Is your going green information real or bogus?
You and your family are working hard when it comes to going green. Are you really going green, or are you just kidding yourself and wasting your time and effort?
With all the information and tips about being eco-friendly, you don’t know if the information you’re getting is good or bogus information from someone out to make a buck off of conscientious people. Learn the truth and put your time to good use.
Myth #1 — It’s green if it comes from a plant
Any material that comes from a plant is better than a synthetic material. With that said, it still doesn’t mean that it’s green just because it came from a plant. Cotton is a plant and is a natural material but accounts for more global pesticide use than all other crops on the earth.
Cotton grown in the United States with ‘organic’ on the label must receive certification. Cotton grown in other countries as organic must be certified and meet USDA standards.
Myth #2 — Easily renewable plants are green
You hear a lot about products made from easily renewable and sustainable plants. While it’s true that many of these plants grow fast and that bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, many products produced from bamboo and other renewable sources use so much energy and so many chemicals during the manufacturing process you can’t classify them as green.
Myth #3 — It’s green if it comes from an animal
Materials from animals like wool, angora, alpaca, and cashmere are a better alternative than synthetic materials. These materials are biodegradable and from renewable sources. However, to keep the animals that produce these fibers healthy, farmers dunk them regularly in tubs of pesticides to controls parasites.
So before you pay a lot of money for that wool or cashmere sweater, make sure it’s certified by the USDA as organic. Only products certified organic are from animals free from pesticides and growth hormones.
Myth #4 — Naturally dyed means it’s green
Commercial dying involves synthetic dyes made from chemicals and heavy metal. A natural dying process uses dyes from plants, the earth and even bugs. All dying processes, even natural, involve heating water and using toxic compounds to make the dye stick to the material permanently. Unabsorbed dye in the water has a huge impact when disposed of improperly.
Myth #5 — Planting trees is good for the environment
Replacing harvested trees is good to a certain extent. But did you know that planting trees to offset atmospheric carbon dioxide causes a net warming effect? True. The farther away from the equator a forest is, the more likely they are to trap heat in their canopies. Studies by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Carnegie Institution discovered that forests could raise the temperature by 10 degrees over the next 100 years.
Myth #6 — You save energy by turning your appliances off
Ever heard of vampire power? This refers to energy leaks that happen when we turn appliances off but don’t unplug them. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discovered appliances use 15 to 30 watts of power per appliance. So yes, turn them off. But take it a step further and unplug your cell phones, TVs, clocks, and computers.
Myth #7 — Hybrid vehicles are the best choice for going green
Small hybrids are fuel-efficient but this doesn’t make all hybrids equal. The Honda Fit, a gas-only model, gets 33mpg. The hybrid Toyota Highlander gets only 27 mpg.
Going Green Means Big Bucks
Most people are making at least some effort to cut back and become more environmentally friendly. Businesses know this and many are taking advantage of people who are trying to do what’s right.
Before you blindly accept and pay big bucks for items that are supposedly ‘green’ ask questions. Use these myths as guidelines and do some more research. A good resource for going green tips is http://www.ConsumerSavvyTips.org. Read more about going green, cleaning green and driving green at this helpful site.