If You Do Any of These 25 Things, You’re Killing the Planet

1 month ago 5 min read
July 14, 2020
By: Livia Van Heerde

Which of these environmental sins are you guilty of? Check below to see if you’re a true sustainability champion or if you’ll burn in eco-hell (I mean, global warming anyone?).

1. Putting the pizza box in the recycling bin

We’re sorry to burst your bubble. You’ve done it wrong your whole life. That greasy pizza box goes to the general waste bin and not your recycling bin. Now you know. You’re welcome.

2. Using the wrong sunscreens

While you can feel proud of being a responsible adult and protecting your skin from the sun, you should take a closer look at the sunscreen you’re using. Sunscreens containing oxybenzone and other chemicals can enter the waterways when you swim or shower and can lead to a decrease in female fish fertility, coral bleaching, and even chemical accumulation in dolphins.

3. Letting the water run

You better stop the water while brushing your teeth or cooking in the kitchen. That bad habit wastes natural resources essential for humans, plants, and animals on earth.

4. Using plastic disposables

Cutlery, cups, bags, bottles, plates, straws. The list is endless. We are surrounded by disposable products that are often made from plastic. And let’s not forget about shampoo bottles, beauty products, and cleaning products. Clear your life from disposable plastic and feel the buzz of an eco-friendly lifestyle.

5. Wearing contact lenses

Although it sucks having to wear glasses, it’s the better eco-choice. Think about it: contact lenses are made from plastic, and most people flush them down the drain or toilet where they could end up in rivers or oceans. Plus, contacts create lots of waste – especially if you change them on a daily basis.

6. Smoking

Everyone focuses on the health implications of smoking, but the environmental impact of cigarettes should not be forgotten! Smoking releases toxic air pollutants into the soil, waterways, and atmosphere when tossed on the ground.

7. Using wet wipes

Did you know that wet wipes are made from synthetic material? So when you flush them down the toilet, they could potentially end up in rivers or oceans – depending on where you live. Go for biodegradable ones instead!

8. Buying fast fashion

The quality of fast fashion is poor, and the clothes tend to fall apart too quickly. The never-ending incentive to buy new clothes from high street brands creates a throwaway culture and fills our landfills to the brim. Additionally, synthetic fibres such as Polyester are commonly used to make the new trend pieces, which never biodegrade.

9. Washing clothing made from synthetic fabrics

So you bought clothing made from Polyester, Lyocell, Acrylic, or other synthetic materials, and want to wear them as much as possible so that they don’t end up in a landfill? While this is a good step to a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, don’t forget about what happens in your washing machine. Fabrics shed fibres during the wash, which end up as microplastic in the water system. Using a washing bag that’s made to capture those plastic fibres will do the trick.

10. Eating meat

If you don’t know about the environmental impact of meat by now, you have been living under a rock. Animal agriculture releases greenhouse gases such as methane and creates an enormous amount of waste. If you want to get those environmental bonus points, you need to eat less meat!

11. Taking the car

Driving pollutes the air with greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Shredding tires create microplastics. Electric cars, public transportation, bikes and walking are better alternatives to get from A to B.

12. Voting for parties without a green agenda

Everything we do has an environmental impact. Lessening your footprint by changing your consumption behaviour is a great way to contribute to a greener future. But it should not stop there. Your vote is important for how our world will look in the years to come. Therefore, you should consider the future environment before you rock the vote.

13. Getting the newest tech gear

We get it. That new laptop and that brand-new phone are super exciting. However, running to the store to get the latest tech gear is killing the planet. Why? Because electronic waste in landfills leach toxic materials in the ground which affects groundwater, soil, and animals on land and in the ocean. Plus, when e-waste is warmed, the toxic chemicals contained in the products are released into the atmosphere.

14. Using glitter

The sparkle, the colour – glitter is fun. But have you thought about what it’s made from? The sad truth is that glitter is just another form of microplastic polluting our planet. Does that mean an eco-friendly world doesn’t sparkle? No! Thanks to some clever companies, we have biodegradable glitter now!

15. Using coffee capsules

Make your coffee using capsules kills the environment. Better: Use eco-friendly coffee capsules that are biodegradable or use other methods to get your caffeine fix.

16. Drinking coffee

Forget avocado. The real environmental villain food is coffee. Coffee production is associated with deforestation, water insensitivity, water pollution, pesticide use, decreased soil quality, and species extinction due to the destruction of animal habitats and transport. Additionally, your latte’s carbon footprint is significant – especially when you have it with cow’s milk.

17. Buying new jeans

It’s no secret that producing jeans is a very water-intensive process, but did you know that chemicals used in the fabric manufacturing process are often disposed of in our world’s rivers? This causes harm to wildlife and locals living close to the river. On top of that, jeans nowadays contain synthetic fibres in addition to cotton to give it that stretch. Synthetic fibres don’t biodegrade and pollute the environment once disposed of. Buy your jeans secondhand or from environmentally conscious labels.

18. Getting takeaway food

The packaging used for takeaway food is excessive and often made of plastic. Delivering food is a common practice in our fast-paced modern environment, but avoiding it helps out the environment.

19. Disposing batteries incorrectly

When you put batteries in the wrong bin, the battery casing containing toxic chemicals can disintegrate and leach into the environment. This contaminates soil and water, and can accumulate in wildlife and even humans.

20. Using conventional period products

Tampons and pads create a lot of waste, including the non-biodegradable variety, and many are made with plastic. Additionally, the carbon footprint of disposable products should not be forgotten. A great way to avoid this environmental harm is by using menstrual cups, organic period products, or even reusable pads.

21. Getting lots of spam e-mails and newsletters

E-mails have carbon footprints too! Unsubscribing from spam mail will not only make your everyday inbox check easier, but it will lower your environmental impact as well.

22. Wasting food

The food you waste ends up in a landfill and becomes a source of methane – which contributes to climate change. Plus, the carbon released and used to grow, transport, and package food adds to your environmental footprint. A better solution: only buy what you need and put leftovers in the fridge to eat later (and really eat it).

23. Using cling foil

Okay, boomer – that sticky roll of plastic belongs in the past, and if you still use it, you should seriously consider alternatives such as food storage containers, beeswax wraps, or simply the good, old plate-on-top-of-a bowl solution.

24. Buying leather

Did you know? Conventional leather is chrome-tanned and negatively affects the environment through water pollution and greenhouse gas emission release. The manufacturing of leather doesn’t just cause serious water contamination and damage to rivers’ ecosystems, but also to the local people who rely on the river’s water supply.

25. Buying flowers

The biggest environmental problems from flowers are the long transportation routes and the heavy use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. Plus, once the beautiful blooms start to wilt, they are then a waste product that releases methane. The same rules that apply to food shopping apply to flower shopping: choose organic, local, and package free.

Reducing our usage of environmentally-unfriendly products and practices, and opting for eco-friendly alternatives can make a small difference in the short term, but a bigger difference in the long term. So choose wisely!