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4 Easy Eco-Friendly Changes You Can Make Now

Updated on April 25, 2018

As an environmentally-conscious person, you're eager to do your part in selecting eco-friendly products. You may be wondering though which products that you regularly use have the biggest impact on the environment and society around us. So what is it that you can do to make a difference?

I have identified products which have the most negative affects on our surroundings and simple things you can do to lighten your personal carbon footprint.

The major products that we use on a regular basis that cause a lot of harm to the environment include all sorts of plastics that we use for activities like drinking, carrying, eating; as well as cleaning products we use around the house. Thankfully, there are lots of alternatives that are eco-friendly. Below are ideas on what you should be doing to decrease your negative impact on the environment.

Reduce your use of toxic cleaning products

Problem: Household cleaning products are some of the most harmful stuff for the environment. Things we use use on a regular basis such as detergents, dish-washing liquid, bug spray, and paint include toxins, bleach, chlorine, ammonia, petrochemicals and other harmful chemicals which contaminate soil and water. Many laundry detergents include phosphates which cause immense harm to our oceans by promoting the growth of algae, which depletes the supply of oxygen in oceans, thereby creating harmful living conditions for sea creatures and decreasing the quality of water.

Solution: Switch from toxic to non-toxic, natural cleaning products! Now that you're aware of the harm household cleaning products cause, why not switch to a more eco-friendly alternative? let's take a look at the various actions you can take to minimize your use of toxic products and make a huge difference.

  1. Make your own natural cleaning products using items such as vinegar, lemon, olive oil, mayonnaise and baking soda - all which are effective and a lot less harmful for the environment.
  2. Buy eco-friendly cleaning products that don't contain harmful chemicals. The best products to buy are those that have EPA approval. Companies that make cleaning products that are less harmful for the environment include: Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, J.R. Watkins, Nature Clean, Shaklee, Ecover, Method, Ecos and Seventh Generation. Many of these have websites which help locating the closest store to buy their product and offer free delivery when purchasing a certain amount.

Did you know that non-toxic products can improve your family’s health by being less likely to cause asthma attacks? It's true! Make the switch to eco-friendly cleaning products.

Plastic beach
Plastic beach | Source

Stop buying plastic water bottles

Problem: Bottled water creates mountains of plastic garbage and causes major environmental problems, taking an unknown number of years to decompose and causing long and painful deaths to marine animals who mistake it for food. Not only that, it's a lot more expensive than tap water - and studies show that it's no safer than tap water. We've been brainwashed into buying water in plastic bottles and this is clearly a waste of money and creates lots of literal waste.

Solution: Fill your own water bottles at home using a stainless steel thermos which you can reuse for years to come saving you money and helping the environment. Don't like tap water or question its safety? Buy a carbon filter, which is inexpensive and will turn your tap into water you will enjoy and trust. So kick that bottled water habit!

Paper or plastic? Neither! Choose cloth shopping bags for purchases and biodegradable bags for trash

Problem: Conventional shopping bags are petroleum-based and don't break down naturally like other things. If you use a regular plastic bag to throw out your trash, anything within it may not be able to fully degrade and will take up even more space in landfills.

Solution: When going shopping, bring along a trendy fabric bag (you can even make your own) that shows how fabulous you are. And for throwing out the trash, use degradable / biodegradable bags which break down unlike the conventional shopping bags at your local supermarket. Choose degradable to reduce your waste and decrease your negative impact on the environment. Another option is to use an organic mesh bag for organic produce.

What happens to your plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminum cans when you're done with them? Recycle them so they don't end up like this! I took this photo outside of Luanda, Angola.
What happens to your plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminum cans when you're done with them? Recycle them so they don't end up like this! I took this photo outside of Luanda, Angola. | Source

How to be more environmentally friendly when shopping

It's quite easy to make more environmentally friendly choices when shopping at the supermarket. Below are 3 easy things you can do!

  1. Observe product packaging: Buy products that use the least amount of plastic or those that use recycled or recyclable packaging. Recyclable packaging examples are glass, tin and paper - chose those over plastic!
  2. Check the packaging for logos and certifications: When products are eco-friendly or produced in an ethical manner, there will be a logo or certification on the packaging saying so.
  3. Buy local products: By buying local products such as produce, you are choosing products with a smaller carbon footprint as well as supporting the local community and economy!
  4. Bring your own shopping bag: Bring a cloth shopping bag with you when you're going shopping rather than getting a plastic shopping bag post purchase, which will then take an unknown number of years to decompose

Grim facts about plastic

  • Americans alone use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour
  • Plastic thrown into our oceans kill as many as a million sea creatures every year
  • Plastic does not decompose the way other products do. Nobody knows how long it will really take for a plastic bottle to biodegrade but some say thousands of years and some say plastic will stay in landfills forever!


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