21 Habits That Are Bad for the Environment — Best Life (2022)

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. And while there are no benefits of this terrible contagion, now that so many of us are in quarantine, it's become apparent how much our day-to-day life wreaks havoc on the planet. In fact, air pollution decreased across Europe and China almost overnight since people started to stay in their homes. In London, for example, average air pollution levels have fallen to their lowest since 2000, according to the London Air Quality Network. But what exactly has caused this drop in pollution? Well, it's a direct result of people not partaking in certain habits. To help you learn what you've been doing that's bad for the environment, we talked to experts to gather a list of habits you should kick to help save the Earth this year.

1

Driving too much

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One of the largest contributors to pollution is the gas emission that comes from cars. "Drop driving as much as possible. Switch to using a bicycle or public transportation. This reduces your carbon footprint, increases your activity level, and is usually more cost-effective," says sustainability expert Galina Witting, co-founder of Baabuk. If you can't bike to work, try to carpool with a colleague to reduce your carbon footprint.

2

Buying fast fashion

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Fast fashion companies are another detriment to the environment. "The fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of global emissions, and fast-fashion only exacerbates the problem," says Witting. "Rather than choosing the cheap synthetic-fiber shirt that you'll wear only once, pick the quality-made natural fiber option that has less harm on the planet."

3

Throwing out items in good condition

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Ensuring items have a long life helps the Earth have a healthier life, too. But in the name of decluttering, people often end up tossing things that could either be repurposed or given to someone else, causing a perfectly good shirt or blanket to end up in a landfill. Witting urges people to "repurpose what they can and otherwise recycle items."

4

Buying single-use items

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21 Habits That Are Bad for the Environment — Best Life (4)

We all tend to rely on plastic wrap and single-use plastic bags when packing up our lunches or leftovers. But reducing, reusing, and recycling has never been easier with so many companies providing sustainable alternatives to those everyday products. Replace plastic wrap with beeswax reusable wrap and swap plastic sandwich bags withreusable silicone bags—these small changes can make a huge difference.

5

Drinking bottled water

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We have been told to stop buying bottled water for years now, but many people are still doing it. If you need a reminder, know that plastic can take up to 450 years to biodegrade, inflicting years of damage on the Earth. Some people have converted to toting refillable water bottles that keep their water intake up and save the Earth—and it's something you should consider, too. Water is a natural resource that should not be placed in a harmful chemical casing when we can just as easily get it from the sink.

6

Using tampons and pads

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Over half of the population is made up of women and most of those women will have their period almost every month for about 40 years—meaning we use a ton of feminine hygiene products that create non-recyclable byproducts. How much, you may be wondering? According to Julie Weigaard Kjaer, CEO and co-founder of Ruby Cup, "The average person who has periods will use up to 12,000 disposable period products over the course of a lifetime. … A menstrual pad contains the same amount of plastic as four carrier bags. A tampon takes 500 years to decompose." Swapping pads and tampons for reusable menstrual cups like Ruby Cup or period underwear from brands like Thinx and Knix can drastically minimize your negative impact on the environment.

7

Using utilities at 6:00 pm

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This may seem like an oddly specific request. But, as energy expert and CEO of OhmConnectCisco DeVries explains, "during peak energy times like 6 p.m., utilities respond to the surge in demand by firing up inefficient—read: CO2 intensive—auxiliary 'peaker' plants, passing this cost onto consumers." According to Devries, peaker plants produce two to three times the carbon emissions of a conventional plant. So this process harms both the environment and your energy bill. DeVries suggests people try turning appliances on earlier in the day (if possible) when energy is sourced from more eco-friendly sources.

8

Using pesticides and weed killers

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A 2009 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows overwhelming evidence that pesticides pose a potential risk to humans and have unwanted side effects on the environment, too. Kick these pesticides to the curb and use natural methods to maintain your garden instead.

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9

Importing goods

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Our society has become very reliant on express shipping and online shopping, but these practices come with negative side effects for the environment when you consider all the emissions that go into getting your goods from one side of the globe to another.

Instead, we should be shopping locally. "One of the most potent ways to transform our economic system while also lightening our footprint on the Earth is by sourcing our staples locally instead of importing them from afar, especially food, power, and money," says professional surfer and environmental activistLauren Hill.

10

Eating a lot of meat

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Meat consumption has to go down worldwide if we want to save our planet. A 2019 report in The Lanceturges people to adopt a largely plant-based diet with occasional allowances for meat, dairy, and sugar. This means being conscious of your meat intake and minimizing it where you can. We're not saying you have to go full vegetarian, but adding in Meatless Mondays could be hugely beneficial for the environment. According toThe Guardian, beef consumption needs to drop 90 percent and should be replaced with five times more beans and legumes to avoid dangerous climate change effects.

11

Buying more food than you need

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People often stock up in grocery stores, tossing anything they want at the moment into their cart without considering if they actually need that item. In the U.S. alone, 30 to 40 percent of food is wasted. Especially at a time like this, we should all only be buying what we need. Next time you're at the grocery store, try to only buy what you know you will use, especially when it comes to perishable goods.

12

Throwing out produce

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If you tend to be an overzealous shopper, you likely end up throwing out a handful of produce each week, which is a waste of Earth's resources. Make it a point to use every piece of produce possible in your meal plans and snack on the rest. It's also helpful to learn how to use every part of a vegetable, even the scraps.

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13

Using 60-watt lightbulbs

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If you haven't made the switch to LED light bulbs, the time is now! Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs release 90 percent of their energy as heat, so only 10 percent of the energy is actually going towards creating light.

14

Leaving the water running

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Leaving the water running during the few minutes you're brushing your teeth or shampooing your hair might not seem like a huge deal, but a lot of energy went into treating the water running through your faucet or shower head. Conserving water is essential to maintaining a healthy planet, especially in communities where there is a drought.

15

Running small loads in the dishwasher or washing machine

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Having a washing machine and dishwasher in your home are modern luxuries that we have come to take advantage of. But be cognizant of how much you are putting in these machines. According to the University of Michigan's Planet Blue, "The average washing machine uses 13,500 gallons of water per year. That is as much water as you will drink in your lifetime." Make sure to run only full loads so you can to get the most out of each wash.

16

Throwing out recyclables

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It's easy to toss something in the trash without realizing it's recyclable, but taking the time to recycle can help the planet for years to come. Study up on what items can be recycled and be sure to put them in the correct bin to avoid a wasted opportunity to recycle.

17

Putting non-recyclable items in the recycling bin

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On that same note, you also don't want to recycle items that don't belong in recycling bins. Admittedly, recycling can be confusing. There are quite a few items—like styrofoam and plastic grocery bags—that seem like they should be recyclable, but in fact, are not. But it's worth it to get informed because chucking non-recyclables in recycling bins messes with the recycling process and could potentially negate an entire batch of recyclables.

18

Using paper towels

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Understandably, it may be second nature to rip off a paper towel sheet from the roll to wipe up a mess or when drying a dish since that's likely what you have done your whole life. But consider that the U.S. alone produces 3,000 tons of paper towel waste a day. If you train yourself, reaching for a reusable towel option instead of a paper towel will begin to feel natural.

19

Throwing out electronics

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We generate around40 million tons of electronic waste every year, worldwide. According to theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 U.S. homes in a year. For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered." So next time you are getting rid of your electronics, be sure to do some quick research on where you can recycle themproperly.

20

Getting bills in the mail

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Everything can be electronic now, from ordering food to getting receipts, so there's no need to get so much paper in the mail. Switch over to online billing for your credit cards, rent, and utilities to save piles of paper each month. It's not only better for the Earth, but also more efficient for you.

21

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Printing single-sided documents

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Going completely paperless is preferable and definitely doable in our digital world. However, if you do need a physical copy of your documents, don't print them single-sided. Select the option to print your papers double-sided, which cuts your paper waste in half with the click of a button!

FAQs

What is the most harmful thing for the environment? ›

Here's some things doing way more harm than good.
  1. Paper Coffee Cups. Thinkstock. ...
  2. Plastic Shopping Bags. Thinkstock. ...
  3. Plastic Water Bottles. Thinkstock. ...
  4. Polystyrene Foam Takeout Containers. Thinkstock. ...
  5. Batteries. Thinkstock. ...
  6. FOOD. Thinkstock. ...
  7. Ink Cartridges. Thinkstock. ...
  8. Junk Mail. Thinkstock.
29 Aug 2016

What is bad for nature? ›

Humans impact the physical environment in many ways: overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels, and deforestation. Changes like these have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water.

What are 10 ways humans impact the environment? ›

At least, you need to be aware of all the factors that contribute to this state and share the knowledge.
  • Overpopulation. Source: Diy13/iStock. ...
  • Pollution. Source: zeljkosantrac/iStock. ...
  • Global Warming. ...
  • Climate Change. ...
  • Genetic Modification. ...
  • Ocean Acidification. ...
  • Water Pollution. ...
  • Overfishing.
22 Jun 2020

What do you avoid doing to protect the environment? ›

Conserve electricity.
  • Consume less. Curbing consumption can have a huge impact on the environment. ...
  • Compost. ...
  • Choose reusable over single-use. ...
  • Upcycle more. ...
  • Recycle properly. ...
  • Shop secondhand. ...
  • Buy local. ...
  • Use fewer chemicals.

What is an unhealthy environment for a child? ›

Environmental risks, such as air pollution, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, second-hand smoke, and inadequate hygiene, kill 1.7 million children under 5 every year. Children are especially vulnerable in the early stages of development, and environmental hazards can lead to premature births and other complications.

How can we save environment in our daily life? ›

Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Help Protect the Earth
  1. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. ...
  2. Volunteer. Volunteer for cleanups in your community. ...
  3. Educate. ...
  4. Conserve water. ...
  5. Choose sustainable. ...
  6. Shop wisely. ...
  7. Use long-lasting light bulbs. ...
  8. Plant a tree.
11 Aug 2021

How do we destroy nature? ›

Some examples include the mining of natural resources like coal, the hunting and fishing of animals for food, and the clearing of forests for urbanization and wood use. Extensive overuse of nonrenewable resources, like fossil fuels, can cause great harm to the environment.

What make our environment dirty? ›

Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural, such as volcanic ash. They can also be created by human activity, such as trash or runoff produced by factories.

What are things that are not sustainable? ›

Examples of unsustainable resources are: Fossil Fuels: they come from the earth, are not reusable, and will someday be depleted. Agricultural Practices: land conversion and habitat loss(rainforest deforestation)

What are harmful products? ›

Products that we use daily, such as household cleaners, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, gasoline, alcohol, pesticides, fuel oil and cosmetics, can also be toxic. Any chemical can be toxic or harmful under certain conditions.

What are 3 environmental issues? ›

Major current environmental issues may include climate change, pollution, environmental degradation, and resource depletion. The conservation movement lobbies for protection of endangered species and protection of any ecologically valuable natural areas, genetically modified foods and global warming.

Is eating eggs bad for environment? ›

Egg production releases significantly less polluting emissions, including 71 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions. Today it takes 32 percent less water to produce a dozen eggs. Today's hens use a little over half the amount of feed to produce a dozen eggs.

Is sugar bad for the environment? ›

Sugar mills produce wastewater, emissions and solid waste that impact the environment. The massive quantities of plant matter and sludge washed from mills decompose in freshwater bodies, absorbing all the available oxygen and leading to massive fish kills.

What are positive and negative changes in the environment? ›

Humans and the environment

Humans affect the environment in positive and negative ways. Cutting down trees and littering have a negative effect on animals and plants. Protecting endangered species and cleaning lakes and seas has a positive effect on the environment.

What are 3 ways humans positively impact the environment? ›

Let's get started!
  • Unplug Devices and Appliances.
  • Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs.
  • Recycle When You Can.
  • Cut Back on Water Usage.
  • Plant a Tree.
  • Consume Less Meat.
  • Reduce Unnecessary Waste.
  • Reuse as Much as Possible.
1 Feb 2022

What are the human activities that destroy the environment essay? ›

Soil erosion:

ADVERTISEMENTS: The anthropogenic processes like deforestation and overgrazing induce soil erosion which causes soil moisture reduction, lowering of productivity, decline in soil fertility etc.

How can we save the Earth 10 lines? ›

10 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth
  1. Conserve Water. The little things can make a big difference. ...
  2. Be Car-conscious. If you can, stay off the road two days a week or more. ...
  3. Walk, Bike or Take Public Transit. Walking and biking are obvious ways to reduce greenhouse gases. ...
  4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. ...
  5. Give Composting a Try.
20 Apr 2022

Why should we protect our environment any 10 points? ›

Protecting our environment is the foundation for sustaining our planet, community and economy. Our environment supports and houses our ecosystems, allowing them to grow and thrive. If we fail to protect our environment, we will put the lives of humans, animals, plants and more at risk.

What are 5 environmental risks? ›

A number of specific environmental issues can impede human health and wellness. These issues include chemical pollution, air pollution, climate change, disease-causing microbes, lack of access to health care, poor infrastructure, and poor water quality.

What are the five environmental factors? ›

Air, water, climate, soil, natural vegetation and landforms are all environmental factors. By definition, the environmental factors affect everyday living, and play a key role in bringing health differences across the geographic areas.

How does home environment affect health? ›

The human mind and body are interconnected and can be affected by many things, including the environment you live in. A peaceful and visually appealing home setting can create a greater sense of wellbeing than a cluttered, chaotic home. Even the color of your walls and furnishings can affect your mental health.

How can a student save the environment? ›

7 ways college students can help save the environment — and not...
  1. Reduce single-use plastic waste. ...
  2. Find other ways to get around. ...
  3. Buy clothing and other items at thrift stores. ...
  4. Make changes to the way you wash your clothes. ...
  5. Try eating less meat. ...
  6. Join the sharing economy. ...
  7. Turn off the lights.
21 Nov 2021

How I care for the environment every day? ›

The three main things to remember when it comes to caring for the environment are: Reduce the amount of rubbish you throw away and the amount of water you use. Reuse things where you can, like water bottles. Recycle rubbish by sorting it out into bins for different materials like paper, plastic, tin and more.

How can I protect my nature essay? ›

How to Conserve Nature and Its Resources?
  1. Reduce Water Consumption.
  2. Reduce Usage of Electricity.
  3. Restrict Usage of Paper.
  4. Use Newer Agricultural Methods.
  5. Spread Awareness.

What isn't eco friendly? ›

Products that are not that eco friendly
  • Plastic Christmas trees. Many people think that despite being made of plastic, which is obviously not great for the planet, you can reuse it for years to come, rather than chopping down a living tree. ...
  • Preserved flowers. ...
  • Paper coffee cups and lids.
14 Apr 2022

Is plastic bad for the environment? ›

Plastic fills our dumps, homes and oceans. Plastic pollution takes a huge toll on wildlife: More than 700 species, including sea turtles, fish and whales, eat plastic or get tangled up in it. Plastic will soon outweigh all the fish in the sea, and it's in our drinking water and on our plates.

What is another word for bad environment? ›

What is another word for environmentally unfriendly?
detrimentaldamaging
harmfuladverse
balefuldeleterious
illinjurious
perniciousprejudicial
238 more rows

What is an unhealthy environment for a child? ›

Environmental risks, such as air pollution, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, second-hand smoke, and inadequate hygiene, kill 1.7 million children under 5 every year. Children are especially vulnerable in the early stages of development, and environmental hazards can lead to premature births and other complications.

What can replace plastic bottles? ›

Two prominent examples include paper water bottles and paper shower-friendly shampoo bottles. Reusable containers have gained popularity as well. Metal and glass water bottles have emerged as an eco-friendly way to reuse and reduce.

Whats the opposite of going green? ›

What is the opposite of environmentally friendly?
ungreenpolluting
detrimentaltoxic
unsafenegative
environmentally unfriendlynon-eco-friendly
antigreennon-eco
5 more rows

Is glass bad for the environment? ›

When glass breaks down, it remains safe and stable, and releases no harmful chemicals into the soil. So even when glass isn't recycled, it does minimal harm to the environment.

What are 5 examples of plastic waste? ›

Food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic grocery bags, plastic straws, and stirrers are the next most common items. Many of us use these products every day, without even thinking about where they might end up.

Is recycling bad for the environment? ›

By reducing air and water pollution and saving energy, recycling offers an important environmental benefit: it reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons, that contribute to global climate change.

How do you say negative effect? ›

detrimental
  1. adverse,
  2. bad,
  3. baleful,
  4. baneful,
  5. damaging,
  6. dangerous,
  7. deleterious,
  8. evil,

What are 5 words that relate to environmental science? ›

WORDS RELATED TO ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
  • ecology.
  • environmental control.
  • environmental impact analysis.
  • environmental management.
  • environmental monitoring.
  • environmental policy.
  • environmental science.
  • environmentology.

What's a word for negative impact? ›

What is another word for negative impact?
aftermathblowback
damaging effectdeleterious effect
destructive effectdetrimental effect
harmful effectinjurious effect
negative outcomeruinous effect
19 more rows

What are 5 environmental risks? ›

A number of specific environmental issues can impede human health and wellness. These issues include chemical pollution, air pollution, climate change, disease-causing microbes, lack of access to health care, poor infrastructure, and poor water quality.

What are the five environmental factors? ›

Air, water, climate, soil, natural vegetation and landforms are all environmental factors. By definition, the environmental factors affect everyday living, and play a key role in bringing health differences across the geographic areas.

What are the causes of dirty environment? ›

5 kinds of environmental pollution caused by waste that you should know:
  • The burning of fossil fuels like oil, gas or coal.
  • The exhaust fumes from your vehicles.
  • The mismanagement of landfill waste caused by garbage pollution.
  • The harmful fragrance or off-gasing from plastic production, paints and so on.
30 Jan 2017

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