7 Harmful Products to the environment and alternatives

By: Eva Plag Fontes

Becoming a minimalist – or at least, a more conscious consumer – is almost an immediate consequence of an eco-friendly lifestyle. When we care more about what we buy, we start wondering if we actually need it.

Once I started my journey of waste reduction, I naturally stopped using a bunch of products. In the hope of inspiring you to do the same, I leave you a list of 7 products I don’t use anymore.

As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

List Of Products NOT To Buy

1. Paper Napkins

Setting the table for lunch or dinner always meant putting a paper napkin next to the plate. It was something normal that I had been doing all my life.

But when I became more environmentally conscious, I challenged that. Why do I need to produce this piece of waste every time I have a meal? With that said, I switched to cloth napkins. You just pop them in the washing machine with your normal load when they are dirty and they are good to go.

Alternative to Paper Napkins

Sale
Ruvanti Multi Color Cloth Napkins 12 Pack 18X18 Inch Durable...
2,391 Reviews
Ruvanti Multi Color Cloth Napkins 12 Pack 18X18 Inch Durable...
  • Durable & Vibrant : Size 18 * 18 Inch, our multi color linen napkins can be set left of charger or fold elegantly & place center of dinnerware...
  • Elegance with Economy: Tailored with Mitted corners and a generous hem, This Multi Color Poly Cotton linen napkins came in a value Pack of 12...
  • Multi Purpose Utilization: Ruvanti's excellent durable hotel quality linen napkins are best for use both in business or home settings; these are...

Last update on 2021-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pro-tip: choose a pattern or color in which stains aren’t so obvious. Some sauces are tricky to get clean!

2. Teabags

I rarely drink coffee (outrageous, I know) because I am more of a tea person. Every morning I like to prepare black or green tea to have with my toasted bread.

Doing this every single day (sometimes more than once), translated into a lot of waste in the form of teabags.

This switch was easy. I bought a tea steeper and loose-leaf tea and made that my new routine.

Alternative to Teabags

Sale
House Again Tea Ball Infuser & Cooking Infuser, Extra Fine Mesh...
19,601 Reviews
House Again Tea Ball Infuser & Cooking Infuser, Extra Fine Mesh...
  • Better performance, Reasonable price! Each pack includes 1 screw lid, 1 extra fine mesh cup, 1 saucer for avoiding making a mess when taking out....
  • Unlike traditional tea ball or twist lid infuser, our tea strainer features threaded connection design that you’ll feel easier to open and...
  • Extra fine mesh holes are designed to hold tealeaves, particles or grounds intact while allowing the flavor to drift out.
Tiesta Tea - Fruity Paradise, Loose Leaf Strawberry Pineapple...
6,259 Reviews
Tiesta Tea - Fruity Paradise, Loose Leaf Strawberry Pineapple...
  • STRAWBERRY PINEAPPLE GREEN TEA has that full-body, green tea flavor you dream of; bursting with naturally sweetened tropical, fruity notes; a...
  • PREMIUM LOOSE LEAF TEA BLEND of full, hand-plucked, loose leaf green tea with exotic fruit pieces; premium ingredients that you can see, smell,...
  • RESEALABLE, REUSABLE TEA POUCH designed to keep your tea fresh ‘til the last scoop; stand-up pouch offers convenient storage and gives a little...

Last update on 2021-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pro-tip: extra points if you buy your tea in a local bulk shop, avoiding all unnecessary packaging!

3. Makeup Wipes

Although I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis, I still enjoy putting some on when I feel like it. Since I cherish healthy skin, I always bought either makeup remover wipes or disposable cotton pads and liquid makeup remover.

After finding out about reusable makeup remover pads [insert link], I never bought disposable wipes again. I also gave up on traditional liquid makeup remover, and now use a facial oil or a solid remover.

Alternative to Makeup Wipes

Organic Face Oil - Balance & Restore Facial Oil, Best for Oily,...
784 Reviews
Organic Face Oil - Balance & Restore Facial Oil, Best for Oily,...
  • Beautiful Balance: Gift your skin the nourishment it needs to get back in balance. Our Balance & Restore Face Oil is specially formulated with...
  • Find your calm: Goodbye redness and breakouts. Hello calm, beautiful skin. The ingredients in our facial oil help counteract these unwanted...
  • Brilliantly simple: Why spend big on anti-aging gimmicks when you can bring out your skin’s youth naturally? Our balancing oil helps skin look...
DUcare Makeup Brush Cleaner Set: Solid Soap Cleanser & Color...
1,364 Reviews
DUcare Makeup Brush Cleaner Set: Solid Soap Cleanser & Color...
  • Solid Coco Soap Cleanser + Color Removal Sponge: the soap naturally cleans and conditions your applicators and returns your brushes and sponges...
  • Perfect Travel Makeup Blender&Brush Cleaner Set: Maintain the beauty of your makeup brushes and sponges with DUcare Solid brush cleanser. Set...
  • Effective Formula Quickly Removes: makeup buildup to deep clean your makeup brushes and sponges.

Last update on 2021-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Water

I still drink water, relax. I am privileged enough to live in a place that provides clean (and actually tasty) tap water.

I am aware that this is not the case for everyone, but if it is, it’s time to stop buying plastic water bottles.

This is some of the most unnecessary waste I see. You just need to get a good reusable bottle and take it everywhere with you.

Alternative to plastic bottle

Simple Modern Summit Insulated Water Bottle with Straw Lid...
36,362 Reviews
Simple Modern Summit Insulated Water Bottle with Straw Lid...
  • Vacuum Insulated: Keep your drink cold for hours with the double-walled, insulated Summit water bottle.
  • Leak Proof Straw Lid: Our BPA-free Summit Straw Lid is leak-proof when the nozzle is in the closed position; US Patent Pending
  • Durable: Our Summit water bottles are coated in a durable finish.

Last update on 2021-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pro-tip: put some effort into researching reusable bottles. It’s an investment that should stay with you for many years (otherwise it’s not so sustainable after all). Check the weight, materials, and reviews on different brands, and choose whatever is the best match for you.

5. Packed Fruits/Veggies

Buying produce is, without a doubt, one of my favorite activities. Being able to look at the fruits and veggies, all those amazing colors is just mesmerizing.

But they often come wrapped in a bunch of unnecessary packaging.

Lately, if the product is not available in bulk, I simply don’t buy it and look elsewhere. This is also a way we can show supermarkets that we are not interested in packaged products! Just take a reusable bag to the store and put your product inside.

Sale
Ecowaare Set of 15 Reusable Mesh Produce Bags - Eco-Friendly -...
28,275 Reviews
Ecowaare Set of 15 Reusable Mesh Produce Bags - Eco-Friendly -...
  • Zero Waste and Eco-friendly --- One more step closer to a zero waste lifestyle and cuts plastic bag use in a convenient way; Get 15 pcs reusable...
  • Safety and Lightweight --- BPA free and 100% food contact safe, with the highest standards of quality, safely hold all your fresh produce. Made...
  • Scan Through Easily --- Unlike most non-transparent mesh bags from other brands, our produce bags is nearly transparent so you can easily see...

Last update on 2021-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pro-tip: extra points if you buy locally and in season, from smaller producers!

6. Magazines

When I was younger I used to buy a lot of magazines. I went through all the phases: children’s magazines, teenage tips, more technical ones, and even some tabloids (not proud of it).

But now, whenever I pass a newsstand, I just remember: I can certainly find that online.

7. Anything I Don’t Actually Need

This is a tough one, and not entirely true. I am far from zero waste and aware that I still buy a lot of things I don’t need. But this is a process, and the most important thing is to become better every day.

My best tip, and what I try to do when I am facing a decisive moment, is to ask myself the following questions:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Do I already have something that fits a similar purpose?
  • Can I borrow it or buy it second hand?
  • Will I still need it a month from now?
  • Can I sell/donate it when I don’t need it anymore? Or dispose of it in a sustainable manner?

Final thoughts

Next time you need to buy something, don’t be impulsive. We don’t have to stop consuming completely and never buy something again. But we do need to be conscious of our choices, and that’s something that gets easier over time.