Blog #4: Round 2 of research

Inquiry Question: Are Eco-friendly products truly Eco-friendly in the age of green washing? 

Research Step 2 – How will the future of eco-friendly products affect climate change and the state of the world surrounding global warming in the future?

The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof - The New York Times

-A million tons of waste are sent to landfills each week between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This is a 25% increase from just a decade ago. (2)

-Since online shopping has recently become the preferred method for many to buy their holiday gifts, we are likely to generate even more waste from mailing packages globally. (2)

-Each year, over two billion Christmas cards are mailed out, requiring enough paper to cover a football field 10 stories high. (2)

-There are more than 38,000 miles of ribbon thrown away each year, contributing to even more landfill destruction. (2)

-Global greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to 60% of household goods and services, according to a 2015 study. (2)

-To no surprise, climate change is actually driven by consumer habits; but how do eco-friendly products and the future of consumer trends based on the environment impact the ways in which global warming will change? (2)

The dark environmental impacts of our Christmas season - Business Leader News

-In spite of numerous attempts at reducing the risks of climate change, human-induced changes in nature are causing a dangerous and widespread disruption to the environment (1)

-Rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are crucial in order to avoid a mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure due to climate change. (1)

-Growing urbanization along with climate change creates many complex risks, especially in cities with very poor planning, high poverty and unemployment rates, and lack of basic services. (1)

-A growing number of adaptations have led to unintended consequences, such as destruction of nature, putting lives at risk, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. (1)

-Solutions can be improved by combining scientific and technological knowledge with local and indigenous knowledge (1)

-However in the mean time, here are a few eco-friendly products on the market that have the potential to make a big impact if better adapted by the public, as well as a few you should stay away from that have been branded as the “better option.” (3)

-Plastic straws may seem like an extremely small detail compared to other pollutants that cause bigger problems; however, little as they may be, plastic straws have an incredibly large impact on the environment. (3)

  •  Everyday, 500,000 straws are used and thrown away in the United States alone. (3)

Starbucks's plastic straw ban won't save the ocean. But we need these bans anyway. - Vox

-Contrary to popular belief, paper shopping bags are not any better than plastic ones. (3)

  •  Paper bag production causes 14 million trees to be cut down each year in order to supply the raw materials needed for mass use. (3)
  • Paper bag manufacturing also used chemicals and high temperatures that are prone to releasing toxins into the atmosphere at almost the same rate as plastic bag manufacturing. (3)

-The disposal of disposable water bottles is not only hazardous to the environment, but is also to individuals as well. (3)

  •  A study conducted by German researchers concluded that there are nearly 25,000 chemicals in a single plastic water bottle. (3)
  • For these reasons many scientists and global analysts advise individuals to invest in a reusable non-plastic water bottle. (3)

-Battery disposal has ramifications, some of which are incredibly toxic, causing soil and water pollution; however most people are unaware of this. (3)

  •  Since batteries are composed of a variety of chemicals, disposing of them in landfills has very severe environmental impacts. (3)
  • A battery-powered necessity that many people use are flashlights. A truly eco-friendly version of this useful tool are solar power lanterns. (3)

-Eco friendly packaging that is made from sustainable materials makes all the difference for the environment. It ensures that packaging is lighter, more efficient, less cost of transportation and warehousing, vehicular emissions get reduced, less landfill pollution with biodegradable packaging, and less soil and water pollutants (4)

-Some examples of materials used in Eco-friendly packaging includes compostable recycled paper, reusable recycled plastic, bagasse from sugar cane, starch from plants, wood from the forest, leaf of a palm tree, packaging shredders, packing peanuts made of paper, nontoxic foam, biodegradable twine, and packaging that contains bamboo and mushrooms. (4)

-However some of these biodegradable/Eco-friendly packaging options may be hard to come buy in modern stores. A gentler approach for consumers to really help in the elimination of harmful materials and packaging from our land fills would be to reduce your consumption in general. Take into consideration whether you actually need a product, or you just want it. (5)

-The life-cycle approach is often used by the greenest of manufacturers in the determination process on how to produce sustainable items. Many times when a company claims that their product is green, they are simply referring only to its useful life. While this can be helpful in many ways, it isn’t so much for the landfills that end up with these products not decomposing. (5)

-Some examples of commonly used products that are not Eco-friendly include sunscreen, tea bags, menstrual products, laundry detergent, disposable chopsticks, scented candles, makeup wipes, and dryer sheets; all of which could come a long way in the future of Eco-friendly products. (6)

-By finding solutions for most if not all of the worlds’ most hazardous/non Eco-friendly products, we as a society can repair the majority of the damage done to the environment. After all, human over consumption is the main reason why the climate is shifting in a not-so-good way. (6)

-“By restoring degraded ecosystems and effectively and equitably conserving 30 to 50 percent of the Earth’s land, freshwater, and ocean habitats, and society can benefit from nature’s capacity to absorb and store carbon, and we can accelerate progress towards sustainable development, but adequate financing and political support are essential.” -Hans-Otto Pörtner (1)

 

 

1. Climate change: A threat to human wellbeing and health of the planet. taking action now can secure our future. IPCC. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://www.ipcc.ch/2022/02/28/pr-wgii-ar6/

2. 16, R. C. |D., Cho, R., Holst, C., Georgios, Kiernan, Lai, S., Mosheim, R., & Janusz, A. (2020, December 18). How buying stuff drives climate change. State of the Planet. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2020/12/16/buying-stuff-drives-climate-change/

3. About Us. dlight. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://www.dlight.com/blog/eco-friendly-products-to-reduce-environmental-impact/

4. What is the impact of environmentally friendly products. MJS Packaging Blog. (2013, December 23). Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://www.mjspackaging.com/blog/what-is-the-impact-of-environmentally-friendly-products/

5. Are Environmental Products Healthy? The Ecologist. (2018, December 17). Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://theecologist.org/2018/dec/17/are-environmental-products-healthy

6. Rackow, E. (2020, March 16). 8 everyday items that are harmful to the environment. Wowe Lifestyle. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://wowelifestyle.com/blogs/better-living/8-everyday-items-that-are-harmful-to-the-environment

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