The trash can is full again? Most what is in there are plastic products or what is left remaining of the plastic package? Clean environment and importance of waste management are topics that are solved by governments and municipalities, however each of us can help the cause and participate in zero waste movement. If you are into it and interested you are in the right place. This article touches upon the trends in consumer choices regarding sustainable products for home.
What is sustainable product?
As Wikipedia states, sustainable product provides economical benefit while preserving environment and public health over its life cycle. It is important to clarify, that not only product itself must be from organic materials and Eco friendly, but also the production process and the resource base management impacts whether product is sustainable. That said, there is a lot going on behind a scenes in order to make product sustainable. If we as consumers choose the products solely on the premise of convenience, disposability and cost, not taking into account how this product will impact environment, it might be more costly in the long run not only for me but also for future generations.
The products which cause problems with an environment
Before I make a list of most wanted environment friendly products, it is important to list those products that can and are causing damage to environment. You might be surprised for some of them being on this list.
Paper coffee cups – Pure paper cup would not keep hot coffee without leaking it. Most paper cups can’t be recycled because they are coated in plastic. It is estimated that annually 70 cups are disposed per one human worldwide.
Plastic bags – Regarded as most damaging source of today s pollution. Some estimates show that there is around 500 billion bags used globally every year. They harm wildlife, clog sewage systems and are aesthetic just about to every environment, exception being few minutes of a floating bag from a movie the American Beauty.
Plastic water bottles – A million plastic bottles are bought every minute worldwide. According to Guardian by 2021 annual consumption of water bottles will top half a trillion. China as the major recycler of waste from west just closed their harbors in 2018, making other developing countries to accept the burden.
Tea bags – Traditional paper tea bags contain tiny portion of plastic in them to make them sturdy enough to keep the tee inside them. However, tea producing companies are increasingly using new formulas of nylon or PET, to produce teabags, that are 100% from unfriendly material.
Coffee pods – It is no wonder that this product has gained such a rapid popularity – 29% of USA house holds own a coffee pod machine. Product is very convenient with gourmet-quality coffee provided. A Billion of plastic pods fill the landfills every year, and coffee companies state that they address this issue.
Disposable single use razors – Mostly through high costs of carbon intensive production of steel and plastic this product can be included in this list. Estimates show that approximately 2 billion razors are discarded in the USA alone.
Chopsticks – Estimates show that from 4-20 million trees are cut annually to produce single use chopsticks that are disposed immediately after meal. Not only that, they are also treated with chemicals that may cause respiratory disorders. Some sources claim that chopsticks are produced in labor camps.
Disposable wipes – Although wipes mostly are labeled as flushable, they are different from toilet paper, contain plastic and don’t break down easily.
Menstrual products – 12 billion sanitary pads and 7 billion tampons are used and disposed in US alone. The environment friendly products in this industries are gaining popularity.
Food packaging – All this paper and plastic that goes into packaging is still on the rise. However, there are supply from stores where you can buy in bulk and come with your own reusable bag. Polystyrene materials are not biodegradable and difficult to recycle.
Plastic straws – Around 400 million plastic straws are used daily in USA alone. If straw is finds itself in the ocean (the straws are one of the most found trash in the ocean) it is eaten by fish and sea animals.
Popular sustainable products today
Making my own research online by comparing search volumes for various products I made my list of top five popular sustainable products. I do not claim that they are most popular by any means, but I am confident that I am not far from truth.
Reusable straws – The interest for reusable straws is increasing by every month and is on the top of the list. There are various reusable straws you can find online, the most popular are produced from a silicone, steal and bamboo.
Sandwich bags – The bags for snacks and sandwiches are second on the list. The bags made from materials such as recycled PET or natural cotton with beeswax are best environment friendly choice.
Eco friendly grocery bags – Cotton muslin bags, mesh bags or tote bags are among popular ones as well as bags from recycled PET. You just need to decide what goods are going into the bag and choose accordingly.
Biodegradable poop bags – Please make sure you choose bags that meet ASTM D6400 criteria, that is a must for any bag that qualifies as biodegradable.
Biodegradable wipes – Do not flush into the toilet any wipes, biodegradable or not, this action causes enormous damage for wild life due to chemicals and plastic substance that wipes have. There are political efforts in UK to ban single use plastic polyester wipes with legislation. Biodegradable wipes are affordable and many companies promote them, but even these are much less effective comparing to cleanser and washable cotton flannel.
There are also good demand and interest in such nature friendly products as Compostable trash bags, Biodegradable soap, Biodegradable toothbrush, Reusable water bottles and Compostable plates.
Trends in household sustainable products
Addressing environmental issues large and small brands are offering plethora of choice for house holds to be more environment conscious and thus aware of plastic problem we face. It does not take long to adjust an attitude towards environmentalism as more information about plastic pollution problem is consumed. Here is the list of some noticeable trends of products that are taking shape.
Natural home cleaning kits.
Biodegradable food containers.
Dishtowels and bamboo alternatives.
Reusable coffee filters and loose tea infusers.
Eco conscious bread packaging.
Make decision and replace one product today
Did you decide already which product to replace as your first to take step and help environment? Or you have already made steps towards sustainable and zero waste household? I hope this article helped you to get more ideas for improvement. My personal choice is to get rid of disposable single use razors. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.