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Common Household Items That Are Killing Our Planet

by Lola
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There really is a big problem with some common household items, but what are they and how are they killing our planet?

Our current plastic and waste crisis started innocently. What must have been a revolutionary technology in the form of plastic, at the time.

Fast forward to now, plastic is no longer just a part of our life, but at the lower edges of the ocean. The same goes for food waste for many. The idea of going to a restaurant and eating until you can eat no more must seem crazy for older generations. Especially those who have lived through times of food scarcity.

Lets talk about food waste

Food waste is no joke. Why? because it’s unnecessary and with the right controls in place, could be more of a minor inconvenience to the planet, than a species sapping disaster. 

So, let’s talk about what the average person can do to play their part? but also be practical in an average family household. The reality is if sustainability is not easy or even easier than conventional methods it will not be followed in the numbers needed to turn things around. Sustainability needs to be practical.

Lets talk about the household items that are causing the most issues.

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Bin bags

Most plastic bin bags are as cheap as chips, but what are the other options? Most stores do have biodegradable options at a comparable price to their plastic cousins. Surely an easy change to make, seeing as 5 trillion bin bags are thrown out each year. Let’s me say that again 5 trillion bin bags a year. On an induvial scale that is still 700 bin bags per person per year.

It really is no surprise we have such a big plastic problem. On a side note, ensure the plastic bags purchased can easily biodegrade as some need extremely specific conditions to degrade.

Baby wipes, wet wipes, cosmetic wipes:

It may surprise you; these are not recyclable. These are another big burden as they must be biodegradable. Their usage means it wouldn’t be worth recycling after use in many cases. These are also a leading cause of blockages, as old sewage systems struggle to push it through the pipes. Your best bet is to buy biodegradable or choose another alternative.

The Common toothbrush

Toothbrushes cannot be used forever unfortunately, it’s recommended between 12 to 16 weeks of usage before needing a replacement. It may surprise you to hear that most variants are not recyclable. In the US, alone over a billion end up in landfills annually. A sad statistic, seeing as the many frames of the brush looks like a perfect candidate for reusable material.  

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Sunscreen or Sun cream

Depending on where you live, sunscreen is vital. Sunscreen tends to have strong chemicals in order to protect you from powerful UV rays. The problem with this is, sunscreen has been damaging reefs worldwide. The chemicals in sunscreen do not react well with the fragile ecosystem and in turn, kill parts of the reefs.

Around 14,000 tons of sunscreen ends up on corals each year. There are options though, in the form of sunscreen that has been specially designed to not damage reefs. So, check before you buy, because this little change, has a massive part to play in the future of our reefs.

Laundry detergent

You could have probably guessed this would appear on the list. To get clean clothes you need strong chemicals. These chemicals end up in waterways after drainage when a wash is finished. These chemicals have been known to kill underwater life and are acidic to large areas of sea and plant life.

Again, there are options, these are just not as easy to recognise as mainstream brands. A little bit of research goes a long way.

Hand gel/hand sanitiser

With such high demand with the pandemic and many hand sanitiser is very popular and with good reason. Hand sanitiser is both a great and a terrible invention. Unfortunately, hand sanitiser contains strong chemicals and they last an exceptionally long time and are damaging to aquatic life. So make sure and check the ingredients and only buy from brands that support sustainability.


If you are a fan of an Asian takeaway occasionally, you might want to reconsider your cutlery choices. Why? Well, chopsticks are one of the reasons for the increased level of worldwide deforestation. Over twenty million trees are cut, for chopsticks alone. This again seems easily resolved with reusing existing chopsticks.

Buying imported goods

There is no getting away from imports and they are amazing in so many ways. The problem is most imports have a massive carbon footprint and have seen more airports than your average pilot. Homegrown local produce has many benefits, but imports are also hugely important too.

The reality is that we think convenience and sustainability, should go hand in hand and here at green cloud nine we have you covered. We only sell products from the most sustainable brands. These products have gone through rigorous sustainability checks, before being allowed on the marketplace.      

Mobile phone/Cell phone:

It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when cell phones were rare and the size of a microwave. We are now into the thirteen iteration of the I phone and with so many companies producing both cheap, mid-range and expensive options, it’s a truly massive market. The obvious problem is the mass amounts of energy needed to produce these phones.

It is believed by 2040 cell phone production will be technologies biggest emitter. Added to this you have batteries that contain harmful material that sometimes seep into waterways. The good news is that people are more concerned about the environment than ever before. This has enticed manufacturers to think about their production methods. An obvious method to lessen your footprint is to use a phone for a number of years rather than replacing it often. Your bank balance will thank you for it.  

The idea behind the circular economy is to get many uses from products and then recycle them for another use, its great for saving money and great for the environment to learn more about the Circular economy check out our article here.

Yoga mats

Yoga mats are slightly deceptive in that their function is to improve your health but also have the potential to damage our environment. Some are made with cheap materials that take well beyond the average lifetime to degrade. An informed buyer can find the most sustainable option. Most recyclable yoga mats are priced similarly to most quality brands, so not a big compromise. Yoga mats tend to last a long time, so buy a quality one and it should last a long time.

Vegetable oil

So, lots of people like to cook and cooking a tasty meal for yourself, is extremely rewarding. However, if you use vegetable oil regularly you might want to consider other options. This very thick liquid has the potential to work similarly to engine oil by blocking oxygen in waterways and suffocating aquatic life.

So, what are your options?  Well, back to basics unrefined oils are a good start. Organic is also great too, for both you and the environment. Alternatively, vegetable oils can be reused for anything from biodiesel to hair moisturiser. So, think wisely before throwing away that old oil.  

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The infamous food packaging

We can’t do a list without mentioning probably the most well-known un eco-friendly household items. There are approximately 269,000 tons of food packaging floating around our oceans. What are the alternatives? Choosing brands that put their products in recyclable containers, and don’t forget don’t waste the food inside the packaging too, easy, right?

Some good news

Scientists in Japan, have found a form of bacteria that eats single used plastics. If this method could be upscaled this could play a big part in reducing our plastic problem.

Have you ever struggled to find sustainable alternatives to any of these items or other items like these, at Green Cloud Nine we take suitability very seriously and our online marketplace was created to give you peace of mind about your sustainable purchases. Find us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn for more informative sustainable content

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