7 everyday products that cause landfill nightmares

7 everyday products that are landfill nightmares - do not use (takepart only)
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7 everyday products that cause landfill nightmares

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Pre-Portioned Snacks

Plastic pouch packaging intended to help with portion control is not recyclable. To reduce packaging waste, buy family-size items and divvy them up in reusable containers.

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Single-Serving Coffee

Single-serve coffee pods make mornings a little easier—at the expense of the environment. Only 5 percent of the two-by-two-inch cups are recyclable, and that doesn’t look good if K-Cup manufactures plan to make good on their campaign to “have a Keurig System on every counter.” K-Cups aren’t the only problem—Nespresso capsules and Brita filters also have disastrous effects on the environment. Green Mountain Coffee, the company that owns Keurig, plans to make all their cups recyclable by 2020. In the meantime, coffee and tea lovers alike can use available reusable pods.

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Plastic Bottles

Water bottles, soda bottles, tea bottles—no matter what’s in them, it’s safe to say most don’t end up at recycling plants. Americans used an average of 167 water bottles each last year, 38 of which were recycled. A better idea is tap water, which scientists say is just as safe to drink.

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Cosmetic Containers

Most makeup comes in small paperboard boxes, but what happens to the compact after the blush is gone? Or that mascara container? Most of the $7 billion worth of beauty products sold each year in the U.S. wind up at the dump. Garnier and TerraCycle created a recycling program that allows any type of cosmetic product packaging to be collected and reused, regardless of the brand. Salon owners and beauty-product junkies simply need to print off a prepaid shipping label and send their used goods back to TerraCycle, which recycles them. Some beauty companies such as Kiehl’s reward customers with free cosmetics if they bring in empty product bottles.  

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Packaged Fruits and Vegetables

The great thing about fruits and vegetables—aside from the obvious health benefits—is that they come in edible, biodegradable packaging. Grocery chains like Trader Joe’s have claimed that their coverings are used for efficient storing and safe transportation. Waste from that excess packaging not only creates trash, it also promotes food waste. For example, if a tomato is too big to fit in a three-pack, it gets tossed

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Shipping Materials

Waste from shipping materials can easily pile up, with all the cardboard boxes, tape, and padding. Stay away from peanut Styrofoam and stick to recyclable insulators like old newspapers, or try biodegradable packing peanutsTerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box accepts used packaging materials and recycles them.

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Blister Packs

Primarily used for pharmaceuticals, blister packs keep pills separate with thermoformed plastic and foil. Asking the pharmacist to refill medications in containers is a more sustainable option, but most of the time packaging is up to the drug companies.


Single-use food and beverage packaging are taking up some prime real estate in landfills, and people know it.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and As You Sow, food brands waste more than $11 billion annually because of inefficient packaging policies. About half of recyclable packaging ends up in landfills. As recently noted by a viral video that compared the pods to Godzilla, the amount of K-Cups discarded in 2014 were enough to wrap around the world 10.5 times.

But it's not just K-Cups that are impacting landfills—plenty of other household items come packaged in unnecessary plastic and Styrofoam. Click through for seven items to avoid.

Watch below to find out how some are decreasing the environmental impact of landfills:

Recycling Program Keeps Toys Out of Landfills

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