Harvested loofahs hung to dry

3 May 2021

To reduce plastic waste, National Trust organizes loofah grow-along

As nurseries and garden centers will happily attest, people flocked to their gardens last year, and droves of new gardeners started growing vegetables and flowers. Now, the National Trust is encouraging them to grow something different: their own sponges.

A member of the cucumber family, Luffa cylindrica bears fruit that turns highly fibrous if left to fully ripen. After the fruit's skin, flesh and seeds have been removed, it can be dried and used as a durable bath or kitchen sponge. Unlike plastic sponges, loofahs are biodegradable and can be composted when they're worn out.

The idea for a grow-along stemmed from gardeners at Knightshayes — a Victorian country house in Devon — experimenting with growing their own kitchen sponges back in 2019. Their team will now be sharing loofah growing advice on the National Trust's social media channels (@NationalTrust) throughout the season, all the way through to harvesting in November.

As a guardian of natural spaces across Britain, the National Trust is all too familiar with plastic pollution, so getting its garden-loving audience to use less plastic makes sense. How can your organization share in-house knowledge to nudge consumers in a greener direction?

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