15 Habits You Should Change Because They Damage The Planet
I can’t. I can’t watch another movie about how we are destroying our planet, how rainforests are being cut down, orangutans killed by our indolence. I can’t watch another video with beaches swamped in plastic, turtles gasping for breath because they are suffocating under the tight embrace of a plastic bag. I can’t watch another movie with animals who are being tested on. I just can’t.
It is time we all stopped and looked around at our daily habits and realised how much they pollute the planet.
Do you know how much the environment suffers because of our daily to-go cup of coffee, or our cocktail with a funky straw by the pool, or our single-use ‘cotton’ pads and ear swabs, or because we want pamper our bodies with all types of lotions and gels and god-knows-what and we buy them in massive amounts and types, or because we all want to be fashionistas and stuff our closets with bargains?
The list could go on and on and I don’t think I will be able to write anymore without letting it get the best of me.
So let’s just become aware of our habits and try to use less plastic, more reusable things, let’s just stop consume in the name of comfort and help this planet. And to help get the ball rolling, I put down some things I have become aware of and am trying to avoid or change in my routine.
1. Coffee — I avoid buying coffee to go. Even if the cup itself is made of paper, the lid it’s not. Sometimes I take a thermal cup with me and pay them to fill it instead.
2. Cotton swabs — I have almost completely relinquished cotton swabs. There is a metal ear cleaning device I bought cheaply on Amazon. It’s much better and also healthier than those swabs which gave me an ear infection at a certain point.
3. Bottled water — I try not to buy bottled water when I am away. I’m not always successful, I have to admit. Am still getting the hang of leaving the house with a water bottle. Also, at home we have a water filter, so we drink filtered tap water.
4. Plastic wrapping — When I buy food, I am trying to be aware of the wrapping material quantity they use. If it’s a bag of bags of candy, for example, I don’t buy it, no matter how much Carla begs for it. I explain it to her and we move on.
5. Plastic straws — While we are at it, I showed her pictures of ocean animals struggling with plastic straws. We got rid of those pretty quickly then.
6. Cotton pads — Yesterday I decided not to use single-use cotton pads for removing makeup. I also found out that some of them are not even biodegradable since they can contain some form of plastic. I found bamboo washable pads on Amazon. Cost a bit more, but it’s worth it.
7. Toothbrushes — Speaking of bamboo. When we go away and need to take our toothbrushes, we use bamboo ones. Alin is complaining they are not as good, but I think the difference is minor. It’s worth remembering though, everything about these toothbrushes is biodegradable.
8. Cosmetics — I found a cosmetics brand that not only doesn’t test on animals, but it also uses recycled plastic for bottles and it also contains exclusively, I think natural ingredients. I wrote about this before, it’s called Alverde and it’s from dm. I buy from them everything: shampoo, hand, face and body lotions, shower gel, face scrub, makeup, body oils, mouth water, face masks, etc. The unfortunate thing is that they only deliver in Germany, but I stock up once a year and it’s totally worth it.
9. Detergent — That is a tough one. It is a big discussion about what it should or shouldn’t contain, and I won’t go into it here. Suffice to say I opted for an eco-friendly version of it. That means it contains lesser toxic ingredients and it’s being delivered in recycled plastic containers. It’s not always as good as removing stains, especially from Carla’s clothes, that is why sometimes I cheat with some Vanish.
10. Soap — Speaking of containers. I gave up using liquid soap. We consume rather large amounts, so I decided to go back to the classic solid soap. I try to buy it with as least toxic stuff as possible. Research has been done here as well. 🙂
11. Domestic plastic wrap — I am trying to get rid of the plastic wrap for packed lunches. I use Tupperware instead, which I know it’s plastic as well, but it’s recyclable and it lasts longer. We still have a problem when we go on a trip though. You can really pack a sandwich in a paper towel that well. I know there are some special bags for this, made of some recyclable algae plastic, will look into those.
12. Pads & tampons — A difficult one now, girls. Period pads or tampons. Both are not easily degradable and, at least the pads, contains some form of plastic. They are also bleached. There are all sorts of things wrong with them. The problem here really is the comfort or the lack of. I must say, I haven’t found a solution to this yet, although I did try different versions of ecological pads, but I can’t say how ecological are they and how good because, while for the first I didn’t have time to check, the second is highly subjective.
13. Shoes — I admit, I am a fan of shoes. And I have quite a few pairs. But that is because I kept all of them. Am also a bit of a hoarder. However, in the past years, I have mostly bought second-hand shoes or shoes I absolutely needed. Still leather. I know! But I have tried and I am still open to faux leather. My experience with it was bad – as in they were not even in the least waterproof, but maybe it was just the brand, I don’t know.
14. Clothes — I only have two words to say: second-hand shops. Were those three words? Anyway. Unless we speak of bras, panties, tights or second skin t-shirts, I go there and buy most of the stuff. It’s cheaper. When it comes to jeans I find it incredibly comfortable to wear some jeans that have already been worn, they have a different, better feel. Plus I found some really awesome articles. Quality & vintage, which is so in nowadays. I do slip sometimes and get stuff from a certain – more expensive – brand. I am trying to stay away from H&M, Zara and similar as much as possible. Even if it’s cheaper than cheap. Especially if it’s cheaper than cheap.
The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. 95% of the clothing items are not recyclable. I can’t help but think about all those fleece items mountain people buy; fleece = plastic, just so you know. While I understand the need for that equipment, it wouldn’t hurt to try and buy it second hand.
15. Palm oil — I am not buying any products that contain it. I know the rainforest is being cut down and palm trees are planted instead because their oil is cheapest.
These are the things that came to my mind without thinking too hard about it. Maybe you can help me with more suggestions. I want to become better at this. It’s high time we all became better at this. And soon. Otherwise, there will not be much left to save.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take action. They think they are too small and too insignificant. I see them every day at Starbucks or Costa or in the supermarkets. Their choices shape the future.
I am sorry to say I have friends who are not yet doing everything they can in order to change their habits. Because they can’t, but most of all, because their sense of entitlement won’t let them. We all have that sense of entitlement, and we can all overcome it. How? By becoming aware there will be no future, not a happy one anyway if we don’t soon start to take action.
Just posting videos and sharing stuff on Facebook doesn’t matter. You know what does?
• NOT buying that cup of coffee
• NOT giving in to your inner fashionista and buying clothes you don’t need just because they are cheap
• REDUCING & REPLACING your cosmetics with cruelty-free ecological products
• GIVING UP funky straws when drinking your Long Island
• NOT buying cotton swabs
• saying NO to yet another plastic bag with your shopping
These things matter.
Photo credit: Coastalseekers.com