We are all aware that some products are more environmentally friendly than others, but with the growth of consumer goods on the market, it can be challenging to keep track of which products are sustainable and which are not. Stainless steel straws and environmentally friendly reusable water bottles are quickly replacing the obvious offenders like plastic straws and water bottles, but what about those products that haven’t yet gained widespread attention?
This guide is for you if you’re interested in choosing products based on their environmental impact. We’re going to talk about eight commonly found household items that are bad for the environment and you might want to reconsider repurchasing.
While sunscreen offers additional protection for your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, not all sunscreens are good for the environment. Before diving into the sea, a lake, or a river, you should apply sunscreen. It will stay on your skin for a while before washing off into the water.
Chemical sunscreens frequently contain substances like oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene, which are known to be dangerous to coral reefs and other marine life. Nowadays, coral reefs receive an estimated 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen each year, which contributes to their steadily declining health.
Try to choose sunscreens free of the chemicals mentioned above if you want to avoid sunscreen’s side effects while still reaping its benefits. The best options are those that are made of natural, plant-based ingredients, but in general, try to stick with formulas that have fewer ingredients.
2. Tea Bags
Don’t worry; we won’t take away your favorite hot beverage; instead, we’ll offer an environmentally friendly alternative. Every day, millions of tea bags are used throughout the world, producing a shocking amount of waste that you wouldn’t think was possible from such tiny, seemingly harmless objects.
The issue with tea bags is that they are frequently made of plastic or have other components that prevent composting. Even so-called “environmental” tea bags frequently only have a small amount of biodegradable material, which makes it unlikely that they will actually decompose. As a result, we advise selecting loose leaf tea whenever it is possible. Purchase a pot or a cute little tea steeper for yourself and keep enjoying your tea without the environmental guilt.
3. Menstrual Products
All tampons, pads, and pantiliners are individually wrapped in single-use plastic packaging because menstrual products must be individually wrapped to maintain cleanliness. Additionally, since pads contain 90% plastic, they remain in landfills for a long time before decomposing into microplastics. More than 200,000 tonnes of waste are generated annually by the menstrual product industry from packaging, applicators, and the actual products.
Although there are more eco-friendly products like cotton tampons, reusable pads, and other items available, using a menstrual cup is the best option. A single menstrual cup can be easily cleaned and reused repeatedly over the course of many years. Menstrual cups create less waste overall, less packaging, and less product waste and are also a more affordable option than traditional menstrual products.
4. Laundry detergent
The toxic chemicals heavy metals, phosphates, and other are frequently found in laundry detergents. These dangerous additives can poison fish, reduce marine life’s access to oxygen, and degrade water quality when they are washed into rivers, lakes, and oceans. When laundry detergents are used excessively, the water can become acidic, harming fish, marine life, algae, and other marine life in ways similar to acid rain.
Fortunately, more businesses are joining the green movement and creating eco-friendly detergents. These environmentally friendly substitutes are free of synthetic fragrances, petroleum distillates, diethanolamine, optical brighteners, linear alkaline sodium sulfonates, nonylphenol ethoxylate, and other toxic or harmful chemicals and ingredients. Do you want to go one step further? Make your own eco-friendly detergent at home by trying this!
5. Disposable Chopsticks
Bamboo chopsticks that are disposable are widely used throughout the world, but especially in Asian nations. Because they are convenient for mass storage and hygienic maintenance, these single-use chopsticks are a sensible option for all fast-casual and take-out dining establishments. Unfortunately, the environment is being severely damaged by the amount of wood needed to meet the demand for billions of pairs of chopsticks each year.
Chopstick production has a significant impact on global industrial emissions, and the rapid degradation of land quality brought on by overplanting, pesticide use, and rapid overharvesting has started to affect soil fertility. Furthermore, chopsticks are typically thrown in the trash and end up in landfills because they cannot easily be recycled or reused.
The next time you order takeout, invest in a set of reusable chopsticks rather than grabbing a pair of colourful disposables! Choose a set you like, and you can keep them for a long time.
6. Scented Candles
There is, for many of us, nothing more enjoyable than lighting a fragrant candle and taking a soothing bath, but if you care about the environment, you might want to give up this practice. When burned, scented candles produce a number of toxic byproducts, such as greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Since paraffin, a petroleum byproduct, is typically used to make these candles, they contribute to the oil industry, including drilling and oil spills.
Additionally, the chemicals used to create those oh-so-addictive scents may release other dangerous chemicals that are dangerous for the environment as well as people who have asthma or compromised respiratory systems. You can still enjoy the nice and comfortable gleam of a candle; just pick an unscented soy or beeswax candle the next time.
7. Makeup Wipes
In the US, a startling 20 million pounds of disposable wipes are discarded daily. Makeup wipes and other single-use wipes are constructed to be durable, so they are also durable once they reach the landfill. They are primarily made from plastic fibres and are heavily chemically treated. Wipes release plastic fibres into the soil as they decompose, which are frequently ingested by wildlife and other creatures or leach chemicals into the ground or nearby water. Despite the fact that many companies advertise that their wipes are biodegradable, the majority of them are not, so these claims should be taken with a grain of salt.
Instead of using disposable makeup wipes, spend money on a soft washcloth and your preferred makeup remover. A single washcloth will last you much longer than a package of disposable wipes because it is reusable, much better for the environment, and frequently more effective at removing stubborn makeup.
8. Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are a gimmicky product that primarily condition your clothes with a combination of harsh chemicals rather than actually softening them. The majority of dryer sheets are covered in quaternary ammonium compounds, a substance known to cause asthma, respiratory irritation, cancers, and issues with reproductive health. In addition, since dryer sheets are frequently nonwovens made of plastic or other synthetic fibres, they cannot be recycled and decompose slowly in landfills.
Try switching out your chemical-covered dryer sheets with a wool laundry ball if you’re still concerned about static in your dryer. The balls, which are made of solid felted wool, continuously move mechanically while beating the clothing to naturally soften it and prevent static buildup.
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