Go Green: 5 Products That You Should Avoid Using

Today’s post is a repost from Miss T at the awesome blog, Prairie Ecothrifter. She covers finance with a green spin.

If you would like to help conserve energy and protect the environment then you have to be sure to avoid harmful products. Knowing the products to avoid is as important as knowing the products that you should be using. In order to help you with your eco-friendly quest, here is a list of products that you should avoid and products that you can replace them with as well.

Disposable batteries

Disposable batteries are not biodegradable and they are often thrown into landfills to dispose of them. They are incredibly harmful to the air and land around them. A better option to use is recyclable batteries. Recyclable batteries are much greener to produce and they can last for many years. This means a whole lot less throwing out batteries. Be sure to dispose of recyclable batteries properly.

Plastic bags

The plastic bags that you get at grocery stores are an environmental nightmare. Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to decompose and clog up many lakes and rivers. That is why you are seeing an increasing trend of people bringing their own bags to the grocery store. Reusable bags are a better option because they can be used over and over again. Skip the plastic baggies while you are at it too.

Printer cartridges

What do you do when your printer runs out of ink? Do you just throw your old cartridge in the trash and buy a new one? That’s a major no-no. The better strategy is to go out and buy printer ink. You can refill your old cartridge with new printer ink and use it over and over again. This will keep you from throwing out printer cartridges month after month. Besides refilling printer cartridges is a whole lot cheaper than buying new ones.  Better yet, invest in a cost efficient all in one printer and you’ll find yourself buying less ink from the start.

Paper utensils

Paper plates, cups, and silverware are some of the most popular items at grocery stores. They are a whole lot more convenient and much easier than washing dishes. The problem is that they are terrible for the environment. Instead of using plastic plates and cups, use the real deal. Glassware and chinaware can be washed and used for many years. Metal silverware is a much greener option than throwing away plastic silverware after every meal.

Single packs of snacks

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of individually packed cakes, cookies, pies, and other snacks being sold. They may be great for portion control but they provide a whole lot more leftover trash than big bags. For example, a single pack of cookies leaves you with just one bag to get rid of after eating. Individual bags leave you with 20 or 30 small bags to get rid of and a large bag as well.

You should always opt for the reusable option over products that are designed to be used just one time. Single use products will wind up in landfills a whole lot faster and will increase the amount of garbage in landfills and destroy the environment.

So, what products have you stopped using in your efforts to be green?  Please share.

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20 thoughts on “Go Green: 5 Products That You Should Avoid Using

  • I stopped using water bottles and opted for a Brita filter. We were going through cases at a time, so it’s really helped our house stay green. We also save grocery bags and use them as trash bags. Probably not the greenest option but it’s helped.

    • Not using the bottled water along is saving not just trash, but MONEY as well! Good job on being financially green as well.

  • Hi Sandy,
    Great article. I really admire your determination to protect the environment. I found it quite interesting that you included individual snack packs in your list. My wife and I try to avoid them, as they’re usually much more expensive per ounce, but you made a great point about them also being excessively wasteful. Now we just need to get rid of those mini 8oz. bottles of water!

    • Miss T. was great about that. They’re convenient, so we get those snack packs, but we can make out own from bulk items and even save money. I do that with my cereal. No more individual bowls. I get a box and bring it to work with me for breakfast in the morning. It’s sitting in my desk as we speak.

  • I’ve been switching over cleaning products as I run out of my existing bottles. I’ve been using vinegar, tea tree oil and vodka in place of some of the stronger chemicals.

  • This is a good list to avoid. I am sure if everyone avoided these items more the world would be a better place. Here is one more for you – Brew your coffee at home or the office instead of buying it on the road. Saves money and protects the environment as too many places still serve the coffee in Styrofoam – including McDonald’s.


  • Excellent list! An additional note about the coffee/ tea- you can bring your own mug and you often get a discount (like $0.20) off the coffee you buy too.

    Win win situation.

    Re: plastic bags- did you guys hear there is a plastic island between Hawaii and the mainland somewhere the size of Texas?

    I hate bottled water- drives me crazy when I see people drinking it. The only time I would buy a flat of it would be for emergency use (e.g. for emergency preparedness for earthquakes etc.)

    • Starbucks does that discount! I took my mug across the street with me and no problems. People behind me on line thought that I was nuts, but I felt good. No cups to toss.

  • Great list- thanks for alerting others to these things!

    Every step we take is one small step toward saving our environment.

  • the packaging used in takeout food is incredibly wasteful. Think of those plastic and foam containers Chinese takeout comes in.

    At least when you buy a frozen lean cuisine, the plastic container is recyclable.

    Most manufacturers of printer cartridges give you a postage paid envelope to return your used cartridge for recycling.

    I try to use reusable batteries whenever possible, but i find they don’t’ provide enough power for a digital camera or a flashlight, for example. They’re perfectly fine for something like a clock, though.

    The number of choices and decisions I have to make when grocery shopping can be really overwhelming at times. I always read ingredients and shy away from artificial colors, flavors, hydrogenated fats, etc. Then I consider packaging…is paper or cardboard better than plastic? I don’t like metal cans, which are usually lined with BPA. Glass is best. And then there’s price.

    I don’t always make the best choices for the environment but when time allows, I do write to the manufacturer and ask them to use recyclable materials.

    • I think that more manufacturers are learning that their customers are getting more educated and demanding packaging that isn’t damaging to our health. My mom actually can’t eat canned foods because of what they use to line the cans. She has an allergic reaction to it. It’s my own theory but I think that much of the 1st generation cancers we are seeing is because of all the chemicals in our food and the packaging that is being used.

  • I have stopped using plastic bags from stores. I always bring my own reusable bag. My next goal is to stop using the little plastic baggies.

  • I use rechargeable batteries so I don’t continue to purchase batteries. Although this is a better option, it still isn’t the best because once your rechargeable battery stops working that now goes in the landfill and electronics don’t break down.
    I also only bring my lunch in Tupperware rather than items that are individually packed.

    • They make new batteries specific for cameras. You should check those out, because like you, I agree that cameras drain batteries. I do love my rechargeable ones though. Not only do they save money in the long run, but think of all the batteries that are not ending up in landfills somewhere.

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