Health

10 Things That Are More Harmful For The Environment Than You Think

Are your daily habits doing more harm than good? Our earth’s landfills are getting larger by the second. Make a big impact by reducing your personal waste and #DontFeedTheLandfills.

It’s no secret that landfills are a massive problem. They release hazardous toxins into the environment which cause air and water pollution.

Each year, we’re throwing away more and more trash that contributes to these landfills.

Each year, we're throwing away more and more trash that contributes to these landfills.

Ray Van Eng Photography / Getty Images / Via gettyimages.com

Two dump trucks unloading garbage collected from the Greater Vancouver area onto landfill in June 2010.

It’s scary, yes. But there are so many things we can do to protect ourselves and protect our precious planet.

It's scary, yes. But there are so many things we can do to protect ourselves and protect our precious planet.

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Here’s some things doing way more harm than good.

1. Paper Coffee Cups

Paper Coffee Cups

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The ugly: Americans chug approximately 23 billion cups of coffee out of paper cups per year. All those cups get tossed out and contribute to our growing landfills.

The good: Some coffee shops offer discounts when you bring a reusable cup, since you’re using less product from them. Save $$ and the planet by switching away from paper to-go cups.

2. Plastic Shopping Bags

Plastic Shopping Bags

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The ugly: It could take up to 100 years for your plastic bags to breakdown, as they’re not biodegradable. ALSO an estimated100,000 animals die every year from plastic bag consumption. :(

The good: Many states have passed bans and fees on plastic bag usage. You can personally make a HUGE difference by bringing your own canvas totes next time you go shopping.

3. Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic Water Bottles

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The ugly: Facts are facts. An estimated 38 billion plastic water bottles are not getting recycled every single year. These bottles wind up in the ocean, harming marine animals, or in the landfills, decomposing into toxic waste.

The good: Chances are you drink from it once then immediately throw it away. Why not just get a cool bottle that you can keep forever? You’d also save money and help keep all those bottles out of landfills.

4. Polystyrene Foam Takeout Containers

Polystyrene Foam Takeout Containers

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The ugly: Polystyrene foam is a nonrenewable material, which means it can’t be recycled. Americans love takeout food so much but probably don’t realize that not only can this material release toxins into your food if it’s heated, but it’s also one of the main contributors to landfills.

The good: Recycled paper products are here to stay. Try and stick to those as much as possible.

5. Batteries

Batteries

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The ugly: If not thrown away properly, old batteries tossed in landfills release harmful substances into the earth — into the soil, water, and the very air we breathe!

The good: You CAN recycle batteries, but rechargeable batteries are the best option for you and the planet!

6. FOOD

FOOD

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The ugly: Yeah, we need it to survive, but we’re making too much and therefore throwing away too much. ONE THIRD of our food does not get consumed. ONE. THIRD. And once it ends up in landfills, it decomposes and releases methane into the atmosphere, which is said to contribute to global warming.

The good: Take a moment to be more conscious when you purchase food by only ordering as much as you actually need. When it comes to leftover scraps, start a simple compost pile at home.

7. Ink Cartridges

Ink Cartridges

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The ugly: In one year, approximately 10 million used ink cartridges find themselves left to pollute the Earth in landfill sites.

The good: Our world is becoming more and more digitized by the day, so think twice before you click “print.” If you have old ink cartridges, you can actually sell them and make some cash!

8. Junk Mail

Junk Mail

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The ugly: AKA #instatrash! Enough is enough. In 2006, 105 billion pieces of junk mail were delivered in the United States, which took 100 million trees to make. :(

The good: You can sign up to remove your name from junk mail lists and save the trees!

9. Aluminum Cans

Aluminum Cans

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The ugly: Even though these guys are recyclable, over 38 billion cans wound up in landfills in 2012. To make 1 ton of aluminum cans, 5 tons of waste material is left behind to pollute the land.

The good: Always recycle your cans! Aluminum is a very abundant material and can be repurposed very quickly.

10. Excess Packaging

Excess Packaging

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The ugly: Think about what you buy on a daily basis — how much extra packaging is involved and how unnecessary most of it is. Plastic wrap is non-biodegradable. And the worst part? Every single piece of plastic that has ever been is STILL in existence. Now THAT is truly ugly.

The good: The smallest efforts DO make a big difference. Learn all the ways you can use less plastic right here.

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