Have you been thinking about joining the eco-friendly squad, but don’t know how to get started? Perhaps you don’t know what the term means and how important it is to get acquainted with it. Most people think their contribution, whether big or small, might not have an impact in the never-ending fight to end pollution -of any kind- and for that reason, they never get around to taking action.
The term eco-friendly translates to “not harmful to the environment” and it involves a sustainable lifestyle that makes it easy for humankind to coexist with nature in a reciprocal manner: you got my back, I got yours. Trying to get rid of plastic, and other contaminants, as a whole can be a difficult task because its usage is prevalent within any industry. But it is well known that plastic pollution, as a global threat, is far more harmful to our health than people want to believe. Therefore, they keep “benefiting” from the “convenience” of consuming it without taking into account that in fact, the toxic chemicals plastic items are made out of are a detriment to their health as they are released into the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Chemicals such as BPA, PBDE, and TBBPA are hormone disruptors that manufacturers add to plastic in order to make it perform in certain ways, with flexibility and strength being major traits. The level of toxicity found in the human body that is derived from plastic is alarming, and because plastic toxicity occurs over time, it is hard to catch unless an illness strikes. Constant exposure can lead to cancer, birth defects, impaired immunity, and endocrine disruption. For that reason, we must avoid plastic and start nourishing our bodies the right way, so we can maintain a higher level of sustainability.
Although it would be premature to say that plastic pollution one day will be over, we can definitely make a remarkable difference by creating awareness and taking baby steps towards greater adjustments.
Here are some of the easiest eco-friendly items to get started:
Reusable Shopping Bags: In some states, these bags are a requirement due to bans and regulations limiting the use of plastic carryout bags. By investing in reusable bags, you are minimizing the production and consumption of disposable plastic bags, that more often than not end up in our ocean and pollute the water of the fish we eat. Some supermarket chains such as Whole Foods Market reward you with a 10 cent rebate for bringing your own bag. Not only will your bags be paid for after a certain amount of time, but you will keep making money every time you shop.
Reusable Cups: Although, it can be hard to remember to bring your reusable mug/tumbler/bottle/cup along at the beginning, acquiring one will not only lower the waste management environmental impacts but also will prevent plastic toxins from leaching into your bloodstream. Stainless steel and glass liquid containers are a great alternative to traditional styrofoam, plastic or paper cups.
Reusable Cutlery: Plastic cutlery wastes a lot of resources and is rarely recycled. So, when looking to reduce plastic use, investing in a good set of bamboo cutlery to carry around is the way to go. Bamboo is a popular material within the eco-friendly world because neither pesticides nor chemicals are used when cultivating it. Prices vary depending on how many pieces you would like, but a simple three-piece set (fork, knife, and spoon) starts at $9.00. Check out Amazon’s wide selection. Reusable straws are also an increasingly popular option, so check out our article on the topic here.
Reusable Makeup Wipes: Have you ever taken a minute to think about how the use of these wipes affects our environment? Wipes are made out of a mix of fibers, and not all of them biodegradable, so it takes years for these so-called “beauty essentials” to break down in the landfill. Fortunately, there are a few 100 percent biodegradable wipes on the market, for those who are not quite yet ready to give up the “convenience.” Yes To is an awesome eco-friendly brand you might want to check out. But, if you are ready to trade convenience for sustainability, the bamboo reusable makeup remover pads are a must-have. Online retailers have a vast variety you can choose from.
Habits are hard to break but practice makes perfect. This planet is our home and taking care of it is taking care of us.
by Cynthia Paola Batista