More environmentally friendly kitchen scrub options
Most kitchen sponges or scrubbing items are made of oddly shaped plastic, a combination of soft and hard plastics, or a combination of different materials which make them difficult to separate and/or recycle. Unless you are going to purchase the TerraCycle Kitchen Separation Zero Waste Box most of these items probably go in the trash.
There are more environmentally friendly options that can be composted and recycled.
This bottle brush is made of untreated wood and metal. If you are willing to use pliers to pull the coconut fibers (also called coir) out of the wire, and pull the wire out of the handle, the coconut scrub fibers and handle can be composted. I ordered this brush, but stores like Central Market and Wheatsville Co-op carry similar products.
The metal scrubber shown here can be recycled at the Scrap Metal station at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center. Bang it on the sink to get as much food out as you can. The rest will be melted out.
Any all-metal scrubber: steel, copper, etc. available in all kitchen aisles can be recycled at the Scrap Metal station. The plastic bag the scrubber comes in can be recycled at a store’s bag recycling station.
This wooden scrub brush is made of untreated wood and natural union fibers (a combination of fibers from palm, agave and yucca plants). It’s 100% compostable. Similar versions and brands are available at many stores. Some versions even have a replaceable head that attaches to a handle reducing the amount of wood used.
I find the metal scrubber works better on my GreenPans and the wooden scrubber works better cleaning the sink. I can’t seem to get the right angle with the wooden scrubber to get sufficient contact with the pans’ surface to clean well.
Natural sponges are not going to hold up well in the kitchen due to their former natural state.
It was actually a bit difficult to find comparisons on if metal scrubbers and brushes were more hygienic than sponges and dishcloths. This post from apartment therapy seems to support the possibility that they are more hygienic because the moist warm environment is lacking on metal scrubbers and all types of brushes.