4 Ways You Hurt The Environment Without Knowing It

Researchers have provided evidence demonstrating that people need to change their habits if they want to avoid environmental destruction. Perhaps you’ve been convinced that you to make changes in your lifestyle to care for the environment. But there are still ways you are hurting the environment that you may not realize.

Bathing With Exfoliating Soaps

Image via Flickr by stevendepolo


Exfoliating soaps may make your skin feel fresh and clean, but some of them can cause major damage to the environment. Exfoliating shower gels often contain plastic microbeads. Since these beads measure only about 0.2 inches, they can easily wash down the shower drain.

Once microbeads reach lakes, rivers, or oceans, small creatures may feed on them. Not surprisingly, eating plastic can kill those creatures. In sufficient numbers, the deaths can cause problems for entire underwater ecosystems.

Stick with normal soap or find an exfoliating gel that doesn’t contain plastic beads.

Making Coffee With Bleached Filters

What could be wrong with brewing a cup of fair-trade coffee? That answer depends on the type of filter you use.

Most coffee filters are bleached with chemicals that contain dioxins. Unfortunately, dioxins are carcinogenic chlorinated hydrocarbons. These compounds not only hurt the environment, but could also pose health problems for drinkers.

You can avoid these problems by choosing unbleached or metal coffee filters. While these filters may not be available in all supermarkets, you can buy them at many coffee shops and through online sources.

Keeping Up With Technology

Buying the latest device is certainly fun, but all of those smartphones and tablets are taking a toll on the environment.

Many responsible people don’t think about the environmental impacts because they recycle their phones. Unfortunately, recycling doesn’t solve the problem, since companies generate pollution to make those devices.

The best way to use technology without causing undue harm is to limit how many devices you buy. When a new phone is released to the public, you don’t have to buy it. Wait until your current one ceases to function before upgrading. While this option may not be the most convenient, your decision will help the planet.

Putting Off HVAC System Maintenance

The amount of energy used to heat and cool buildings is astronomical. In the U.S., residential and commercial buildings use about 41 percent of the country’s energy. Some of that energy keeps the lights on, but much of that energy goes to furnaces and air conditioners.

Living without a heat source is dangerous, not to mention uncomfortable. In some cities, vulnerable people, including the elderly and children, can die without air conditioning.

Since you’re not going to remove your home’s HVAC system, you should focus on making that system operate as efficiently as possible. Regular maintenance from a reputable HVAC company like Merrell & Associates, Inc. is a good place to start. By having an expert work on your system, you can avoid the inefficiencies that lead to increased energy consumption. Plus, regular maintenance pays for itself by lowering your utility bills.

While making changes in your own lifestyle won’t totally solve the world’s environmental problems, your actions are a start. If everyone became more aware of how their actions affected the environment, the planet might become a healthier place to live.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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