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5 Things You Do That Are Hurting the Earth (And You Didn’t Even Know)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hawaii chapter.

There are so many things you can do in your daily life that can help save our earth, like recycling, turning off lights when you’re not using them, and composting uneaten food! However, here are a few, small things that you do everyday that you might not know are hurting the ʻāina (land, earth).

Not Properly Disposing Of Your Single-Use Mask

Did you know that throwing away your single-use mask incorrectly can be hurting sea life creatures as well as contributing to plastic pollution? Single-use masks should have the strings cut prior to being thrown away, otherwise it can lead to suffocating or impairing sea creatures and birds. These single-use masks are usually made from a plastic known as polypropylene and should be avoided if possible since it also contributes to plastic pollution. The CDC recommends wearing a reusable cloth mask if you have access to them because they are able to be easily washed and filters can be inserted to protect you against COVID-19. However, if you must use a single-use mask, make sure it is properly disposed of in the trash instead of left on the ground.

Not Disconnecting Your Devices When They’re Fully Charged

Similar to turning off lights when they’re not in use, you can unplug your phone or laptop when fully charged, in order to stop using energy and save a little electricity. Even if your device is fully charged, it can still use some energy in standby mode. Imagine if you had all your devices fully charged but still plugged in, that can be a lot of wasted energy! If everyone were to do this with each device they owned, we could save a ton of energy and in terms start saving our planet.

Not Using Eco-Friendly Cleaners

As many of us know, cleaning products can have very toxic chemicals in them, which can be bad for the environment as well as the people using them. These toxic products can lead to water pollution, air pollution, and plastic waste since many of the bottles are not recyclable. Here are a few natural cleaning products that I have found online that can help save our earth! Personally, I have used the ECOS brand products and found that it is just as effective as non-natural cleaning products.

Not Buying Local Food

There are several reasons why buying food products from local markets can save our environment. The most important reason to shop local is because you are reducing food miles. If you are buying food from local farmers, the food doesn’t travel as far, therefore contributes way less air pollution than food that travels overseas or across the country. Another reason my family shops at food markets in our area is because we are supporting local farmers and protecting local land. Many of these farmers are also organic and therefore they do not use harmful chemicals on their crops which can pollute the environment. Please read this article for a more in-depth explanation. Here are a few local markets on O`ahu, Kaua`i, and the Big Island.

Not Using E-Books or Audiobooks

I always thought that I only liked reading physical copies of books, until I listened to my first Audiobook and read my first E-Book. It was very similar to reading a physical copy of a book and I even liked it better and haven’t gone back since. Not only can I just read on my phone whenever I want, instead of bringing my book everyone, but it also helps save the environment. Over 15 million trees have been saved due to the transition to reading digitally.

Aloha! My name is Keilyn and I am a Graduate Student studying Public Health at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. I enjoy going to the beach, reading mystery books, cooking, and playing with my puppy, Kaiba! I love being on the HER Campus Hawaii Team and sharing my stories!
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