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Scrub Daddy's send-back program sparks heated debate online: 'I know there's good intentions behind this, but ...'

"Just toss [it] in the garbage at that point."

"Just toss [it] in the garbage at that point."

Photo Credit: @ cleanthatup / Instagram

The happy face Scrub Daddy is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable sponges on the market. 

But Instagram user Brandon Pleshek (@cleanthatup) sparked some debate after showing users the company's proposed alternative to throwing away a Scrub Daddy after its utility has been exhausted.

The video shows other users how they can go to the Scrub Daddy website and fill out a recycling return form. While users must pay to ship back the product to Scrub Daddy — which can be unrealistic for many consumers — they do receive a $2 credit per sponge on their Smile Shop account once the products have arrived at the intended facility. 

Pleshek shares that the sponges are "recycled and turned into an alternative engineered fuel" rather than being lost in landfills. 

The main point is keeping these sponges out of the landfill. The company's website shares that the program allows consumers to "support this effort by reducing landfill waste and harmful emissions one Scrub Daddy at a time." 

The company also claims the sponges go to an "industrial recycling facility" where the foam is shredded with other products and turned into fuel that powers cement kilns that generate the cement needed for roads. 

It's always a positive step forward when any company attempts to extend the life of its products by offering a recycling program. However, it's worth mentioning that there are some apparent issues with this program and the product itself. 

As for the product, the company describes the material as a "highly engineered polymer foam," which sure doesn't sound very eco-friendly, and it's unknown at this point if it's biodegradable

There are plenty of biodegradable sponge alternatives out there, like the ones from ZeroWasteStore that are made from 100% wood pulp and can be tossed in your compost bin when you're done with them. 

As for the recycling program, packaging a single Scrub Daddy and shipping it back to the company obviously has its environmental setbacks, like more plastic waste and pollution from the transportation back to the facility.

The post definitely stirred up some debate from other users. The amount of pollution associated with sending the sponges back to the company was not lost on many users. 

"I know there's good intentions behind this, but not only are you paying for shipping (the cost of the product itself) … you're contributing to emissions to ship this and you're wrapping it in plastic bubble wrap and sending it in a plastic polymailer which both will most likely get tossed in trash thus contributing to waste … just toss the old scrub daddy in the garbage at that point," one user pointed out. 

Another person offered a simple solution to the shipping problem, writing, "That's awesome but please collect more than 1 and ship a bunch together to reduce shipping emissions." 

It's a great suggestion, and to take it one step further, you can always go with a more sustainable packaging option instead of plastic bubble wrap.

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