Holy Sponge! often receives questions about how sponges are harvested and whether any life is harmed in the process. This was an important factor for us in deciding where we got our sponges from.
Here’s the scoop:
According to the research we have done on sea sponge harvesting, there are 2 ways to harvest them. One way is harmful to the plant/animal, and another way is not. The harmful form of harvesting cuts the sponge at the base, killing the sponge and preventing it from regenerating. The other form of harvesting (which is the kind included in the kit) is sustainable because it harvests the sponge at least an inch from the base or higher (as you would harvest a plant or flower) and that allows the sponge to continue its life cycle, regenerating itself.
Sponges from Overseas:
I have found some real plush and lovely silk sponges in skin care shops, but it’s hard to get a direct answer about where the they are ordering the sponges from. Craft and art supply shops also sell them, but again- little to no information re: source is offered.
When the sponges are coming from overseas, the regulations and sustainability of them comes into question as well as concerns about labor laws and who is harvesting them under what conditions. It was/is also important for Holy Sponge! to sell sponges from the U.S.
Sponges from Tarpon Springs, FL:
Our sponges come from Tarpon Springs, FL and are subject to strict state-wide regulations that protect the waters and sea life. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission regulates the commercial and recreational take of sea sponges, and through a series of ‘crop/harvest rotation’ ensures that the harvest of sea sponges never impacts surrounding ocean species.