Waste from Tequila-Making Process Turned into Sponges

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3M, Scotch-Brite, Sponge

3m is turning the fibers of agave plants left over from making tequila into sponges. Photo: Shutterstock

In 2011, over 41 million gallons of tequila were made in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, and all that liquor took over 700,000 tons of agave plants to make. Until recently, once the plant’s juice was extracted, the rest went to waste.

Now, global company 3M, which is responsible for making products sold under brand names like Scotch, Nexcare and Post-It, has unveiled Scotch-Brite sponges that incorporate agave fibers from plants that would otherwise be left to decay in fields.

3M, Scotch-Brite, Agave

Photo: Scotch-Brite

“Cleaning supplies should make the whole world cleaner, not just the home,” 3M wrote in a release on its website. In the case of their Scotch-Brite Greener Clean sponges, that’s what actually happens. Their scientists came up with a way to turn these discarded agave fibers into a viable sponge material.

This line of non-scratch sponges and scouring pads is made from 100 percent plant-based fibers, 50 percent of which are agave fibers. The sponges also contain 23 percent recycled paper. One of the bonuses of these materials is that they can be used to clean surfaces you might struggle to clean without an abrasive sponge like non-stick pans, countertops and glass cooktops without fear of damaging them.

The Scotch-Brite Greener Clean sponges were recently included in a list of “13 Hot Sustainable Products to Follow in 2013” by Sustainable Brands, a learning, collaboration and commerce community of sustainable businesses.

Read: How Two Charities are Changing the World by Cleaning