As I posted a few weeks back, I’m not the eco police. I try to inspire people to positive changes, rather than harangue them. After all, my tagline is “healthier living, less judgement.” But we all have bad habits. Although mine isn’t the best thing for the environment, the damage is fairly minimal and contained. Can you guess what it is?
While you’re wondering, here are three bad habits that I can’t keep quiet about any more—because they affect me, too. Are any of them yours?
I can’t keep quiet about these three bad habits—because even though they’re not mine, they affect me and my family. Are any of them yours? 1. Using carcinogenic styrofoam plates. Why, people? Even if you have to buy tree-killing paper, that’s better than buying Styrofoam, which isn’t recyclable, takes 500+ years to break down in the landfill, and is carcinogenic.
2. Dousing your lawn with pesticides. Pesticides are poisons—literally. They’re linked to asthma, allergies, neurological disorders, autism and even cancer. And when I walk on your lawn, I unwittingly track poisons into my family’s life. Please help me stop doing that by not spraying that crap everywhere.
3. Infusing my world with your synthetic perfumes, candles, cleaners and air fresheners. These scents make me—and 34 million other Americans who are allergic to synthetic fragrance—sneeze. They often include terpenes, which can react with ozone in the air to form carcinogenic formaldehyde. But if you don’t care about my health, consider this: Studies have found that phthalates in synthetic fragrance can make you fat. Yes, really.
I would never say these things out loud, of course. I lead by example, remember? So at a party, when a buffet table contains stacks of Styrofoam plates, I take finger food that I can hold on a napkin. I try to remember to take my shoes off at the door so my home stays clear of pesticides. And when you show up to yoga after spraying yourself liberally with eau de carcinogen, I simply move my mat.
Unfortunately, bad habits tend to be stronger than any example I might make.
You buy the same brand of plates you’ve always bought. You spray your lawn with the brand your dad recommended. You clean your house with the chemicals that smell like the ones your mom used when you were a kid.
I know, because I did, too.
You’re afraid to change one thing, because if you do you feel like you’ll have to change everything. So you don’t change anything at all.
I was, too.
Now I know better. And as I learn more, I’ve changed most of my bad habits for the better.
So here’s my confession. Ready? After years of unloading still-dirty dishes washed with natural sudsors, I switched back to a conventional dishwasher brand. And yes, my plates now sparkle, but I feel guilty every time I make a special trip to the market to buy the soap.
Yup, that’s my eco sin: Chemical dishwasher detergent. But there are countless other things I’ve shifted, to make my world (and yours) just a little bit healthier.
What habits can YOU change—and what stays the same? Please leave a comment below. Thanks!