Gone, gone, gone

For the first time in the history of this blog I have removed a post – well two actually.

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Organic cotton bath puff

Many moons ago I was interested in environmentally friendly alternatives to nylon bath puffs (scrubbies). I wrote a number of posts on the subject and explored a range of fibres to use. At the time, I was delighted to discover how well reclaimed acrylic yarn worked and I wrote a post about it. At the time, and with the information I had to hand, it seemed like a great way to use something that would otherwise simply be thrown out (yarn unravelled from old knitwear). Now, it turns out it was not such a good idea. Just like making fleece fabrics from recycled plastic bottles, which we all thought at the time was a great way to use waste, new information has made me think again. Using manmade fibres in bath puffs will add to microfibre contamination of water unless there is a fine filter on the bath/shower outlet, which seems unlikely. So, the two posts that mentioned using acrylic yarn for this purpose have been removed to prevent encouraging anyone else to try it.

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Soap and a flannel (the latter made by a friend)

It’s still easy enough to make bath puffs or cloths with natural fibres – cotton, hemp, nettle, or even wool, depending on the texture you desire. However, I like Kate‘s recent suggestion (see the comments in this post) about using loofahs if you want something with a rougher texture for washing yourself or your pots. If I spot some seeds, I may well have a go at growing my own – now that really would be a green solution. However, since starting to use bar soap, I’ve had no need for a bath puff. My favourite soap to use after swimming (ginger and lime) has little bits of ground ginger root in it and these provide all the exfoliation I need – naturally and biodegradably. I have also made myself (or been gifted) several cotton wash cloths/flannels and these are especially useful when travelling or when water is limited.

The moral of the story is that we do the best we can with the knowledge that we have at any given time, but that it’s important not to get stuck in a rut (or get defensive) and to make changes when new information comes to light. Have you had to revise your thinking on anything recently?

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33 Comments

  1. This post reminds me about the recently discovered — and very poorly publicized, since I assume a significant number of clothing/home goods/home appliance companies do not want to spread the word very swiftly — downside to fleece. (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/20/microfibers-plastic-pollution-oceans-patagonia-synthetic-clothes-microbeads) We human beings are very quick to innovate/invent/market without pausing very long to consider possible consequences. Hurrah for thoughtful bloggers like you and thoughtful blog posts like this one!

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  2. For anyone reading this in Australia, you can get loofah (luffa) seeds here:
    https://www.edenseeds.com.au/?name=Product-Info-Seeds&product=luffa-luffa
    They’re not too tricky to grow here, but need a bit of cosseting in a cooler climate.

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  3. doodletllc

     /  January 30, 2018

    Fascinating. I had no idea which, evidently, is the goal of the world of plastics. Thank you for your insight. I am making a change.

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  4. Well done Jan! I find I’m constantly updating my knowledge base – what is declared valid today may very well be invalid tomorrow!! But still I didn’t know loofahs grew from seed!! 😀

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  5. I went and read that article and now I don’t fancy eating fish any more. I have a friend who isn’t a vegetarian but won’t eat fish partly because of this sort of thing and partly because her cousin has a funeral company which specialises in burying people at sea! Too much information?
    Let us know about your loofahs 🙂

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  6. Interesting post! X x

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  7. Good for you. Thanks for doing all you can to help us all.

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  8. I think more people should revise their opinions when they get new information. I do it pretty frequently. Good for you. I think I’ll keep eating fish, though…

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  9. Have I had to revise my thinking on anything recently….? !!! Where to start?! 🙂

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  10. Yes, on several fronts. My change of mind on fleece is mainly due to you, and I am grateful for that. It’s getting so difficult to know what is safe and beneficial to do or use or even eat. I try to not think about the big picture too often, but stay focused on doing what small things I can. I will be using my remaining acrylic yarn to make things like bags and baskets which won’t be washed often, if at all. I do wish wool was more affordable; I love working with it. I am planning to ask my youngest son to make me some spindles once I’m settled again. He does pretty awesome work! Thanks for all the information, Jan. It’s such a valuable service that you provide.

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  11. The thing that is totally confusing me at the moment is the diesel vs petrol debate and air quality. If asked I would have thought loofahs were like natural sponges, and grew under water. Look forward to your experiment.

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    • We have a tiny petrol car and a bigger diesel (for transporting dogs and other stuff). We’d love to have an electric car, but living in such a rural situation there are issues with range and availability of charging points. For the moment we have decided just to keep what we’ve got and try to minimise use of either – after all, scrapping a car and replacing it with a new one is going to have a much bigger impact than keeping what we have (both are relatively new and well maintained).
      I think I’m going to grow loofahs instead of melons this year.

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  12. I did know about the acrylic fibres – which is why I always aim to knit with wool. (I’m also keen to find the best wool to make socks without nylon.) Never thought about growing my own loofahs though – what fun, as well as being environment friendly. Will go check out ebay. Thank you.

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    • Sock yarn is the only yarn that I buy that contains manmade fibres and I wash all my socks with Eucalan and filter the water so that no fibres escape. I have tried a number of sock yarns that claim to be hard-wearing without mmf, but have not been impressed with the performance of any long-term. If you do find a good one I’d be delighted to hear about it.

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