Producing less polluting rubbish in the world is one of the few things we can personally do to make things better. I have always used synthetic sponges from the supermarket to clean tea cups and sinks, but feel increasingly bad about throwing them away when they are used up, as they are not recyclable.
Turns out you can use cut up loofahs to do the same job and then put the used up sections in the compost bin. Better still, you can even grow the loofah in your own garden from seed! No transport, manufacture or disposal pollution at all!
I crossed the Luwangwa river into Mozambique from Zambia some years ago. It was just a river bank above the big muddy river, but we all got out of the little boat, just to say we had landed in Mozambique . A vine was scrambling over the low bushes and the vine was loaded in long fruit. I was intrigued, pulled a few off and realised that this was a real loofah plant. The centre of the fruit is the light, slightly abrasive skeleton that we know from bathrooms and the once the peel is removed I had two perfect loofahs that I used in my own bathroom for years.
This is how I know what a loofah plant looks like, but I only just found out that you don’t have to be in Africa to grow them. They are easy to grow from seed even in Britain and the National Trust now only uses its home grown loofahs to wash up all those tea cups. My next task is to buy some loofah seeds and to plant them this spring.
I promise to tell you how they grow!!