The importance of staying Eco-Friendly
How a lot of the widely used day-to-day products harm the environment
The world we live in is precious – it’s where we were born and it is all we have, it is also the world that our children, and their children’s children, will grow up in. Do you really want your legacy to them to be a polluted environment that’s potentially unsafe to live in?
There are plenty of products, that most people rely on in their day-to-day lives, which are very damaging to the environment. To name just a few – plastics (bags, bottles and cups), bleach, some air fresheners, pesticides, cleaning solutions, chemical fertilisers, and paper coffee cups are harmful to nature in a multitude of ways.
No, this isn’t some sort of conspiracy, or a weird 80’s Bond movie. There is no evil villain, twirling his moustache, delivering a lengthy monologue concerning the dastardly nature of his deeds. You can put the popcorn and the tinfoil hats away.
The reason we have a serious environmental problem is that the majority of environmentally-hazardous products are simply cheaper to produce, distribute and consume. Once you understand that in a capitalist society every business exists to make a profit, it’s easier to understand the context for the problem we need to solve. During 2017, for example, the UK was the 13th largest producer and exporter of global plastics.
According to a study published in 2017, only 9% of plastic goods are currently recycled and more than three quarters ends up in landfill or the environment. The study estimates that unless there are fundamental changes in the way we produce and manage plastics, the volume destined to end up in the ground or the environment will double over the next 30 years, posing serious health and environmental risks.
Plastics and their negative impact on human health and the environment – why saying ’no‘ to plastics is good
Ah, plastics – the proverbial elephant in the room. Nearly every household within the UK relies heavily on the use of plastic products. According to The Independent newspaper, more than 35.8 million bottles are consumed on a daily basis within the United Kingdom. And it’s not just bottles. Plastic grocery bags, plastic tea bags (we do love our tea, don’t we?) plastic cups, plates, trays, cutlery and more are all adding to the growing problem.
Plastic products can be harmful to the human body in many ways:
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is known to disrupt hormonal balance and, during its production and incineration, can release dioxin – a dangerous carcinogen.
- Polystyrene items (plastic cups, bowls, plates, cutlery, take-out bags, containers, and even egg cartons) have been reported as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer
- Plastic bottles are advertised as safe for use. What is not as widely advertised is that they are only really safe on their very first use. When used continually, they can leach a toxin in your body, causing damage.
This is only the very tip of the iceberg! To read more about plastics and why you should use them with care, click here.
Why using bleach is harmful
Your local store gives you full access to one of the most dangerous and deadly chemicals available to us.
Widely used in the modern world, bleach has a place in almost every household in the country. The bleach industry has found itself under attack on multiple occasions in the past due to the risks it poses – ingestion by children or pets, chemical burns caused by contact with bare skin or if it gets mixed with other cleaning products.
You know that tingly, slippery feeling that bleach leaves on your skin? That’s a chemical reaction, caused by the caustic soda (lye), interacting with your body. Ever happened to experience coughing fits (unrelated to other health conditions that you might have had at the time? Yep, that’s bleach for you.
According to a study by a highly regarded French medical research agency called Inserm, people who use bleach products on a weekly basis have 32% more chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD for short). Within the UK, COPD affects an estimated 1.2 million people. COPD includes a range of lung conditions such as a narrowing of the airways and impaired breathing. This disease has been the cause of roughly 25 000 deaths per year in the country.
So, what’s the answer? Just avoid buying ominous-looking big white bottles? Sadly, it’s never that easy. Bleach is present in a large number of products, ranging from tub and toilet cleaners, through sprays and disinfectants, all the way to bleach wipes! The only real way to avoid the dangers of bleach is to carefully read the label of any cleaning product you purchase and, in case you outsource your cleaning, ensure that your chosen company has the appropriate policies in place.
To learn more about bleach and how to stay safe, click here.
Everyone has to do their part! What you can do as a citizen
The only way to create, enforce and maintain an eco-friendly trend (save for governmental sanctions) is by promoting awareness for the problem. Over the course of history it has been proven time and again that the most effective type of leadership is leading by example. Only by standing up for what we believe in can we truly make an impact.
Remember, when social media wasn’t a thing? When Facebook was still new? How people would simply laugh at you for asking whether they had an account? It’ll just be a momentary fad, they said. Well, it has caught on. And now, having a Facebook account is the norm. Posting stories from your personal life, sharing photos of your new-born child with the world, letting everyone know what you like and dislike, how and where you spend your time. All of these things are now considered normal and the new generations adopt them without a second thought. They look back at us, wondering how we managed to get by without having this marvelous thing in our lives.
This same approach can be applied to anything in the world. As long as people want something to be “a thing” they can, and will, demonstrate its worth simply by taking part.
Isn’t it our duty as caretakers of the planet to preserve the future of our planet? Earth is all we have – do not let it go to waste!
Promoting the trend of protecting our world – why business leaders need to adopt an eco-friendly approach
People doing their part is important. Business leaders, CEOs and other public figures carry an even heavier burden. Remember the whole “lead by example” bit? The average person is a leader in their own right – a leader of their family, group of friends or a small neighbourhood community. The business leader is a public figure, the face of a company, corporation or industry. They already strive to innovate in their field, allowing their clients to benefit from the latest trends and practices.
Business leaders – you are already seen as people in charge. You are already promoting innovations and positivity. Promoting the trend of protecting our world is surely the next logical step?