We use several items daily chosen for their convenience. Said convenience, however, comes at a price—the world we live in. Some of the items we use daily can be substituted out for other, more sustainable items, which is what we should put our efforts toward. Even if we can’t change all of our habits at once, every little step counts. We’ve compiled a list of everyday items that are harmful to the environment and what you can use instead.
1. Tea and Coffee
Whether we drink them for comfort or energy, hot beverages have become a daily routine for millions. They’re notorious, however, for how much waste they produce. In 2015, nearly 10 billion K-Cups were manufactured by Keurig. Additionally, an ingredient in many tea bags is polypropylene, which is not an ingredient you want in your beverage.
Try instead: There are companies that produce biodegradable K-Cups, or you could save the environment and your wallet by investing in a reusable filter. For teabags, switch to using a strainer and loose-leaf tea.
2. Restaurant Leftovers
Packing up your leftovers prevents food waste, to be sure, but the containers they’re placed in create a problem of their own. Styrofoam is incredibly harsh on our environment and our personal health. Styrene is a key ingredient in polystyrene, and is a terrible aquatic pollutant. Microwaving Styrofoam is also detrimental to our health.
Try instead: If you find yourself with leftovers often, bring your own containers from home to put your food in.
There are a few concerns regarding laundry detergent, one of them being their negative impact on aquatic life. The chemicals in the detergent itself are harmful, but there are other hazardous chemicals in the disposable containers they’re distributed in.
Try instead: Why not roll up your sleeves and make your own detergent? Locate some online recipes and work on reducing the toxins in your home.
The facewash, toothpaste, and exfoliants we use daily can contain microbeads. We’re not only putting ourselves in continual contact with plastic, but this plastic can cause miniscule abrasions on our skin.
Try instead: Research natural brands and thoroughly examine their ingredient lists. Fortunately, more and more companies have become aware of this risk and are adjusting their products accordingly.
5. Online Shopping
The influx of rushed deliveries has resulted in an increase of wasted energy. There are trucks not filled to max capacities, jet fuel, and more boxes being used. Consumer’s needs for instant gratification is rapidly taking its toll on our limited resources.
Try instead: Order everything at once, and request for them all to be shipped at the same time. If you’re using Amazon, you can return packages in person at Kohls. You can also run all your errands at once, and consider going with someone so you can both get the things you need while using less fuel.