5 Bad Habits Most of Us Have Which Kill the Environment
Many of us have the best of intentions when it comes to protecting the environment. But humans are creatures of habit; sometimes we don’t even realise that the actions we’re taking are harmful, and even if we do, habits are pretty hard to break!
Here are a few common habits that have a negative impact on the environment, and some tips to help you make positive changes.
Using Plastic Bags
While plastic bag use has dramatically decreased since the introduction of the 5p charge in 2015, it can still be easy to slip up and forget to take one on your trip to the supermarket.
It’s super important to avoid this bad habit though, because it’s highly likely that any plastic bag you bring home will ultimately end up in the sea, or landfill - which means bad news for the environment!
Instead, try and get into the habit of keeping a reusable bag in your pocket or bag. Make it tote-ally easy by getting organised with this bundle of plastic-free, chic organic cotton bags!
Leaving The Tap On
As demand for water rises with population growth, more and more water is taken from rivers and other sources. Using water efficiently can help to minimise this, helping to protect natural resources and wildlife.
You might not realise it, but certain daily habits and behaviours can be really wasteful.
For example, leaving the tap running while you brush your teeth wastes approximately 6 litres of water per minute. And that’s the tooth… This habit is a super simple one to break - simply turn the tap off until you need to rinse your brush. A friendly, non passive-aggressive post-it note on the bathroom mirror can help remind forgetful family members...
Check out Waterwise for some great tips on how to save water - it could even save you some money!
And while we’re talking teeth, you could also consider swapping your plastic brush for a more environmentally friendly bamboo model!
We all love to bag a bargain, and often the cheapest clothes can be found at high street stores. However, these garments aren’t always particularly well made, so you might find that you need to throw them out not long after buying them - especially if you’re not in the habit of mending clothes.
Many of these items of clothing will end up in landfill, where some can take up to 200 years to decompose. Considering this, coupled with the vast amount of resources that the fashion industry consumes, and it might shock you to learn that fashion is the world’s second largest polluter, after the oil industry!
To do your bit to lessen the negative impact of clothes buying, try to choose clothing made from organic and natural fibers, visit charity shops to pick up a pre-loved bargain, and get into the habit of mending clothes rather than simply chucking them out.
Traveling By Car
If you own a car, it’s all too easy to get into the habit of overusing it. It might seem like the easy option, but the environment certainly won’t thank you for choosing it…
As well as releasing carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air, the motor industry itself has a huge impact on the environment, consuming vast amounts of raw materials and producing lots of waste.
If you can’t avoid owning a car altogether, then taking some steps to reduce usage of your vehicle can at least help minimise your personal impact on the environment. Plus, you’ll be contributing less air pollution to your local area, which in turn has benefits for your own health!
So before you hop in the car to go to the shops, consider whether the journey could be made by another means. Can you use public transport, or even walk? You could also consider setting up a lift share group if you need to commute to work!
(PS If you do need to drive, keep your tires pumped up to make sure your car isn’t having to work too hard, and stick to the speed limit - fuel economy plummets if you drive over 60mph!)
Using Too Much Plastic
The fact is hard to avoid - plastic is everywhere. If you visit the supermarket, you’ll notice that most goods are packaged in plastic: even vegetables!
Plastic takes an incredibly long time to decompose (around 20-500 years), making it a massive environmental pollutant. And most of the plastic we use ends up dumped in landfills, or makes its way to the ocean where it causes huge problems for aquatic wildlife.
While it might seem obvious that large corporations and governments should do more to reduce the use of plastic (wouldn’t that be nice…), in the mean-time there are some simple swaps you can make to lessen your own personal impact.
If you tend to buy water bottles regularly, get yourself a sleek stainless steel water bottle so that you don’t end up throwing out plastic ones. Instead of biodegradable plastic straws, make a swap to reusable ones, and when you order a drink at a bar or restaurant, try to make it a habit to say to the server: ‘No straw, please!’
To further cut back on plastic use, explore plastic-free shopping, visiting shops that allow you to refill shampoo bottles, and buy products like vegetables and grains loose, rather than packaged up. Many of these types of shops also have online delivery options too, like the Good Club, which offers a subscription for monthly zero waste deliveries.
With some simple lifestyle changes, we can all play our part in driving positive change to help the environment. Read about how Green Island is making a difference by reading about their ‘Plant a Tree’ pledge!