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Convenience is a staple of modern society. These days it seems there is a simple solution to every problem and there is no task that broken down to a single step with the help of technology. Just think when was the last time you hand-washed every item of clothing you own? Just throw the whole heap of dirty laundry in the washing machine and with a press of a button, problem solved. Its rather amazing to think back and consider all the time people in the olden days used to spend performing the tasks we dont even think twice about these days!

But with all of the inventions of modern convenience, we have begun to forget that convenience for us, may not necessarily mean convenience for the planet. What were talking about here is the disposable craze, the fad that has capitalized on the human love for convenience and created a plethora of items that are super convenient but also incredibly wasteful. One of the small joys of living in a culture of convenience is not having to think about making your own coffee, or not having to worry about the stack of dirty dishes after a big meal because, everything can be tossed away into a trash can and disappear from our minds completely.

The danger with this habit of forgetting the trash is that after a while things start to build up. In the United States alone, it is estimated that one person generates one million pounds of garbage a year. Knowing this statistic, the fact that we are running out of landfill space becomes quite understandable. So for a moment lets take a look into the things we often dont think twice about throwing into the trash to save us some time and consider whether or not a few minutes is really worth trashing the planet.

1. Coffee Pods

Mornings are hard … seriously, we understand. So, the allure of the single brew coffee machine that allows you to skip the step of measuring out two (massive) scoops of coffee grounds, is quite understandable. The down side is that every time you make a single cup of coffee you are left with a little plastic pod that ends up in the trash. If you drink two cups a day, thats 14 pods per week throw in a few more house-hold coffee drinkers and that number can easily total out to 40+ little pods accumulated in the trash. In fact, in 2013, the coffee maker, Green Mountain, produced 8.3 billion single brew coffee pods … thats enough to circle the earth 10.5 times.

Try This Instead

A reusable single brew coffee pod. This mini-reusable coffee filter allows you to brew a single cup of coffee, without the waste. All you have to do is throw in your grinds and press start!

15 Things That are Super Convenient but Also SUPER Wasteful

2. Coffee Sleeves

Another invention to make the consumption of coffee more enjoyable for all the coffee sleeve. This handy circle of paper/cardboard makes drinking extremely hot coffee, on the go bearable. You probably dont even think twice about grabbing one to slip around your hot drink anymore, so shops even pre-sleeve the cup for you! It is estimated 14 billion cups of coffee are served every year with an accompanying coffee sleeves, which equals out to 2.8 billion pounds of trash that ends up in landfills. Yikes. Most people throw out the sleeve along with the cup. While it may appear that cups are made of recyclable paper, the plastic and wax inner lining is not recyclable in most communities. In fact, only about 39 percent of Starbucks locations are equipped with the appropriate recycling bins that ensure their cups do not end up in landfills. So, remember, if the cup isnt recycled, the sleeve wont be either!

Try This Instead

A reusable coffee sleeves (yes, they exist). There are many companies who make reusable coffee sleeves that you can even customize. Or, to save a few dollars you can save the sleeve and reuse every time you get coffee.

15 Things That are Super Convenient but Also SUPER Wasteful

3. Cotton Swabs

These little tools have a myriad of uses (one of our favorites is using these to entertain cats) but theyre pretty wasteful. Every year, Unilever manufactures 25.5 billion Q-tips. And thats only one of the countless brands out there.

Try This Instead

The best bet is to skip the Q-tip entirely for cleaning your ears its bad for them anyway! But for all the other reasons you use cotton swabs, consider getting a washable, reusable make-up applicator.

15 Things That are Super Convenient but Also SUPER Wasteful

4. Plastic Cups

Unlike standard drinking glasses, plastic cups do not break when you drop them, and they do not require any sort of special cleaning just insert in trash when done. But did you know it takes a plastic cup around 80 years to decompose? A minute of clean-up for you … over half-a-century of clean up for the planet. Oh man.

Try This Instead

There are a ton of alternatives to plastic cups, you might consider a reusable water bottle, or a mason jar.

15 Things That are Super Convenient but Also SUPER Wasteful

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