Non-organic fruit and veg

Which ones should you choose?

When out shopping it’s always a good idea to pick organic fruit and veg, best if produced locally and in season. But what about non-organic fruit and veg? Jon recently came across some interesting information that a student gave him. It was about ‘the clean fifteen and the dirty dozen’. Some fruit and veg contain more pesticides than others so they could have an adverse effect on your health. Therefore, if you are on a budget and can’t always buy organic then this can be a good guide.

Photo by John Lambeth from Pexels

So, with these lists you can see which fruit and veg are most affected by pesticides. The Environmental Working Group produce and regularly update them. It is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. The Clean Fifteen lists the produce least likely to hold pesticide residues. In addition, the dirty dozen are those fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides.

The Clean Fifteen

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet Peas – Frozen
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Papayas
  10. Kiwi
  11. Aubergine
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Melon
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet potatoes

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

Organic fruit and veg helps pollinators too. Pesticides often harm bees in particular, due to its toxicity and can kill them. So, this is another good reason to go organic. For example, around 75% of crop plants require some degree of animal pollination. This includes many of our everyday fruit and vegetables. However, you don’t have to just shop in supermarkets nowadays. There are plenty of alternatives that deliver to your door. For instance, Riverford, Abel&Cole and Farmdrop to name but a few.

Farmers’ markets are also great to visit as produce is locally produced. They enable farmers to sell their products direct to the consumer so that they get a fair price for their work. There are a number of London Farmers’ Markets too, so take a look.

Eco Household Items

Household items like sponges, cloths, brushes and scouring pads are usually made from non-biodegradable plastics. So, you cannot recycle them and most of them end up in landfill sites. Keep a look out for eco household items.

Of course, you should keep using the items you already have at home until they are old and make any changes only when needed. If you have an old cotton towel or a bathrobe you can make your own dishcloths, washcloths or kitchen towels.

If you need to buy some of these items there are a number of options that are more sustainable and do the same job.

Eco household items - E-Cloth sponge

E-Cloth sponge

Instead of traditional synthetic sponges to clean dishes, sinks or worktops Ludo recently found a new product at the supermarket that works just with water, you don’t need any chemical. You can wash it regularly in the washing machine at up to 60c. It’s important not to use bleach with it as this can be very damaging if it makes its way to the sea. Unfortunately, the product is still synthetic so it releases microfibres. There are ways of collecting these microfibres and prevent them from going into the drainage system. One option is using a Guppy Friend washing bag when washing your clothes. Ludo uses this and the producer E-Cloth also recommends it and indeed for any garment or item made from man-made fibre.

Eco household items - loofah dishwashing sponge

Loofah dishwashing sponge

Other eco household items she also bought, but has not yet tried, a 100% biodegradable dishwashing sponges made from the loofah plant. So, you can throw it in the compost bin after use. It is thin and hard at first sight but once soaked in water it expands and softens. The brand, Goldrick, are also a supplier for the National Trust and it says it should last 4-6 weeks.

Replace your brush to wash dishes

Eco household items - Pot Brush

Pot Brush

Instead of using a dish-washing brush, you can choose one with a wooden handle. Make sure you check if the wood comes from sustainable resources though. Alternatively, you can get a bamboo one with replaceable heads. The bristles should be from plant-based material otherwise you need to remove them before throwing the brush away in the compost bin.

Are you still using paper towels to mop up food spillages? You should switch to bamboo paper towels. These are stronger, will soak up more, they can be washed and used up to eight times before going in the compost bin.