As individuals with an incredible amount of buying power, we have a unique responsibility when it comes to being a responsible consumer. And with a world of options at our fingertips, it should be no surprise that some choices are better than others.
Our purchases can either contribute to the downward spiral of social and environmental havoc, or they can be a positive influence in our economy by inspiring healthier and more socially responsible choices. There is always an unseen cost or an unseen benefit of our purchases!
To get you started on being a responsible consumer, we’ve pulled together a simple list of three products you should strike off your shopping list, plus a few alternatives you can use instead:
1. Bottled Water
There’s a reason that bottled water tends to top the list of environmentally costly items. With 1,500 plastic water bottles consumed every second in the United States, it’s easy to see that the creation and waste of these items is a severe issue.
Built with an intentionally limited lifespan, plastic water bottles are quickly discarded improperly, adding to the vast amount of waste we contribute each year. 80 percent of bottles never even get recycled. Purchasing disposable water bottles is also cash down the drain and a health hazard due to the chemicals that leach into your water as you use them.
Your best alternative? Carry a reusable water bottle that is Bisphenol A (BPA) free; we recommend stainless steel or glass options. Here are a couple of great options straight from Amazon: Nalgene, Ello and Contigo.
2. Paper Coffee Cups
How many times do you grab a coffee on your way to work or class out of habit? How many times do you experience that brief blip of guilt when you toss it empty into the trashcan?
Even the most environmentally-friendly paper coffee cup is detrimental to the environment. Although most seem recyclable, they often are not—that plastic-like film inside the paper shell cannot be broken down in most recycling facilities. Similarly, the process of creating the cups is actually a pretty nasty process: these factories consume massive amounts of fuel and water, and expel harmful waste and pollution.
Using paper coffee cups is also an expensive habit! You’ll quickly discover that by using your own reusable travel mug you could reduce the cost of your coffee by up to 25 cents for every single use – that adds up!
3. Plastic Grocery Bags
Paper or plastic? There’s the question.
Unless you live in a city that purposely prohibits the option of plastic bags in stores, it’s likely you are given a choice between paper or plastic when you reach the checkout. While the options may seem harmless, what you choose does indeed have an impact. Those plastic bags you carry drain resources and clog landfills—and when they are improperly discarded they make their way into water sources, wreaking havoc on wildlife.
What can you do instead? Take your reusable bag with you (we like these because they fit in your pocket or purse so you won’t forget) or opt for paper and recycle it later.
What do you do in daily life to limit your environmental impact? Let us know in the comments! We're always eager to hear new ideas.
Published for Care2 at: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/3-products-you-should-never-buy-again.html#ixzz46IX64M1k