By Project Wellness Now
You recycle. You have a refillable coffee-to-go mug. You support farm-to-table whenever you can. If eco-friendly products and green habits are the default mode for you, super. You’re doing a great job at keeping the planet going ’round.
But don’t rest on your laurels yet. There’s always room for improvement in everything we do, especially when it comes to saving the earth. You’ve got the green living basics down — here are some more obscure ways you can raise the eco bar and reduce your carbon footprint even further.
Are you guilty of these daily habits that are bad for the planet?
Bad Habit #1: You Own Too Many Clothes
Every year, Americans generate 25 billion pounds of textiles. 85 percent of it ends up in landfills (1). Meanwhile, they are throwing away over ten million tons of clothing each year, not recycling it. The average person throws away 70 pounds of textiles per year per person!
There is a serious textile waste problem here, and it’s been growing for over thirty years. Compared to 1980, Americans purchase five times more clothing these days. You can only wear one pair of pants at a time — chances are, you own too many clothes.
Work at this bad habit from both ends:
* Consider cutting back on the retail therapy outings or internet shopping sprees
* Recycle your old clothing rather than throwing it away
There are companies that recycle textile waste, which the U.S. EPA says accounts for 5 percent of landfill space (2).
Bad Habit #2: You’re Leaving Your Chargers Plugged In
A lot of people assume that once they connect their mobile phone from the charger, there’s no longer any power usage. That’s a big mistake, and if you study your utility bills, you’ll see why. Called vampire power, phantom load, or standby power, it’s the energy suck that our gadget wires pull down even when our gadgets aren’t plugged in.
Think it’s not a big deal? Standby power costs $3 billion a year, and that’s just in the United States (3). TVs and microwaves can actually use more energy in “standby” mode than overall energy use in “active’” mode.
Unless you want to spend your days plugging in and unplugging your gadgets, use a power strip with a master on/off button. Cut the power to a whole group of electronics at once with the flip of a switch.
Bad Habit #3: You’re Addicted to Body Wash
Oh, those lovely suds. That wonderful exfoliating body scrubbie. We love our liquid body washes but guess what: the planet hates them. Compared to good old-fashioned bar soap, body wash requires five times more energy to produce. Even the packaging for a body wash is non-green: it takes 20 times more energy than the simple paper wrapping of bar soaps.
Then there’s a secondary bad habit associated with body wash: everybody uses too much! We overdo it with liquid hand soap and we overdo it in the shower too.
Bad Habit #4: You’re Still Drinking Bottled Water
This is a hard habit to break, given the convenience factor and the health risks of drinking contaminated water. But come on, there are better alternatives than stuffing landfills with your discarded plastic bottles. And yes, over 80 percent of used plastic water bottles do become litter (4).
Most bottled water is just tap water anyway (4). Consider quelling the bottled water habit and switching to a filter at home and a reusable water bottle on the go.