Seep: plastic-free cleaning
This article contains PR samples and *affiliate links
Look around any kitchen or bathroom, and chances are you'll be surrounded by a sea of microplastics.
Many of these are hiding in plain sight: in your washing-up sponge, bin liners or the micro-fibre cloths you use for dusting.
When objects like these break down, they release microplastics that can end up in the sea. And, as they can't be recycled, once discarded they will remain in landfill for hundreds of years.
Microfibre cloths shed microplastics into the water system every time they're washed...
And those microplastics are going straight into the water system, ending up – you guessed it – in our rivers and seas.
Seep's 100% bamboo alternatives to microfibre cloths can be used again and again. They take significantly less carbon emissions to produce than microfibre cloths, but are just as effective.
Bamboo is considered one of the most sustainable materials available – it's fast growing, regenerates naturally, and uses less water during cultivation than cotton. And while it grows, bamboo absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
These bamboo cloths are biodegradable when disposed of, and no plastic is released as they break down – because they're plastic-free.
The cloths come in three attractive colours – so you can have one for the kitchen, one for the bathroom, and one for dusting. We found them to be soft and pleasant to use – and they were more absorbent than our old microfibre cloths. It's early days to comment on their durability, but – given our experience with Seep's kitchen sponge scourers, see below – we expect they will last for ages.
These Seep sponges are fantastic. We started using them a few months ago and our original sponge is still going strong, even though we use it several times a day.
To avoid this from happening, we need to ditch the plastic and choose natural, biodegradable products instead.
This is where * comes in. Seep stands for Sustainable, Everyday, Essential Products, and the company has produced an eco-friendly alternative to many environment-harming household items that we take for granted.
Seep is a B Corp business – meaning it meets high standards of social and environmental performance, as well as transparency and accountability. So buying Seep products is an ethical choice too.
The company is working towards lowering its carbon footprint, and reports on this annually. For emissions that can't be avoided, Seep offsets carbon through a partnership with reforestation charity – a Swiss non-profit organisation supporting reforestation projects that not only plant trees, but also support local livelihoods and boost biodiversity.
Seep supports a number of other charities too, donating profits and/or products to organisations. These include , an organisation that helps disadvantaged people maintain hygiene at home, and , which redistributes fresh food that can't be sold to charities and schools – so that the most vulnerable people have access to healthy meals.
All Seep products are packed in sustainably sourced packaging that's made with natural inks, and is 100% recyclable. There's information about product care to keep your sponges and cloths lasting as long as possible. And when it is finally time for a new item, after-life care information is given too, so you know how to compost or recycle each product.
So let's take a closer look at some of the sustainable swaps that Seep have made possible.
Microfibre cleaning cloths were once hailed as an eco-friendly alternative to throw-away wipes and paper towels, because they're washable and reusable. But microfibre cloths are made from plastic. And microfibre is arguably one of the worst causes of microplastic pollution – tiny plastic fibres are released not just when the cloths are disposed of, but every time they're washed.
...and standard kitchen sponges like these could remain in landfill for hundreds of years
They're made from materials from 100% renewable sources. One side is soft and spongy, and the other side is made of natural loofah. They're an ideal swap for those yellow and green (or yellow and white) kitchen sponges that almost everyone seems to have next to the kitchen sink.
Lots of people don't realise that that harmless-looking yellow sponge is actually made of plastic. And, as it breaks down, microplastics are shed into the washing-up water – and so end up in waterways.
In contrast, the Seep kitchen sponge is 100% plastic free – and when our sponge eventually needs replacing, we can put it in our compost bin – where it will break down into harmless organic waste.
We use our Seep sponge for scrubbing dishes and wiping surfaces – the loofah side is non-scratch so is safe to use on all pots and pans, including non-stick. We found we only needed a tiny amount of washing-up liquid – and they are every bit as effective as standard kitchen sponges.
The sponge can be popped in the dishwasher, so will stay fresh. And they just feel much nicer to use than their plastic counterparts.
These plastic-free sponges are made in the UK from 100% sustainably sourced cellulose wood pulp. Ideal for wiping up spills, and other general cleaning tasks, they're durable and absorbent.
Because it starts out flat, lightweight and paper-thin – and then magically transforms into a plump sponge when run under water – it's ideal for travelling and camping trips.
At the end of its life, the sponge can be added to the compost heap to break down naturally.
To clean greasy pans and baked on food residues, you may need a tougher tool than Seep's sponge scourers. So these copper scourers are great for keeping to hand for hard-to-clean items.
Made from recyclable copper, and completely plastic free, they are resistant to rust and corrosion and should last for ages. They're also naturally anti-bacterial to keep your kitchen hygenic.
We highly recommend Seep products if you want to make a switch to more sustainable products, or are working towards a plastic-free lifestyle.
While the initial cost of some of these cleaning supplies may be a little higher than the standard items you find in the supermarket, we think spending a bit more pays off. For the extra cost, you're getting a more durable natural product that's ethical and eco-friendly – and you can get on with household tasks safe in the knowledge that you're not adding to the serious problem of ocean plastic pollution.