Being ecological and sustainable is not just about what we buy and use but also about the waste we generate. Continuing with the previous post, let’s see what we generate and how to make it eco friendly or as eco friendly as possible. Ready, Steady….
What else goes to make grey water in our homes?
Wastewater from your dishwasher and dishwashing: Shall we make a list of all that goes into washing dishes, be it from hand washing or by using a dishwasher? Here we go: dish soap/gel/tablets, glass brightener, dish rinse, dishwasher salt, dishwasher cleaner…ARGH!!!! That’s quite a barrage of products that go into not just washing dishes but then down the drain! Oh My!
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just cut on needless, chemical products?
Some of the basic ingredients in dish soap include surfactants, preservatives, fragrance, color as well as active or inactive ingredients. This site has some eye popping info on the chemicals and their effect on our body. One particular chemical is worrying for its environmental effect:
Triclosan:It is found in most liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.” It is an aggressive antibacterial agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Studies have now found dangerous concentrations of triclosan in rivers and streams, where it is toxic to algae. Read all about it here.
So, what can we do?
- Use simple detergents and soaps with short ingredient lists,
- Avoid antibacterial products with triclosan for home use. See the Environmental Working Group’s site ,
- Don’t go crazy buying needless products!
- Use simple liquid castile soap,
- Make your own!
Dishwashing and Dishwasher powder/liquid
Recipe 1: The Dishwasher powder
- 1 cup borax
- 1 cup washing soda
- ½ cup citric acid
- ½ cup salt (for the scrubbing action)
Mix all the ingredients in the container and use 1 Tbsp per load.
- About 500gms of soap flakes
- 4.5 litres of water
Put everything in a pot and heat over medium until the liquid begins to boil. Keep stirring until all the soap has melted and then lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes. Let it cool and then pour into your chosen container. It takes only about a teaspoon of the liquid for each sink full of hot water.
Dishwasher Rinse and Cleaner:
- Use vinegar as a rinse by filling the dishwasher compartment with it.
- Once in a while, run an empty dishwasher with vinegar: It’s the same concept as running a vinegarload in your washing machine. You simply toss a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of an empty dishwasher and run a normal cycle. It cleans out old food particles to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh
- The best way to avoid discharging tons of salt into the sewers is to replace existing traditional salt-based water softeners with newer salt-free water softeners. Catalytic-conversion media can be used to neutralize calcium and magnesium and reduce scale buildup.
I checked out the website of a very famous brand many people use and there was no mention of the composition of their scrub/scourer/sponge. I went on a livechat with one of their agents and was eventually told that they are made of aluminium oxide and plastic. Ugh. So what do I recommend? Happily, there are many options:
- Wire wool! See a comparative with the above here. It ain’t my favourite but sparing use will guaranty a long life.
- I use a wooden brush wth natural bristles to scrub the worst away.
- I usually have a small collection of loofahs or luffas – most people use them as a body scrub but they serve perfectly well to scrub dishes too. They are the dried out, fibrous husk of a very edible asian gourd.
- An alternative for those of you who shy away from unfamiliar things is the eco sponge-scourer, made from recycled plastic, walnut shells and cellulose – looks exactly like its unfriendly cousin.
- For more ideas, look here