There are all sorts of super lame products on the market, some more footprint trashing than others. With this in mind it’s very easy to live a trash heavy life – if you so choose. Following are ten of the best products to buy if your goal happens to be anti-eco.
1. Of course the clear winner this year has to be Kleenex Hand Towels. Seriously this product even manages to put traditional rolled paper towels in a better light – something I’d thought was impossible. Not only will this product allow you to trash countless trees like regular paper towels but it throws in the added benefit of that big old box. PLUS it’s sweet how their commercials prey on folks concerned about germs (watch below and listen for the coughs).
2. Benadryl Children’s Perfect Measure Pre-Filled Single Use Antihistamine Spoons – where do I start? I’m not down on antihistimines. They totally serve a purpose, but it’s bad enough we can’t easily recycle medication bottle caps and yet now we’ve got this odd shaped, likely mixed plastic product to contend with. Are plastic-free spoons really so hard to use?
3 Eco plastic water bottles – Aquafina released a new plastic water bottle last year made with 50% less plastic than their old water bottles. The problem is there’s no plastic water bottle on earth that can beat a reusable water bottle but campaigns like this set people up to feel a-ok about plastic. Note that if this bottle was really so cool why isn’t Aquafina bottling all their products in it? They’re not. Their flavored water is in bottles made with just 20% less plastic that before. Also note, Aquafina is far from the only eco water bottle contender. In fact, Re-source is probably one of the worst offenders because their website and product really pushes the whole feel-good eco-slant about the bottled water issue. Their bottles are made with 25% recycled plastic. So not worth it you’ve still got 75% non-recycled content. Their bottles actually say, “Together we can do a world of good” – um, not if we push disposables. Greenwashing deluxe.
4. Disposable cameras – buy a real camera. Save money, save resources. Kodax wants you to believe disposables are ok so long was they’re recycled, and actually, I’m really glad so many disposable cameras are recycled but products like this breed a disposable culture which is a really bad idea in my opinion and consider that recycling takes resources and any plastic recycling is far from perfect. Cameras in general aren’t the most eco-friendly of products but all things considered a digital camera from a company who offers recycling is a better choice.
6. Single serve cereal and other single serves – to be fair soup makers, noodle makers and tons of other companies make single serve food items but single serve cereal is one I see a lot. From the worst like those tiny plastic encased cereal cups to less over-packaged, but still in bad taste offenders, like oatmeal packets, it’s hard to avoid single serve. The worst is that these products are marketed to two groups in particular busy adults (who isn’t busy) and kids (neat-o). Up next are the dieters who may be lured in by 100 calorie packs of every snack under the sun. Single serve products are tempting and everywhere. Go with bulk or at least bigger packages.
7. Swiffer – Swiffer in general irks me. They offer every single disposable cleaning item under the sun and people love them even though reusable towels work just as well. According to Swiffer, 50 million households worldwide use their products. Not sure if that’s true but I see enough people buying Swiffer everything at the store to make me consider believing it. Top it off with the fact that Swiffer is owned by Procter & Gamble – makers of plenty of nicely toxic and wasteful products and Swiffer adds up to one of the worst ideas ever.
8. Juice boxes – Juice boxes are made largely from paper sources and are considered paperboard. According to Earth 911, more than 85% of the U.S. population has access to paperboard recycling. Still, back in 1995, Resource Recycling magazine noted that just 1% of all juice boxes were recycled. In 1998 the EPA did not estimate a drink box recycling rate but it’s important to note that during that same year the EPA said that milk cartons had a “negligible” recycling rate. In 2007 the Container Recycling Institute (pdf) estimates that 10 billion pouches, cartons, and drink boxes were tossed, not recycled. A reusable drink container is always better.
9. Plastic baggies – There’s not a situation where those tiny plastic baggies are a good idea. You’ve got unlimited reusable choices beyond plastic baggies such as food containers and reusable small cloth bags. Even recycled foil is a better idea because at least it’s easily recycled and can sometimes be reused.
10. Ecopod – this is one of the dumbest products I’ve ever seen. The ecopod can be used to crush cans. That’s great except most recycling plants don’t require you to crush cans anymore. This big old machine, sold as an eco-tool, has got to be made with a ton of energy intensive materials. I’m so not interested in even looking up the materials, but if you look at it, you’ll see that it’s big, bulky, most likely can’t be recycled and worst of all is not something that’s even useful or necessary. Blah.
What are some other products you can buy if you’d like to increase your footprint?