Five Everyday Items that are Bad for the Environment

If you were to count how many items you use daily, the number would be in the hundreds. From the moment you wake up until you go to bed, you touch so many different types of items. Do those items effect the environment in any way? Of course, they do. Everything effects the environment in one way or another. The real question is if these items harm the environment? There are five common household items that are damaging to the environment. Luckily, these five everyday items can be swapped out for environmentally safe alternatives.

What Are These Five Everyday Items?

When you take a moment to think about what items you use every day, there are probably a lot. Personally, I use a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, a cell phone, a computer, etc. The five everyday items that are bad for the environment are hand soap, toothpaste, wet wipes, batteries, and disposable razors. These five items might just be in your own home.

Hand Soap

It’s customary to wash your hands after your use the restroom, touch raw meat, etc. A key piece to washing hands is to use hand soap. The hand soap destroys the germs that live on the hand. Unfortunately, the antibacterial nature of hand soap makes it lethal to common bacteria in the oceans. Hand soap ends up in the oceans through pipes. It also kills bacteria that are essential within the food chain. Luckily, the chemicals that kill the bacteria aren’t found in all hand soaps. An environmentally safe alternative to antibacterial hand soap is natural hand soap. Preferably, hand soap that doesn’t contain the chemicals that harm the environment.


Many toothpastes have plastic microbeads that help to clean the teeth. These plastic microbeads contaminate the oceans more than other types of plastics. Plastic microbeads travel to the ocean through pipes from the sink. They aren’t biodegradable and are too small to be cleaned up by volunteers or ocean vacuums. Lastly, these plastic microbeads attract toxic chemicals when they are in the ocean. An environmentally safe alternative to toothpaste is a toothpaste without plastic microbeads.

everyday items, hand soap, hand, dispenser

Wet Wipes

You probably use wet wipes for just about any mess within your home. Firstly, most wet wipes are labeled "flushable", and many people try to flush them down the toilet. Here’s the issue, when they are flushed they block sewer lines and eventually wash up on the beaches. Wet wipes don’t break down easily. They also contain plastic. An environmentally safe alternative to wet wipes is a rag and water. Another alternative is a specialized cleaning cloth, like Norwex.


Batteries are everywhere. Literally, from the remote control to flashlights. Batteries are used for most everything. Unfortunately, batteries are cylinders filled with harmful elements that leak into the soil and waterways. When batteries are burned, they release metals in the air and that increases your health risk. Basically, batteries are filled with toxic chemicals that have the potential to do some serious damage to the environment. An environmentally friendly alternative to batteries is rechargeable electronics.

Disposable Razors

The cheaper option when it comes to razors is disposable razors. They can last for a few weeks and come in packs of six. Disposable razors aren’t environmentally friendly, though. They contain steel and plastics. When the razors are thrown away, they often end up in landfills or in the oceans. The steel and plastic within the razors can hurt sea life and aren’t biodegradable. Also, water usage increases when you’re shaving. Globally, we are in a drought. Using large amounts of water has a negative effect on lakes, rivers, and streams. An environmentally safe alternative to disposable razors are electric or straight razors. Less water is needed to shave with these types and they last longer than disposable razors.


In conclusion, there are plenty of common household items that negatively impact the environment. From hand soap to batteries, there are five everyday items that are bad for the oceans and environment. There are simple and environmentally safe alternatives that you can use, instead. The switch is easy and, typically, requires you to look at the label before purchasing. Swapping out fiver everyday items with safer alternatives can change your life and the environment!    

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Bailey Longhurst

I am amazed every day by the beauty that this world provides for us and think it is important to preserve it! Taking care of ourselves and our earth is crucial and I want to help people discover new ways to do both. Publishing for Green and Growing is a unique way that I can get my message across, and I hope you all enjoy what we write about!

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