wipes] provide additional protection from diseases and infections. Using these products might give people a false sense of security,” Michele says. “If you use these products because you think they protect you more than soap and water, that's not correct.”
Reusable, all purpose cleaning clothes like these from NatureZway work perfectly and I have zero guilt because I'm not throwing away hundreds of disposable wipes every day. For cleaning I use soap and water, sometimes a few drops of tea tree oil. For disinfecting, I use Hydrogen Peroxide or White Vinegar.
Keeping the kitchen clean in an eco-friendly way
The eco-friendly scrub brushes from NatureZway work perfectly with my zero waste dish soap. All the NatureZway brush handles consist of natural bamboo, and the bristles are Tampico Fiber. To clean my dishes, pots, and pans, I rub the brush on my soap block (which is vegan and cruelty-free) and scrub away!
NatureZway also has a bamboo sponge if you prefer to use one instead of a brush.
Vegetable Scrubbing Brush
For cleaning vegetables, I fill my sink full of water, add a splash of white vinegar to soak the veggies. After about ten minutes, I scrub the veggies with the Tampico fiber brush. Give them a rinse and you're good to go.
Compostable Waste Bags
Another product from NatureZway that blew my mind is the compostable waste bags. Keeping food waste out of the landfill is probably one of the easiest ways you can do something good for the environment. Easier than remembering your reusable bag when you go grocery shopping.
Keep a waste can in your kitchen lined with a compostable liner. Use this lined can to collect food scraps, dryer lint, toothpicks, coffee grounds, eggshells, and anything else that is compostable. This bag can later be carried to your local composting facility or put in your backyard compost bin.
Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up about 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Source
Creating compost is as valuable as it is variable. There are many ways to break down organic matter. Dirty Dozen: 12 TOP Composting Methods [Pros, Cons & Costs] Make sure you are subscribed to A Healthy Bite for more environmentally friendly interviews like this one in the near future.
Eco-friendly pet products
Did you know that the pet population is near being equal to that of the human population? Now stop to consider all those responsible dog owners picking up dog poo in plastic bags and chunking them in the waste bin. Many environmentalists say flushing dog waste is the best alternative. This was a new one on me when Sean mentioned it in our interview!
NatureZway pet waste bags are flushable and will break down in water. They are made from a water soluble, eco-friendly alternative to plastic which is 100% BPI certified compostable. Check locally for industrial compost facilities that accept pet waste. If you do in fact flush your dog waste down the loo, it is best not to tie or knot the bag before flushing.
You can expect a full report outlining on my waste free site about how to deal with dog poo in the near future sparked by this conversation with the Founder of NatureZway.
Meet the Founder of NatureZway – Sean Solouki
Several years ago, Sean Solouki decided that he wanted to make more of an impact on the world. Listen in as he answers some of my questions about NatureZway products, the environment, packaging, and the good things to come.
Be watching for more NatureZway products to come as they recently partnered with Kathy Ireland World Wide in an effort to provide a wide range of environmentally sustainable products for your healthy cleaning pleasure!
First, I know you were on a trip to China but tell me a bit about what inspired you to create these eco-friendly cleaning products?
You make your products with renewable and sustainable materials. What can you tell us about your first product – reusable bamboo towels?
Can you explain to us how bamboo is more eco-friendly and sustainable than other products say like paper or microfiber?
You manufacture these products with bamboo but not the type of bamboo that pandas eat – how did you decide what kind of bamboo to use in your products?
You offer different types of compostable waste bags, can you tell me how do we use these?
How do we use them? So people who are using the compostable dog waste bags – where do they dispose of it?
Compostable trash bags vs. biodegradable bags
You make the cleaning brush product handles from bamboo, and the bristles come from Tampico – what can you tell us about this plant? Why would we choose this over nylon-bristled cleaning brushes?
I noticed your website has the confidence in textiles seal — can you tell us about that?
Where can people find your products?
Do you plan to add other products to your line? I noticed you had business products. Is there a chance that you may start shipping your products without the plastic wrap in the future?
The eco-friendly all purpose cleaning cloths are super absorbent and safe on all surfaces.