These Simple Things You Do Harm the Earth

These Simple Things You Do Harm the Earth

Most conversation about harming the Earth revolve around waste, pollution and ozone. But there are also simple things that tend to become human’s favorite things that could do just that. Read more for details.

Simple Things #1: Chewing Gum Harm the Earth.

Chewing Gum
Chewing Gum

Sure, this little thing looks harmless. But apparently gum has its own dirty little secret. Chewing gum is made of gum base, sweetener, flavoring, preservatives and softeners. Digestive system could digest sweetener, flavoring and softener and after we’re done we throw the base away.

This gum base cannot be broken down. Mostly today, gum base is made of natural or synthetic polymers. One of which polymer allowed by US Food and Drug Administration is butyl rubber. The same substance used for making inner tubes.

Maybe the waste or gum seems insignificant. But, according to human chew about 560 thousand tons of gum each year. Although a few green living entrepreneurs have developed technology to recycle chewed gum into rubber containers or children’s toys. However, it still has its own challenge. In order to recycle it, people have to throw chewed gum to special recycle bin, rather than the general, food waste bin.

Simple Things #2: Driving Dark-Colored Car

Dark-colored Audi A7
Dark-colored Audi A6

Somebody need to tell Batman that his Batmobile is harming the Earth. Researchers at the Berkeley Lab Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) say that the color of car affects its fuel consumptions and emission.

During the experiments, those researchers used a silver and a black car. The silver Honda Civic has a higher score in solar reflectance (SR) compared to black Honda Civic. In a scale 0-1, the silver car has a score of 0.58. however, the black Honda Civic has only 0.05. As the term implies, the higher the SR, the cooler it is in the sun. At the end of the experiment, the silver car has a cabin air temperature of about 5-6’C lower that the black one. This would allow silver car for a lower-capacity air conditioner as well.

Furthermore, the number compiled in this experiment found that using cool-colored car such as white and silver would raise fuel economy by 2 per cent or 0.44 mpg. It would also decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 1.9 per cent and other automotive emissions by about 1 per cent.

Simple Things #3: Printing ATM Receipt Harm the Earth

ATM Receipt on Thermal Paper
ATM Receipt on Thermal Paper

ATM and many other registers such as credit card terminals and point-of-sale machine use thermal paper. According to Wikipedia, thermal paper is a special fine paper that is coated with a material formulated to change color when exposed to heat. This kind of printer does not use ink. Instead, it uses heat to transfer the data printed on the paper.

Certain chemical coats the paper in order to transfer the data. Bisphenol A or BPA is one of them. According to United States Environmental Protection Agency,  \BPA known for causing health concerns as it is a “reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant in animal studies” and could disrupt endocrine system.

You may feel like you need the withdrawal receipt, but reducing the number of receipts you collect is the only way. BPA could be tough to remove during recycling process. It could also find its way into the new recycled paper products. There is also the possibility of human exposure during recycling up to distribution of final recycled products. Because of these reasons, recycling thermal paper is not suggested.

Simple Things #4: Using Chopsticks Harm the Earth

Chopstick in bulk
Chopstick in bulk

No matter where you are, if you order Chinese or Japanese food, you’ll eat it with chopsticks. China and Japan are the biggest producers and consumers of disposable chopsticks in the world. China requires 200 million trees a year, according to Bo Guangxin, head of the China Jilin Forest Industry Group. A 20-year-old tree could produce around 4.000 pairs of chopsticks.

According to, China ranked at 139th in the world for natural forest resources. This counts as limited especially compared to  the needs of 1.18 million square meters of forest to produce disposable chopsticks from 2004 to 2009.

As we all know, deforestation is one of China’s greatest environmental problems. It leads to soil erosion, famine, flooding, carbon dioxide release, desertification and species extinction.

Simple Things #5: Adding a New Pair of Jeans to Your Collection

Three Pairs of Jeans
Three Pairs of Jeans

A study done by ShopSmart in 2010 shows that women on average own seven pair of jeans. However, they tend to wear only four of them. The fact is, jeans or denim is one sartorial item everyone needs and loves. It is hard to resist one that is nicely cut and accentuate your body the right way.

But the damaging truth lies in the production process. It takes 1.800 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans. So, if you own five, it is already 9.000 gallons of water.

To put things into perspective, the average American uses 17.2 gallons water to shower. Hence, 104 people could use the same 1.800 gallons of water for shower. 1.800 gallons of water is solely to grow enough cotton for a pair of jeans. It is not including the water used in production and logistic. Let’s also not forget the laundry part that a customer does every laundry time.

Every consumer needs to consider to buy less jeans and use what they already have in the closet. One could also consider buying jeans that built to last and greener jeans. Greener jeans mean the brand produce the jeans by watching the water footprint. Brand such as Levi’s and Guess are two among brands that has greener line of jeans.

On the report of clothing brand Guess, the making of a pair of Classic Core 1982 Skinny Fit Jeans need 2.701 liter of water throughout its life cycle. it is equivalent to 713.5 gallons of water, less than half of what it takes to grow cotton.

Save the Earth
Save the Earth

These things mentioned above are the simple things we commonly do and see in day-to-day life. But this things that could turns into habit also harm the Earth. Right now we could start paying attention to even the smallest details to save our planet



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