What are the worst things you do to the environment?

Sum ergo pollutam. Okay, I made up that last word. But seriously, existing and breathing is probably the worst thing. I keep our apartment around 73 all winter; otherwise I am miserable. On the other hand, I set the air conditioner to 79 all summer. Before the pandemic, we used reusable bags for groceries; since then we get our groceries packed and delivered to out car, in plastic bags inevitably. Pre-pandemic we took one trip to our east coast kids (plane to Boston, train to NY, train to Montreal), one to our west coast kid (plane of course), and one RT to Barbados (plane) every year. I have a car but I drive only about 1000 miles a year.

Actually you probably shouldn’t recycle those paper towels. If they have food stuff on them, don’t recycle them. The food waste messes with the recycling. For the same reason, never recycle pizza boxes. They’re always contaminated, with cooking oil, if nothing else.

Similar explanation to blabbermeister. I saw a documentary of sorts recently that explained how plastic recycling, for “low grade” stuff that doesn’t get recycled in the US, for a while was being shipped to China, where they had a go at recycling it. They eventually gave up and stopped accepting it. Thus, lots of plastic, including plastic bags from grocery stores, just get put into landfills. I believe this is the reason behind some places starting to ban the use of (single use; cheap, thin) plastic grocery bags.

I try to use paper bags these days, or the nice, reusable type of plastic bag (with handles!), but I am always forgetting to bring those with me to the store (my “worst” thing). At least paper is actually recyclable.

The non-recyclability of most plastic bums me out. Hope they find a way to deal with that soon. Frankly it’s very high on my list of “environmental disasters currently in motion” to worry about.

I verbally abuse the wildlife as I wander the desert collecting trash discarded by others.

You gotta be nuts if you think I’d admit to anything worse than that on this board

And this is a completely serious answer…

This. I fly to India for work as well, and we vacation in Europe, Asia, and soon Africa.

I have twin 200 hp engines on my boat. They’re 2019 models, so pretty efficient, but I still go through a lot of gas.

That, and eating meat.

I drive a gas-powered car. On the other hand, it’s five years old and only has 10,000 miles on it. My wife buys those big hard plastic containers full of spinach. The city doesn’t recycle them, so they go in the landfill, along with the raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and small tomato clamshells. A lot of take-out containers are also not recyclable, but we don’t do that a lot. We’re in our 70s, so the heat is usually up to 73 in winter and set for 73 cool in summer whenever the AC is on. We have a small RV that probably only gets 12-15 MPG, but we don’t use it a whole lot in some years.

Ever since I bought my Miata, I go for drives in the country purely for pleasure.

That and eating meat.

We always use our plastic grocery bags as “Scottish kitchen catchers” for garbage. :sunglasses:

I use water. I have a large patch of clover that needs watering, along with the trees and flowers. I also grow water hungry food plants every year.

I let the water run in the shower until it gets warm.

We do have low water appliances, and we are both childless.

I’m with him.

You smell good.

Even my own children don’t know what unecological things I do. Especially my kids.

I won’t touch that with a Venn Diagram.

Are you serious? If so, why do that? Is it so hard to hold on to it until you get near a trashcan?

First I’ve heard of this (which doesn’t mean you’re wrong, of course - I can easily believe that governments have decided it is better to push a general recycling message even if it results in some contamination, rather than try for a more nuanced message that could reduce recycling overall). What is the impact on the recycling process of doing this?

My answers to the OP: having 2 kids, a petrol car with a more powerful engine than is strictly necessary (but I do try to avoid driving it unnecessarily, especially for short journeys), occasional flights (though I haven’t used long haul for several years), eating meat, using natural gas for cooking and heating. I do recycle what I consider to be a decent amount, but I admit I could make more effort to recycle the things that don’t get collected kerbside, such as plastic bags. And just reducing plastic waste in general.

We fly. Mostly domestic flights, but 4-6 times per non-Covid-19 year.

I drive a compact car to save gas, but it has a high performance engine, which wastes gas. In a few more years, I’ll replace it with an EV.

I have a motorcycle. It gets 40-50 mpg. An electric one would obviously be cleaner. Future electric bikes will perform better than today’s, and I’ll consider one then.

I am serious that I have done it in the past I used to work out of town. I always felt bad when I did it but I did it anyway. I’m trying to not to do it anymore. It sounds cheesy but I really felt bad when my kids saw me do it and got upset and told me to stop. They get them young nowadays.

We are friends with a couple who have always done “take out” differently. They prearrange with the establishment to use quality containers that they drop off ahead of time.

At first I thought it odd, and a lot of extra work, but it’s really a great idea.

Well, good for you for quitting. Hopefully an easy habit to break. I mean, admittedly it’s probably a tiny environmental impact compared with even taking one short flight, but I think respect for immediate surroundings is the issue.

Most of the paper towels are used for mopping up water that’s splashed onto the countertop and the ledge around the kitchen sink. This isn’t food-laden water - so the paper towels aren’t truly grungy - but it’s water we don’t want to wipe up with a dishcloth (which we use for drying just-washed dishes).