If you want to do your part to protect the planet and your personal health, here are a few environmentally disastrous ingredients to avoid.
Ingredients in cosmetics to avoid
Cosmetics and beauty products can often contain ingredients that are anything but beautiful for the environment. Many cosmetics contain one or more industrial chemicals, carcinogens, pesticides, hormone disruptors and reproductive toxins known infamously as The Dirty Dozen. Check out this sustainable shopper's guide to help you avoid the dirty dozen.
Ingredients in cleaners and air fresheners to avoid
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a class of chemicals often contained in consumer products that are also present in indoor and outdoor air. These chemicals include:
Microplastics and Microfibers
Plastics seem to be found everywhere we look for them including our lakes and rivers and even in places as remote as the Arctic. Wastewater from our laundry and the textile manufacturing industry seems to be the biggest culprits. Synthetic fibers, mainly polyester, make up 92 percent of microplastic pollution in Arctic seawater. Even natural fibers, like cotton used to make denim, are a big contributor to pollution due to dyes and chemicals added during the manufacturing process. When shopping for clothing, look for more environmentally sustainable denim and organic cotton. These solutions are not perfect. You can go even further by washing your clothes less often, washing in cold water and hanging them to dry.
Single use plastics are everywhere. From drinking straws to disposable packaging. Every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste, and only 9% gets recycled — the rest winds up in landfills and waterways. A federal ban on single-use plastic products is set to be finalized by the end of 2021. Why wait until it's outlawed? Get into the habit of bringing reusable bags and containers with you when you shop and avoiding items like plastic cutlery and straws.
Food ingredients to avoid
Unfortunately, many of our favourite foods are harmful to the environment and our physical health. One of the worst offenders is sugar, according to the WWF. Other popular culprits include coffee and chocolate and even bananas! You can do your part by looking for the Fairtrade Canada Certification.
We hope that this post about environmentally disastrous ingredients helps you make more informed choices.