22 Surprising Facts for Earth Day


by guest blogger Nicole Cherie Jones

What’s the dirtiest crop? How many plastic water bottles do we throw away each year? Here are 22 reasons to live eco-consciously year-round, plus savvy swaps you can make to celebrate Earth Day every day.

1. Plastic microbeads in conventional scrubs and toothpastes don’t break down and aren’t filtered out during water treatment, so they end up in oceans where aquatic animals ingest them. Translation: plastic–infused fish in your sushi.
SAVVY SWAP: Rosemary + Lemongrass Sugar Scrub, Captain Blankenship


2. Of U.S. farmers who took part in a new survey, more than 80 percent reported being concerned over the impact of genetically modified crops on their farms.
SAVVY SWAP: Organic Non-GMO Variety Pack, Quinn Popcorn (coming soon to Rodale’s!)

3. Two recent studies highlight the sad fact that removing one chemical—BPA (bisphenol A)—and possibly replacing it with another does not necessarily make plastic safe.
SAVVY SWAP: Stainless Steel Lunchbox Set, ECOLunchbox

4. Scented personal care products, as well as air fresheners, candles, and nail polish, often contain phthalates—which can mess with hormones and have been linked to obesity.
SAVVY SWAP: 3 Free (of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP) Nail Lacquer, butter London

5. Only 13 percent of the 100 billion plastic bags thrown away every year are recycled.
SAVVY SWAP: Kraft Paper Recycled Shopping Bag, Be Home (coming soon to Rodale’s!)

6. Conventionally grown cotton is considered the world’s “dirtiest” crop. It covers only 2.5 percent of the world’s farmed land yet uses 16 percent of the world’s insecticides.
SAVVY SWAP: Organic Cotton Relaxed V-Neck Tee, Groceries


7. Approximately 41,666 plastic bottles are thrown away every minute in the U.S. alone.
SAVVY SWAP: Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Kleen Kanteen

8. Most conventional shampoos and conditioners contain sulfates (sodium lauryl sulfate for example) to increase lather, chemicals that pollute wastewater and strip natural hair oils (frizz!).
SAVVY SWAP: Harmonic Travel Haircare Kit, Intelligent Nutrients

9. Trees help improve air quality and reduce stress, which are both related to lower risk of diseases.
SAVVY SWAP: Organic Tree-to-Be, Potting Shed Creations

10. Flea collars and chemical baths often contain tetrachlorvinphos and propoxur, dangerous pesticides that can damage a puppy—or a child’s—developing neurological system.
SAVVY SWAP: Flea-Fighting Lemongrass and Flaxseed Pet Shampoo, John Masters Organics

11. Teflon releases enough polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) into the air when heated to above 660 degrees to cause polymer fume flu, which manifests as flulike symptoms that won’t kill humans but can kill birds.
SAVVY SWAP: 4-Piece Cast Iron Cookware Set, Lodge


12. The unintended side effect of chlorinating water to meet federal regulations creates trihalomethanes; in tests across 43 states, 84 percent reported concentrations high enough to potentially cause cancer and birth defects.
SAVVY SWAP: Water-Purifying Charcoal Sticks, Binchotan

13. It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of the fabric sourced for clothing production ends up as scraps headed for the landfill.
SAVVY SWAP: Contrast Waistband Recycled Micropolyester Yoga Shorts, Cozy Orange

14. The USDA has detected 35 different pesticide residues on fresh tomatoes, so it’s not surprising that the FDA regularly detects pesticides in tomato-based sauces.
SAVVY SWAP: Biodynamic Tomato Concentrate (Set of 3), Yellow Barn

15. You can save up to 3,000 gallons of water a year by simply turning off the tap while brushing your teeth. Or by brushing your teeth in the shower.
SAVVY SWAP: Cinnamon Organic Tooth Cream, Coldstream Naturals

16. Calling all Paleo and low-carb devotees: Animals that eat plants are easier on the planet and healthier. Grass-fed meat is packed with omega 3s and lower in total fat than conventionally raised meats.
SAVVY SWAP: Grass Fed Lamb Protein Bar, Epic

17. Soil in healthy, organic fields absorbs and stores carbon dioxide, making it an important tool for combatting climate change.
SAVVY SWAP: Plant Food Maker, Burgon & Ball (coming soon to Rodale’s)

18. The FDA regularly detects the insecticide organophosphate (linked to IQ problems and ADHD in children) in wheat, rye, and other breads and flour-based products it tests.
SAVVY SWAP: Organic Lavender Scone Mix, Tait Farm


19. A recent study from the California Air Resources Board found many conventional cleaning products release formaldehyde and ultrafine particles when they chemically react with gases in the air—which can induce asthma or other respiratory problems.
SAVVY SWAP: Plant-Based All-Purpose Cleaning Spray, Common Good

20. Organic farming promotes more climate-friendly agricultural practices, using 45 percent less energy compared to conventional.
SAVVY SWAP: Farm to Table Organic Herb Garden Kit, Potting Shed Creations

21. “Natural” products (even those found at health food stores) are just as likely to contain GMOs as conventional ones, so make sure to look for USDA Organic or Non-GMO seals.
SAVVY SWAP: Espresso Maca Mulberry Organic Superfood Oat Cereal, Vigilant Eats

22. In the past three years, the number of farmer’s markets in the U.S. has increased by 33 percent to more than 8,000.
SAVVY SWAP: Recycled-Cotton Farmer’s Market Produce Bags (Set of 2), Oh, Little Rabbit

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6 Responses to 22 Surprising Facts for Earth Day

  1. Alice Green April 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Thank you for all the great information. I’ve found I don’t like the taste of my water from a stainless steel bottle. So I’ve switched to a glass water bottle. Now I’m wondering if there is anything in glass that is toxic to me? Does anyone know?

  2. Maria L. April 14, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Alice, I think glass bottles are fine!

  3. Alice Green April 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Thank you Maria, I appreciate your thoughtfulness!! Alice

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