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While technology is advancing daily, some conveniences are better left in the past and off your shopping list. A careful look at what you're buying regularly will help you identify the things that could potentially harm your health and the environment. You may not have even given some thought to some of the items as you habitually add them to your shopping cart.

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Toxic household cleaning products

Household cleaning products and detergents can be dangerous to your health. Before you pick up oven cleaner or even the trusty all-purpose cleaner, think twice. Many cleaning products and detergents such as all-purpose cleaners, laundry detergents, and window and glass cleaners are on the Cleveland Clinic's list of household items that contain dangerous chemicals. Laundry detergent, for example, contains enzymes that work to clean clothing. Instead, opt for making your own natural cleaners and detergents, or be sure the ones you do buy contain natural ingredients. They work just as well and may even save you money.

Young woman washing window Nastasic / Getty Images
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Disposable straws

Before drinking a superfood, ultra-healthy smoothie, stop and think about the health of the environment if you plan on drinking it with a plastic straw. Single-use plastic straws often land up in the waterways and oceans and pose a hazard to the environment and wildlife. The best alternative is to add reusable straws to your shopping list. Options include bamboo, glass, paper, silicone, and stainless steel straws. Some people have become creative by using bucatini as an edible straw. Either way, they will save you money and save the environment too.

Smiling Females Drinking Coffee and Watching Movies at Summer Beach AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images
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Enhanced water

Statistics show that enhanced water is gaining in popularity. Unfortunately, most enhanced drinks do not have the additional nutrients that would make a huge difference to one's health. Electrolytes are typically the main nutritional additive and help prevent dehydration. However, they are easy to add to your reusable water bottle through electrolyte powders if you want to follow the drinking-enhanced water trend. Making your own will help eliminate more plastic bottles damaging the environment and is cheaper too.

Sweating female boxer drinking water after workout in boxing gym Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
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Immune and health-boosting supplements

In much the same way that enhanced water isn't going to make a big difference to your overall health, health supplements will not either. If you are a healthy person, taking supplements to improve your immunity or overall heath could potentially cause more harm than benefit. When taking large doses of vitamins and minerals, you will most likely lose many of them through the expulsion of bodily fluids. Taking too many can cause overdose symptoms, such as anemia and diarrhea. Instead, boost your body naturally through a healthy diet and exercise.

Taking Natural Supplements Janine Lamontagne / Getty Images
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Cancel the gym membership

The pandemic is still present in 2021, which means that if you want to prevent contracting the coronavirus, it may be best to avoid places like gyms. Avoid the membership fees and stay safe by choosing to follow an exercise regime that you can do at home. You can purchase your own weights or simply take to running or walking daily.

Woman practicing gym at home Giselleflissak / Getty Images
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Plastic tea bags

Here is something to think about when you make your next cup of tea. Tea bags are convenient and help us make a quick cup of tea; however, be careful which one you buy because you may be drinking microscopic plastic particles. McGill University in Montreal conducted a study in 2019 that showed that plastic tea bags release billions of microscopic plastic particles into heated water. While the health effects are unknown, it may be best to switch to natural-fiber tea bags or use loose-leaf tea.

Woman drinking tea outdoors in autumn casual clothing close up of ceramic tea cup Photo taken outdoors in nature in sunlight knape / Getty Images
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Single-use plastic bottles

Plastic bottles are not good for the environment, oceans, or wildlife, and they are not beneficial for the body either. Single-use plastic bottles contain bisphenol A, or BPA, which is a chemical that mimics the hormone estrogen. BPA has several harmful effects on the body, including reproductive disorders and infertility. Save the environment and yourself, and instead add plastic-free reusable water bottles to your shopping list.

Side view of a young woman with a backpack drinking water from a plastic bottle outdoors. fotostorm / Getty Images
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Bagged and pre-cut produce

Shopping for already packaged fruit and vegetables makes shopping quick and easy. But for 2021, skip the convenience factor and think twice about buying produce that is pre-packaged and already cut up. Not only are you left to wonder who handled the fruit and vegetables, but all that plastic is going to land up in a landfill or littering growing environments. Take the time to select your own loose fruit and vegetables and cut them up yourself. It is better for the environment, your health, and your budget.

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Processed meats

Cooking may be a chore for many, especially when time is limited in a fast-paced world. Convenient foods, such as processed meat, feature many shopping lists, but just how healthy is the convenient choice? The World Health Organization has declared processed meats carcinogenic to humans - they're also known to cause diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Save yourself and take the time to prepare fresh meat instead of processed meat.

Open Face baloney and Cheese Sandwich DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images
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Mothballs

Mothballs have been around for decades as a method of pest control, and while granny may still be adding them to her shopping list, it is time to scratch them off your list. Mothballs contain chemicals known as naphthalene and p-dichlorobenzene. These pesticides are harmful to a person's health, and breathing in the fumes can cause various symptoms, including dizziness, headaches, and irritation to the eyes, skin, and throat. Rather store your clothing and linen in airtight containers if you want to keep the pests away.

Moth balls in glass Raunamaxtor / Getty Images
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Air freshener

There is nothing better than when a home smells fresh and clean. Sometimes it is all too easy to reach for the air freshener, but do you realize what ingredients many of these chemical fresheners contain? Depending on the formulation, the toxic effects of air fresheners differ. Many of these products cause indoor air pollution and harm your health because they release volatile organic compounds into the air. If they contain the chemicals phthalates and formaldehyde, your risk of cancer and reproductive abnormalities will increase. Instead, add essential oils to your shopping list and make your own air freshener.

Car air freshener on a blurry background with birches Evgeniy Priymack / Getty Images
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Single-use menstrual products

Unfortunately, for women, a menstrual cycle is inevitable pre-menopause. The popular choice for handling Aunt Flo is to use pads or tampons. However, even if they're 100% cotton, they can become a bio-hazard for the environment if they are not disposed of properly. Save the money on purchasing these sanitary items monthly and protect the environment by adding reusable menstrual products to your shopping list. There are menstrual cups and discs and cloth pads that can be washed with each use.

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Disposable razors

Disposable razors are a popular choice for both men and women. Unfortunately, they're not always disposed of in a way that is safe for the environment, and millions end up in landfills. Some brands have become conscious of creating a recycling solution for metal and plastic, but not everyone will recycle these objects correctly. Bypass the convenience of disposable razors, and save some money by purchasing a razor with a reusable handle. You will only have to buy the blades.

Extreme close-up of man shaving Medioimages/Photodisc / Getty Images
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Baby shoes

Babies are adorable, and little fashionable baby shoes rank high for cuteness. However, just how practical are baby shoes and spending lots of money on them when they can't walk in them yet? Babies don't need shoes until they are walking, or at least learning to walk. Instead, save the budget you had for fashionable baby shoes and put that into a savings plan. While keeping a baby's feet covered is important, many outfits are a one-piece onesie and will protect their feet and keep them warm.

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable couple holding pink baby shoes katleho Seisa / Getty Images
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Natural diamonds

Diamonds may be considered a girl's best friend, but they don't necessarily have to be natural or mined diamonds, do they? Undeniably, diamonds have an emotional appeal, and people willingly pay a large sum of money for the biggest and best diamond—scratch natural diamonds off your shopping list. Instead, save up to 50% less and choose lab-grown diamonds. They are so similar to mined diamonds that gemologists have a hard time telling them apart. Lab-grown diamonds are also environmentally friendly, and you don't have to worry about them being a conflict diamond.

Jeweler polishing the diamond ring. miljko / Getty Images

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