There are myriad ways Canadians have adopted to become more ‘green’ in the past decade, many of which have been touted as ‘the best’ alternative. However, as more research becomes available, four common practices have now been shown to cause more harm than good.

Cloth reusable shopping bags have become de rigeur for conscientious shoppers, but many do not know that making those bags creates 606 times as much water pollution as making a plastic bag according to a Danish study. If you can, use the brown paper bags for your groceries and recycle them after – or, consistently reuse any plastic bags you get from the store. 

Products that market themselves as ‘biodegradable’ or ‘flushable’ may seem like an easy solution, but things like baby wipes and makeup remover wipes often have synthetic fibres (which include plastics) that do not entirely break down, and block our sewer systems and waterways. They are also a hazard to wildlife which may ingest them – try to use a reusable washcloth instead. 

Avoid crushing your pop or beer cans. Instinctively you want to use the space in your blue bin judiciously, but many garbage sorters are automated and categorizes things by shape – meaning crushed cans may be put in the wrong section – so keep them intact.

Ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft seem great on paper, but often detract from people using public transit, and often to do not operate at max capacity – meaning it’s often a single passenger and driver putting more cars on the road.