How to be More Eco-Friendly

How to be More Eco-Friendly

Chloe Fleming, Editor in Chief

“Eco-friendly” is defined as not being harmful to the environment. There have been many eco-friendly movements sweeping the nation recently. Some advocate for the oceans and reducing the amount of plastic that is being used in our daily lives. They want people to stop using single-use plastics in favor of reusable alternatives, like metal straws and water bottles. Of course, there are plenty of other things that can be replaced to be more eco-friendly, and not only does being eco-friendly focus on reducing plastic but other things as well. In what ways can you be more eco-friendly in your everyday life?

Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean giving up everything that you use that has plastic, chemicals, or things that are bad for the environment. But it does mean making some switches to plastic-free, using resources that are better for the environment and compostable, and using items that can be reused or recycled. The switch to eco-friendly is easy and knowing that you are helping the planet makes it so much better!

Let’s take a closer look at shampoos, sunscreens, and toothbrushes. Shampoo contains chemicals that can be very damaging to your hair and your skin. Additionally, shampoo comes in a plastic bottle, and when produced release tons of byproduct that is terrible for the environment that it eventually gets put into. An eco-friendlier way to use shampoo is shampoo bars, the same goes with conditioner. Depending on the size of the bar, it would be equivalent to two to three bottles of shampoo. The bars are made with less water, don’t come packaged in plastic, and are made of natural materials and oils which are good for the hair. Shampoo bars can be purchased or made at home.

Healthy vs. Bleached corals

While all sunscreens come in a plastic bottle, the actual sunscreen is what is hurting the environment the most. Specific ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate kill and bleach coral reefs and can harm other aquatic species. As you wear sunscreen into water it washes off and enters the water where many things live, these two ingredients when worn into the ocean disrupt coral reproduction and can cause bleaching which makes them lose their color, the algae that live on it, and become extremely brittle. This happens when coral becomes stressed, due to nutrients, light, or water conditions. The solution for this is to use a mineral sunscreen with non-nanotized zinc oxide or titanium oxide. However, even though this sunscreen is better for the corals, it can still be harmful to them because of the other chemicals found within and pollute the water.

Toothbrushes are used by everyone and are always made out of plastic. Plastic production causes lots of harmful byproducts to be released back into the environment, but even worse, the toothbrushes made from plastic never decompose. The average American lives to be around 79-years-old, and dentists recommend getting a new toothbrush every three months. Not counting the first year and a half of life, that adds up to be about 310 toothbrushes for one person. Then think about the population of the United States which is 328.2 million people as of 2019. That’s a lot of plastic being put in landfills that will never break down. Something that you could do to help the amount of plastic being put into landfills due to toothbrushes is use one made from bamboo. Bamboo is a renewable source that grows extremely fast in the right conditions and is very durable. Bamboo is compostable, so it will break down into the earth and become a source of nutrients for other plants. The one downside to the bamboo toothbrushes are the plastic bristles. Before you compost these types of toothbrushes you need to pull out the bristles with tweezers and throw them into the trash. Even though there is still some plastic put into the bamboo product, it is exponentially better for the environment because you are putting fewer plastics into it. Bamboo is a very good resource and over the last few years has been used to replace plastic for disposable silverware, toothbrushes, fabrics, and even plates.

All of the eco-friendly products mentioned make a small change to your life, but a big impact on the environment over time. Using products that help the environment throughout your life can make a huge impact, just think about all of the plastic toothbrushes and shampoo bottles you could save from landfills throughout your life from these switches, or even the corals you could be helping by using mineral sunscreen.

Articles for more information: