Being sustainable has become quite a ~trend~ recently. Whether you’re trying to use less waste, protect the planet or simply not get yelled at by your environmentalist friends, using products that are environmentally friendly is a big hit. However, not all products that are promoted as “sustainable” are actually as good for the environment as they seem. Here are just a few of the products that you definitely shouldn’t be going out of your way to use.
Strawless lids for iced beverages
Once millions of people got on board with not using straws, many companies [including Starbucks] began offering strawless lids for iced beverages. It seems like a great idea right? Well, these lids actually use more plastic than the original straw and lid duo. Instead of asking for this lid [where applicable], get a regular lid and your own reusable straw, or better yet, just bring your own reusable cup!
Organic fruits and veggies
Eating organic has also become quite a hit because these items use less [or no] pesticides, which a lot of people associate with being sustainable. This, however, is quite the opposite. Organic items are often wrapped in plastic to keep them away from non-organic items in the stores. They are also transported further [using more fuel] than their non-organic counterparts. If you do want produce that doesn’t use as many pesticides AND are better for the planet, head to your local farmers market [don’t forget your reusable bags 🙂 ]
Specific dairy-free milk
I know what you’re all thinking: Alicia… you’re vegan! How can you tell me that I shouldn’t be buying dairy-free milk? However, when it comes to sustainability, certain milks use more resources than others. Almond milk and soy milk [while delicious] use WAY more water to make as opposed to other milk alternatives. Oat milk uses the least amount of water, so, the next time you’re getting dairy-free milk, always opt for oat. 🙂
Buying in bulk
Stores like Costco and Sam’s Club are very popular because you can buy in bulk and save money [and plastic]. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best idea. I cannot deny that Costco is a Godsend for certain items such as coffee, protein powders, nuts, toilet paper, etc. For produce, unless you live in a house of 18, not so much. My family of four has to throw away so much food every week because we like to buy in bulk. Food waste ends up in landfills and produces a lot of methane [side tip: composting food scraps reduces this issue!]. Only buy what you need from the grocery store. Worse comes to worst, you make a last-minute grocery trip mid-week for some onions rather than buying too much and disposing of the majority. And, if you are buying in bulk [or not for that matter], always bring reusable bags for produce, checking out, and jars for oats, nuts, etc.
Your coffee maker
We all know how wasteful Keurigs and other one-cup coffee makers are. However, have you ever thought about the waste your coffee pot makes? A lot of coffee pots are 12-cups. What do you need for every pot of coffee you make? A coffee filter and 12 cups of water [there are some coffee pots that don’t require the full twelve cups of water to brew… So if you don’t need to make 12 cups of coffee, don’t!]. Most people don’t drink the full 12 cups of coffee, especially when the coffee maker is in your home. By disposing of these extra cups of coffee aka WATER as well as a coffee filter, a lot of waste really adds up. Opt for coffee makers that are zero waste such as a French press.
Organic cotton tampons
Cotton tampons are marketed as sustainable and are even sometimes sold in glass containers. These still produce waste and just because they are pretty, more expensive and use less packaging, that does not make them an end all be all to the feminine product realm. Instead of those organic tampons, opt for a period cup [I use the Saalt Cup and it really has changed my life and my monthly amount of waste] instead!
The term sustainable is constantly being shoved down our throats. However, not everything is as it seems. Always do your research on how environmentally friendly an item is before purchasing to keep our planet around for as long as we can!