A carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gases (methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases) we generate by our actions. The products we use, what we eat, and how we travel are some ways we contribute to greenhouse emissions. According to The Nature Conservancy, the average person in the U.S. generates a carbon footprint of 16 tons annually. Globally, the average is about four tons.
We can all lower our individual carbon footprints by making a conscious decision to use eco-friendly or sustainable products. This refers to products that have less negative environmental impacts. Eco-friendly products are made from all-natural or organic ingredients. Sustainable products also come in biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable packaging.
In this article, we will explore some sustainable products you can use in daily life.
Reusable Grocery Bags
Research shows that globally, we use a whopping 5 trillion plastic bags each year. That is 160,000 bags per second. Out of all this, the amount of plastic bags recycled is a mere 1%. The rest is simply thrown out into the oceans, streets, and landfills. Fish, whales, sea lions, seals, turtles, and seabirds eat the plastics. This is then passed down the food chain with detrimental effects. Also, it could take centuries for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill.
Making a switch to a reusable shopping bag is the best decision you can make to minimize the impact of plastic produce bags on nature. The good news is that using these sustainable products doesn’t have to cost you much, thanks to the many affordable options available on online stores. Buy several good-quality reusable produce bags and keep them in your office, purse, car, and house so you always have access to one when visiting the grocery store.
Reusable Sandwich Bag
Carrying lunch is a budget-friendly and healthy habit. While it is more convenient to carry your lunch or pack your snacks in a plastic container, it is hazardous for the environment. A more eco-friendly way of food storage is leak-proof, reusable sandwich bags. You will find sustainable snack bags that are BPA-free, PVC free, lead-free, vinyl free and phthalates free. LunchSkins have reusable sandwich and snack bags made of cloth that are dishwasher-safe. They also have sandwich bags made of paper which are recyclable and compostable.
Batteries are made with a wide range of chemicals, most of which are toxic and lead to water and soil pollution. This includes chloric acid, sodium chloride, sodium acetate, potassium nitrate, and magnesium hydroxide. To ensure your batteries last longer and keep them out of landfills, consider using rechargeable ones. Besides saving the environment, you will also cut down your expenses in the long term. Though such batteries have a higher initial cost, they can be recharged and reused many times.
Eco-Friendly Toothbrush With a Detachable Head
Generally, people are advised to replace their toothbrushes every three months. This results in tons of non-recyclable plastic waste. A more environmentally friendly alternative is a reusable toothbrush. Online and in health food stores, you can find toothbrushes made of wood, bamboo, or biodegradable plant-based plastics. Try to buy a product with a replaceable brush head
Stainless Steel Reusable Straws
A recent report revealed that about 500 million single-use plastic straws are disposed of each day in the U.S. All this plastic ends up in oceans, streets, or landfills. The good news is many states are banning plastic straws and replacing them with reusable sustainable products.
Some of the best washable straws are stainless steel metal straws. Coming in straight and bendy shapes, with some even coming with brushes for cleaning, these products reduce plastic waste each time you reuse them.
Refillable Water Bottle
According to The World Counts, over 100 million plastic bottles are used globally every day. Only one out of five plastic bottles are recycled, with the rest getting buried or becoming litter somewhere. Besides being harmful to the environment, the bottles may contain chemicals that could seep into the water and harm your health.
Use an eco-friendly, reusable water bottle. Such bottles are BPF, BPS, and BPA-free. These sustainable products come in multiple colors and sizes, and are very stylish and easy to carry around. While some reusable water bottles are made of insulated stainless steel, others are made of BPA-free plastic.
Reusable Coffee Cups
If you want a caffeine fix that protects the environment, switch to a reusable coffee cup. Such cups are made from recyclable bamboo fibers, glass, or plastic, and you don’t have to dispose of single-use cup sleeves, cups, and lids. You will not only protect the environment, but these reusable products might also get you a discount from select coffee shops. You will find numerous reusable coffee cups in the market that are lightweight and resistant to temperature changes.
Green Cleaning Products
Many people use chemical-based cleaning products because they are more effective in cleaning. However, such products are harmful to humans, pets, and the environment. Chemical-based cleaning products contain ingredients such as sodium hypochlorite, ammonia, trisodium phosphate, and ethylene glycol monobutyl acetate.
On the other hand, natural cleaning products are eco-friendly and made with nontoxic, biodegradable, and safe ingredients. Using such sustainable products will ensure the safety of your family, pets, and environment.
Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
Most of the detergents we use at home can contribute to pollution. These products contain components such as enzymes, foam regulators, builders, surfactants, bleach, dyes, optical brighteners, and corrosion inhibitors. Though they might do a great job at removing stains, the chemicals end up in the soil or water bodies. In addition, chemical laundry detergents are harsh on your skin.
This is a good reason to start using natural detergents made from plant-based ingredients and containing a hypoallergenic formula. For instance, you could try the all-natural Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods which are made using non-toxic polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH). The pods dissolve completely without leaving any non-biodegradable materials or microplastics. For packaging, Dropps use a fully recyclable and compostable cardboard box.
Biodegradable Trash Bags
Reduce your carbon footprint by switching to compostable or biodegradable trash bags. They are made of plant-based or recyclable materials, and can be used in the bedroom, kitchen, living room, or bathroom. Visit your favorite online store to find a wide range of BPI-certified trash bags.
LED Light Bulbs
The light-emitting diode (LED) is a very energy-efficient and eco-friendly lighting technology. While incandescent bulbs release about 90% of their energy as heat, LED bulbs convert up to 95% of their energy into light. In addition, LEDs use very little power, thus saving you money over time.
Since LEDs are small and directional, they are suitable for lighting kitchen countertops or under-cabinet lighting. They are also ideal for use as recessed downlights in living rooms, hallways, and bathrooms.
Installing a water-saving showerhead is a great way of conserving water. Normal showerheads have a high flow and end up wasting a lot of water as you shower. Low-flow fixtures and taking brief showers can lower your water consumption by up to 75% and save you a few bucks.
A showerhead with a flow rate of not more than 2.5 GPM (gallons per minute) is federally mandated. You might also want to choose a laminar-flow showerhead that doesn’t create a lot of moisture and steam.
Eco-Friendly Shower Curtain
Studies have shown that most shower curtains contain toxic chemicals such as metals, organotins, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and phthalates. When you stand in the shower, you are likely to breathe in the VOCs being released. Since plastic shower curtains cannot be recycled, they end up polluting our water and soil.
Fortunately, you can find eco-friendly shower curtains made of materials like bamboo, jute, hemp, organic cotton, or linen. A good example is the Organic Waffle Shower Curtain which is made of 100% organic cotton. When buying such sustainable products, look for third-party certifications like OEKO-TEX 100 or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Energy-Saving Power Switch
Even when not in use, electronic devices continue using energy. As long as they are connected to a power source, electronics continue using energy. To ensure zero waste, use an energy-saving power switch that can shut off all appliances and electronics with one flip. This means that you won’t have to unplug cords from the wall.
Clogged drains often happen when hair, debris, food, or other objects fall down the sink, shower, or tub drain.
People often clear such clogs with chemical drain cleaners. However, these are not only harmful to your drains and your health. They can be toxic to the environment.
Instead, use a drain catcher from TubShroom. The SinkShroom, ShowerShroom, and TubShroom products prevent harmful chemicals from going down your sink, shower, and bathtub drains by keeping clogs from happening in the first place.
Many of the skincare products in the market contain chemicals that are harmful to your health and the environment. This includes phthalates, lead, quaternium-15, PEG compounds, butylated compounds, parabens, and carbon black. These ingredients have been associated with thyroid disorders, endocrine disruption, cancer, and skin allergies.
Stay safe and protect the environment by using vegan cosmetics formulated using sustainable materials like natural occurring vitamins, high-performing anti-oxidants, and essential oils.
Use Sustainable Products to Help the Environment
Reducing the carbon footprint should be everyone’s priority. Other sustainable products worth considering include:
- Reusable beeswax wraps instead of plastic wraps
- Compostable cutlery and bowl covers instead of single-use plastic ones
- Reusable wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets
- Reusable silicone straws instead of plastic straws
- Biodegradable cleaning cloths instead of paper towels
- Reusable menstrual cups instead of tampons or pads
You could use hundreds of eco products to promote sustainability. Visit www.ecoproducts.com to find renewable products such as sugarcane containers, cold cups, hot cups, cup lids, and dispensers.