We exist frivolously in America. All of us.
Even if you don’t make much money or buy expensive things, the truth is, we are the most wasteful country on the planet.
A few decades ago, our waste and consumption of natural resources didn’t seem like a big deal, at least not to the general public. However, people are becoming aware of the inevitable ramifications of the way we live.
If we don’t start making changes fast, such as the majority of the population using eco-friendly products, our children or grandchildren may not live in the world as we know it.
But it’s not just us. The entirety of the civilized world has a hand in what’s happening to our planet.
But what exactly is happening to our planet?
Why Eco-Friendly Products Are Important
Regrettably, the subject of climate change or global warming has become a political topic, which is bad news for our planet.
Because until climate change is looked at for what it is, a scientific fact backed by analytical data, our country cannot unite with the rest of the world to reverse the problem. Right now, it’s a topic for debate, commonly referred to as “fake news” by those who oppose using resources to fix the problem.
But here’s what is happening while we waste time debating over it:
- Greenhouse gases are trapping heat in our atmosphere, steadily increasing the earth’s temperature every year. 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded.
- Every second, we destroy an entire football field of the rainforest. Every day, we destroy an area the size of New York.
- Since 1910, Glacier National Park has gone from 150 glaciers to just 26.
- Scientists surmise that we lose .01 to 0.1 species a year, which could be anywhere from 200 to 100,000 based on low-end/high-end estimations of total species.
- Climate change may be irreversible by 2030.
- As glaciers melt and sea levels rise, we can expect to lose coastal cities and experience an influx of refugees from other countries.
Since we don’t control politics, what can we do?
The simple answer is to do everything you can, starting with this list.
1. Metal Straws
Americans use 500 million plastic drinking straws every day. That’s over 18 billion every year.
In other words, we need to cut it out with the straws.
Fast food restaurants need to switch over to bio-degradable straws. Sit-in diners need to use any of the eco-friendly products out there such as metal and bamboo straws.
For us, we can also use the reusable straws for our drinking containers. It’s such a simple, yet important sacrifice.
2. Eco-Friendly Bottles
If you thought straws were bad, think about this—Americans use 1,500 plastic bottles every second. Now, you may not be very good at math, but you can easily deduce that the amount per day, week, month, and the year is unfathomable.
If we were to switch to eco-friendly products, such as metal, glass, and silicone water bottles to name a few, we could significantly cut down on waste.
Additionally, the amount of plastic found in the ocean is absurd. It’s also killing off marine species of fish and coral.
3. Reusable Shopping Bags
As we progress down our list, the numbers only seem to get worse. Worldwide, humans use over 1 trillion plastic bags per year—roughly 2 million per minute.
Reusable bags are made of canvas, synthetic fibers, and natural fibers. Not only are these better for the environment, but you can load a ton more groceries and goods in them. Bigger, eco-friendly products like these will save you countless trips back and forth to your car while unloading groceries.
4. Solar Power
It’s a fact. Eventually, we will run out of natural resources such as gas, oil, and coal. When we run out of these fossil fuels, say goodbye to the world as we know it.
It means no more power or vehicles. We will return to a time of darkness.
However, as the world is recognizing the imminent threat of overconsumption, it’s also advancing its eco-friendly products, such as producing some of the best quality solar panels.
5. Bamboo Products
Eco-friendly products made from bamboo are becoming ever more popular.
Nearly everything you can think of can be made out of bamboo. Some of the most popular bamboo products include toothbrushes, kitchen utensils, towels, speakers, toilet paper, floors, skateboards, and sunglasses.
Eco-friendly bamboo products are especially easy on the environment as they are rapidly renewable and harvested by hand, which helps prevent the accidental killing of animals and the use of heavy machinery.
6. Recycled Shoes
Buying recycled shoes helps the planet on multiple fronts.
First, eco-friendly products made from recycled goods prevents waste and over-usage of harmful materials such as plastic, rubber, and leather.
Leather is harmful because most tanning processes, including those in the U.S., use hazardous chemicals such as chromium and formaldehyde.
7. Meat-Replacement Products
The most effective change we could all make to save the planet won’t be a popular one. The answer, unfortunately for most, is to stop eating meat. Period.
It takes 1,799 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. One pound.
Additionally, the vast majority of deforestation occurs to provide land for growing crops. Not crops for starving people across the planet, but for the animals destined for the butcher block.
Additionally, animal livestock and their byproducts account for 51% of all greenhouse gases. All forms of transportation exhaust in the world combined only accounts for 13%.
8. Rechargeable Batteries
Eco-friendly products such as rechargeable batteries are a no-brainer.
Batteries are made with natural, non-renewable resources. It’s hard to imagine life without batteries (no laptops, cell phones, tv remotes, video game remotes, garage door openers, car batteries, etc.), however, we may be risking it soon.
While rechargeable batteries aren’t perfect, they’re still a much better option. They still use the same non-renewable resources, but they last much longer. Rechargeable batteries aren’t thrown away after a single use, which greatly decreases waste.
9. Ceramic Nonstick Pans
There’s a popular documentary on Netflix right now called “The Devil We Know.”
This documentary explores the lies, deceit, and criminal acts by a company known as Dupont. Dupont is the company behind Teflon coatings. The primary chemical, C-8, is used in nearly everything you can think of that boasts a non-stick or water-repellent surface.
The problem is, the chemical is a deadly, cancer-causing substance.
And while the company has repeatedly changed the name of its chemicals and products and even the name of the company itself, the fact is, they are still knowingly producing hazardous products.
For your health, and the health of the environment, use ceramic alternatives for your pans. Teflon pans emit toxic chemicals and gases when they are heated past a certain temperature, while ceramic pans tend to be free of harmful chemicals.
10. Composting Toilets
Traditional toilets in first-world countries use water for every flush. Now, before modern sewer systems and toilets, cities had astronomical health issues related to improper human waste disposal.
However, for those looking to have less of a water footprint on the environment, consider that toilet-use in the U.S. averages 1.3 to 7 gallons of water per flush, depending on the toilet.
While composting toilets may come off archaic at first, they’re actually quite clean and sanitary. Our solid waste is mixed with a composting agent such as peat moss which rapidly evaporates and breaks down the material.
What’s left is virus and pathogen-free fertilizer, completely safe to handle and discard.
11. Low-Flow Showerheads
The average American shower uses over 17 gallons of water, lasting about 8 minutes. However, on long days or mornings when we’re not in a rush to get off to work, we tend to take our time. After all, showers feel amazing!
Low-flow showerheads can trickle out as little as 0.75 gallons of water a minute, meaning an 8-minute shower would take only 6 gallons of water. Saving roughly 10 gallons of water every day would mean each person is saving 3,650 gallons of water a year.
If every American used only one eco-friendly product, a low-flow showerhead, we would save 1.2 trillion gallons of water a year!
12. Bio-degradable Trash bags
Finally, the average American produces over 2,000 pounds of trash per year. Multiply that by our 327.2 million population and you get a lot of trash. A lot of trash means a lot of trash bags.
Bio-degradable trash bags use synthetic plastics made from corn, vegetable oils, and grains. In other words, they are renewable, compostable resources.
Respecting Our Planet
The whole point of using eco-friendly products is to show a little more respect for our planet. Mother Earth provides everything for us, and we are doing a disservice to her based on how we live.
Many of our normal ways of life in this society are causing irreversible damage to the planet we call home.
If something big doesn’t happen soon, if we don’t make major changes, our children and grandchildren will pay the consequences. We may likely not be around for it, but it is the fate we are leaving to them.
Start going green today. Don’t use laziness or inconvenience as an excuse. Before long, excuses or not, our planet will stop providing for us.
Click here for more articles on the environment and climate change to find out more about positive changes you can make!