18 “Eco-Friendly” Purchases That Aren’t Actually Helping the Planet

We’re all trying to do our part, but are our eco-friendly swaps actually doing any good? Sifting through the greenwashing can be a tricky job when you’re making responsible purchases, so we’ve compiled a list of 18 products that might not be helping the planet as much as you think.

Bamboo Toothbrushes

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Although the bamboo parts of a toothbrush are biodegradable, the nylon bristles aren’t, and they need to be removed before the bamboo is sent to a composting facility. The rise in demand for these products could also lead to deforestation and biodiversity loss in some regions in order to keep the supply of bamboo up.

Biodegradable Plastic Bags

Photo Credit: ARIMAG/Shutterstock.

Biodegradable bags may seem like a better option at the supermarket checkout, but WWF has suggested that the specific conditions these products require to degrade aren’t tested widely enough; they say, “Nature does not have controlled conditions, so it can never be certain that biodegradable plastic will actually biodegrade in the natural world if it is littered.”

Ethanol-Based Fuels

Photo Credit: Victor Prilepa/Shuatterstock.

The intensive agriculture processes involved in ethanol production can lead to deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as using a lot of water. Once ethanol is produced, the energy output is often low, which has left questions surrounding its efficiency.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Unfortunately, those purchasing cleaning products often fall victim to greenwashing, with marketing and branding techniques being used to mislead customers into thinking it’s a more responsible choice. The replacement chemicals in these products are often just as harmful and pose risks to health and the environment.

Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Photo Credit: lexander Steamaze/Shutterstock.

The batteries within electric vehicles are posing a negative impact on the environment, with the mining and processing of materials such as lithium raising concerns about environmental and human rights impacts. The New York Times also says that in the U.S., “​​estimated recycling rates for lithium-ion batteries are about 5 percent.”

Organic Cotton Clothing

Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Organic cotton farming generally requires more water than conventional cotton farming, and on top of this, it also creates a lower yield. This means farmers need more land to produce the same amount of cotton, which can lead to deforestation.

Plant-Based Meats

Photo Credit: Chay_Tee/Shutterstock.

Many plant-based meat alternatives are heavily processed and are resource-intensive to produce. They also often come in single-use plastic packaging, contributing to the plastic waste in our environment. The heavy use of land required for these products is also leading to deforestation.

Reusable Water Bottles Made from Recycled Plastics

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

A reusable water bottle is a great switch for eco-friendly on-the-go hydration, but those made from recycled plastics are potentially leaching chemicals into your beverages. The production of these bottles also uses significant energy and resources, and not all of them are recyclable at the end of their lives, which may cause landfill waste.

LED Light Bulbs

Photo Credit: BlurryMe/Shutterstock.

In a study featured on Science Direct, scientists say that recycling LEDs is essential due to the valuable and hazardous materials they contain. However, “due to the many different parts that compose an LED bulb, the separation of LEDs from the bulbs is difficult, but is crucial for proper recycling.”

Eco-Friendly Sunscreens

Photo Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock.

Some eco-friendly sunscreens may contain alternative chemicals that are still harmful to coral reefs and aquatic organisms, and the claims of biodegradability may not hold in some conditions. They also often come in plastic or non-recyclable packaging that contributes to pollution and landfill waste.

Sustainable Fish Products

Photo Credit: theLIMEs/Shutterstock.

Even sustainable fishing practices can disrupt marine ecosystems and biodiversity, and the methods used in sustainable fishing can still result in harm to unintended marine species. It’s important to read into the practices of producers, as some claims might not be truly honest.

Compostable Cutlery

Photo Credit: Kent Sievers/Shutterstock.

When you’re grabbing a quick lunch on the go or enjoying a well-deserved takeout, the compostable cutlery might not be as eco-friendly as you think. Many of these products need specific conditions to break down, which are not available in most home composting systems.

Solar Panels

Photo Credit: myphotobank.com.au/Shutterstock.

Producing solar panels involves using harmful chemicals, which may pose environmental and health risks. On top of this, large-scale solar farms can impact land use and local ecosystems, creating problems for wildlife and habitats. Finally, the recycling of solar panels is complex and not widely available, leading to potential waste issues.

Reusable Shopping Bags

Photo Credit: Kwangmoozaa/Shutterstock.

While reusing is an important part of looking after our environment, if too many items are produced and not used enough times, they could have a bigger impact than disposable bags. According to City A.M., “These reusable bags, made of thicker plastic, cotton and paper, require more water and energy to manufacture and transport, which results in a larger carbon footprint.”

Eco-Friendly Diapers

Photo Credit: Laboko/Shutterstock.

Biodegradable nappies require specific conditions to break down, which are often not met in landfills. The production of these nappies can be as resource-intensive as regular nappies, if not more so, and on top of this, some of these products use chemicals in the manufacturing process, which can be harmful to the environment.

Wind Turbines

Photo Credit: BBSTUDIOPHOTO/Shutterstock.

The construction and maintenance of wind turbines require significant amounts of materials and land, leaving a large carbon footprint. Once they are installed, the noise and look of the turbines can impact local communities, and they can also impact wildlife, sometimes colliding with birds and bats.

Eco-Friendly Cosmetics

Photo Credit: Irina Kvyatkovskaya/Shutterstock.

Some products labeled as natural or organic still contain microplastics or non-biodegradable ingredients, and on top of this, the ingredients might be sourced in a way that contributes to deforestation or habitat destruction. Finally, the plastic packaging used is often nonrecyclable and contributes to landfill waste.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The production of energy-efficient appliances can be resource-intensive, negating some of their energy savings. On top of this, many modern appliances are not designed to be easily repaired, leading to a throwaway culture that can leave the appliances releasing harmful chemicals into the environment.

Read More: 15 Ways To Tell If Someone Is Not a Good Person

Photo Credit: Pheelings media/Shutterstock.

While it’s important to avoid quick judgments, certain behaviors can be strong indicators of a person’s character. Here are 15 ways to discern if someone might be a bad influence or possess harmful traits.

15 Ways To Tell If Someone Is Not a Good Person

Why People Aren’t Religious Anymore: 15 Simple Reasons

Photo Credit: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock.

As society evolves, so does our approach to spirituality. This article looks at the subtle yet profound shift from traditional religious adherence to a more personal, evidence-based belief system.

Why People Aren’t Religious Anymore: 15 Simple Reasons

17 Things That Used to Be Highly Respected But Aren’t Anymore

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Many things in the world used to be well-respected before turning into complete jokes for various reasons. An internet survey recently asked people, “What is something that was once highly respected but is now a complete joke?” Here are the top 20 answers:

17 Things That Used to Be Highly Respected But Aren’t Anymore

17 Fairy Tales That Are Now Considered Racist

Photo Credit: kurhan/Shutterstock.

While fairy tales weave magical narratives that span generations, many emerge from historical and cultural contexts tinged with biases. Hiding in many of these tales, racial undertones can be found. Let’s look at 17 fairy tales that have deeper implications.

17 Fairy Tales That Are Now Considered Racist

19 Untrue American Stereotypes That Are Widely Believed Internationally

Photo Credit: frantic00/Shutterstock.

Stereotypes and misconceptions can be misleading and frustrating, especially when they pertain to nationalities. Let’s explore and debunk some common myths about America, as shared by internet users.

19 Untrue American Stereotypes That Are Widely Believed Internationally