Eco-friendly cleaning gloves are a sustainable alternative to traditional cleaning gloves. They are often made from non-biodegradable materials such as plastic. As well as being better for the planet, eco-friendly gloves are often reusable, which can help you to reduce waste and save money over time. In this article, I’ve reviewed four eco-friendly gloves to help you make the switch to a zero-waste kitchen or zero-waste bathroom.
Are Latex Gloves Eco-Friendly?
Some, but not all! Natural latex is a white milky substance from the rubber tree, and can be minimally processed to make eco-friendly gloves! Latex and rubber gloves are often confused as the same thing, however they are distinct products.
Natural latex comes from the rubber tree and is the primary ingredient in making latex gloves. Rubber refers to an elasticated material and it can be made entirely out of natural or synthetic latex. Therefore, latex gloves can be made with natural latex or entirely out of synthetic (man-made) materials. According to Wang et al (2022), the disposal of synthetic latex gloves can contribute to harmful microplastics in the environment, which can harm aquatic life.
This video shows how synthetic rubber gloves are made, which are more suitable for those who can’t use natural latex gloves due to allergies:
Are There Biodegradable Gloves?
Yes, biodegradable gloves are available! However, just because something is labeled as biodegradable doesn’t mean it is compostable, and you should always check before putting anything into your home composting systems.
Often, biodegradable products require industrial composting to break down correctly, which can take around 3 – 4 months.
If you want to compost your gloves, make sure to check what they are made out of and what they were in contact with, as you don’t want to be putting any harsh cleaning chemicals (not that we suggest you use any, as we have plenty of chemical-free cleaning alternatives at A Clean Bee!) into your home composting system. For food preparation and in clinical settings, nitrile gloves are most commonly used, but biodegradable nitrile gloves have to pass FDA regulations.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Gloves
- FSC CERTIFIED LATEX: If You Care Household Gloves are made of natural latex rubber and sourced from a responsibly managed plantation, where the rubber tappers have received a fair trade premium, and…
- REUSABLE & DURABLE: Our Gloves are reusable, made of renewable resources, contain no fillers and are super strong for a variety uses around your home and garden. They are even compostable if you cut…
- HANDY AROUND THE HOUSE: Our gloves are perfect for cleaning around your home, especially the kitchen and bathroom, as well as washing dishes, gardening, and more. Comes as a pack of one pair.
If You Care Latex Gloves are made from FSC-certified natural rubber latex, a renewable resource that can be sustainably harvested without harming the environment. The inner lining is 100% cotton, which is better for those sensitive to natural latex. In addition, the gloves are biodegradable, so they won’t contribute to landfill waste if disposed of responsibly.
If You Care is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and minimizing waste throughout its production process. They prioritize using materials that are sustainably sourced and biodegradable. They also prioritize fair labor practices and work with suppliers who share their commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
These gloves are not only effective for household and cleaning tasks, but they also offer peace of mind knowing that you are using a product that is responsibly sourced, not tested on animals, and can be responsibly disposed of at the end of their usable life.
Pros and Cons
- 100% natural latex rubber, Fair Rubber and FSC certified
- The inner lining is 100% cotton, which is better for those sensitive to natural latex
- Gloves are naturally biodegradable if cut up into small strips
- Their packaging is made from unbleached recycled cardboard or paper, which can be recycled again
- Not tested on animals
- Some customer reviews state that these do not last as long and that they are prone to tears, but this depends on use
- Natural latex cleaning and dish gloves are durable with a slip-resistant grip
- Cotton cuff is designed to catch water (and keep you dry)
- Super soft lined interior for comfort and hot water protection
Full Circle Splash Patrol Natural Latex Cleaning and Dish Gloves have a 100% natural latex exterior and a soft-lined interior made from a unique blend of nylon & rayon from plant fibers. These gloves are sustainable, reusable, recycled, and recyclable.
Furthermore, Full Circle is a company committed to sustainability and ethical practices. They prioritize using responsibly sourced and eco-friendly materials, and they work to minimize waste and reduce their carbon footprint throughout their production process.
Additionally, Full Circle partners with organizations that share their commitment to social and environmental responsibility, so customers can feel good about supporting a company that prioritizes sustainability and ethical practices.
Pros and Cons
- Aesthetically pleasing with an extended cuff that protects your arms from splashes and spills while cleaning
- 100% natural latex exterior, soft-lined interior made from a unique blend of nylon & rayon from plant fibers
- Hang dry loops for easy drying
- BPA free
- Some customer reviews have reported that the gloves may wear out quicker than anticipated with frequent use
- 100% biodegradable with Showa’s Eco Best Technology, these gloves are eco-friendly
- 9.5″ length and 4 mil thick with bisque grip
- Approved for food handling and contact, these gloves are ideal for food preparation, use in laboratories, and general repair or maintenance work
The SHOWA disposable gloves are made from nitrile, a synthetic rubber that is more resistant to punctures and tears than traditional latex gloves. Nitrile is often preferred over latex, as it is less likely to cause allergic reactions and is easier to dispose of responsibly. Furthermore, these gloves are powder-free, making them safer for users with sensitivities to powder.
SHOWA is a company committed to sustainability and ethical practices, and they hold several certifications that reflect this commitment. For example, SHOWA has achieved ISO 14001 certification, demonstrating their commitment to minimizing their environmental impact and reducing waste throughout their production process.
Additionally, SHOWA is a member of the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary initiative encouraging businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.
Pros and Cons
- Made with Showa’s Eco Best Technology® (EBT) nitrile, which is an innovation that makes their gloves fully biodegradable and the first of their kind
- For use in laboratory, clinical, or food preparation settings
- Green Circle accredited, conforms to EU Regulation for Personal Protection Equipment, and EU & FDA food regulations
- Single-use only
- Not home compostable. Requires biologically active landfills to biodegrade, which can take 386 days to biodegrade by up to 83%
- Despite the biodegradability, landfills generate methane emissions which are not good for our planet and it is 80% more harmful than Carbon Dioxide (Source: United Nations Environment Programme)
- NEW LOOK AND IMPROVED QUALITY: The food prep gloves that you’ve come to love now features new packaging and improved thicker gloves!
- PERFECT PARTNER IN FOOD PREPARATION: Disposable gloves come in a pack of 100; can be used for preparing and handling sandwiches, meat, bread, etc.; ideal for sandwich bars, delis, butchers, and your…
- ECO-FRIENDLY WITH A COMFORTABLE FIT: A plant-based alternative to traditional plastic; Medium, 9” x 11”; loose, easy to slip on; thin so that you can move your fingers freely
Stuff4Homes Compostable Gloves are made from 100% plant-based materials, specifically cornstarch and vegetable oil. This means they are fully biodegradable and compostable. These gloves are a more sustainable choice than traditional plastic gloves, which can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills. Additionally, these gloves are free from harmful chemicals and are safe for food contact, making them an ideal choice for food preparation.
Stuff4Homes is a company that is committed to sustainability and ethical practices. They prioritize using eco-friendly materials and packaging and work to minimize waste and reduce their carbon footprint throughout their production process.
Stuff4Homes holds several certifications that reflect their commitment to sustainability, including the BPI certification for compostability and the OK Compost Home certification for biodegradability.
Pros and Cons
- Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) certified: Compostable in industrial composting facilities, where accepted, within 12 weeks under the right conditions
- Made from Polylactic Acid (PLA), which is a bioplastic usually made from the sugars in corn starch (Source: Bionomic Fuel)
- Ideal for food preparation settings
- Touchscreen friendly
- Reasonably priced for 100 single-use compostable gloves
- Not ideal for heavy-duty cleaning as they are very thin
- Not waterproof
How to Responsibly Dispose of Cleaning Gloves
The eco-friendly cleaning gloves I’ve suggested in this article are mostly intended for extended use, which will help reduce the number of single-use gloves sent to landfills. However, I have also listed some more eco-friendly disposable single-use gloves, such as Stuff4Homes and Showa’s disposable gloves.
With an estimated 300 billion disposable gloves used in the US each year, it is important to dispose of gloves responsibly to reduce their environmental impact (Source: Eagle Protect). Below are some options to dispose of single-use gloves responsibly in accordance with the EPA’s sustainable waste management hierarchy.
You can recycle disposable gloves through one of TerraCycle’s recycling programs. TerraCycle takes hard-to-recycle items and turns the products into raw materials which can be used to make other products.
This program works by purchasing a Zero Waste Glove recycling box from TerraCycle, and then shipping them to their recycling facility. TerraCycle accepts many glove waste types, but some they do not accept, such as gloves from a medical or clinical setting (Source: TerraCycle).
Gloves made from Polylactic Acid (PLA), a type of bioplastic, can be disposed of in industrial composting facilities. Stuff4Homes gloves claim to be compostable in home compostable bins, but it may take longer compared to an industrial setting.
If your disposable gloves have been used in the medical setting, they are considered hazardous waste and should never be recycled or reused. They should therefore go into the general waste.
And that’s a wrap! Hopefully you will find the right gloves to embrace in your sustainable cleaning routine. While it is preferable to minimize waste by choosing reusable gloves, if you need to buy single-use disposable gloves, there are options such as Terracycle to responsibly dispose of single-use gloves.