If you want to live a greener life we applaud you. Living green can be a very good idea but can sometimes be confusing. There are a lot of “facts” or myths circulating on the Internet and in chat rooms so it’s important that you can separate fact from fiction.
An eco-friendly green lifestyle can feel empowering, exciting and financially rewarding – or it can leave you feeling depressed, deprived and short of cash – depending on who you talk to. Here are nine “facts” or myths about living green along with the true facts.
#1. Making green choices is expensive and painful
If part of your living green is buying organic products this can be expensive as they generally cost more than regular ones. But there are things you can do that cost nothing such as turning off the lights in empty rooms, keeping your thermostat at a reasonable temperature and using water-saving faucets. These are “free” strategies that actually pay off. And if you spend the extra money to buy eco-friendly appliances many of them will pay themselves off far faster than what you budgeted.
#2. Making small changes doesn’t matter
This is definitely fiction because recent studies have shown that you if you make just a few smart buying decisions this can translate to big changes in our planet. One example of this that’s fairly easy is that when you buy household paper goods just look for those that have high percentages of post-consumer waste or recycled paper. Unfortunately, many of the big paper manufacturers are cutting virgin forests to make these products. But there are some green-label brands such as Seventh Generation and the Market 365 line at Whole Foods that use recycled materials. Start buying them and you might actually help save some trees.
#3.We need more power plants
Instead of building more power plants we could make smarter choices so that the energy we have will go further. As an example of this, according to numbers from the Natural Resources Defense Council those compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) cause four times less global warming pollution than conventional ones.
#4. If you keep your old appliances it’s like you’re recycling
According to some experts, this is at least, half true. This is because if you keep appliances you’re not adding to landfills. But keeping them isn’t necessarily a green choice either. Let’s say you’re using a refrigerator from the 1970s. If so, you’re consuming 70% more power than you would with a newer model. In fact, if you choose an appliance with the Energy Star label your savings will be close to 90%. The reason for this is because newer appliances just do a lot more with less electricity. Let’s say that old refrigerator is 10 to 15 years old. In this case, you would probably cut your energy use significantly by replacing it. You could also reduce your guilt by buying from a retailer that will take that old appliance away and recycle it.
Here’s a short video with some more information about Energy Star appliances and how they can save you money and our environment.
#5. The cost to commute is a fixed expense
If you think your cost of commuting is a fixed expense, think again. You could get anywhere from 10% to 50% more gas every week free. According to GlobalCarsBrands.com, the simplest tune-up can improve your gas mileage at least by 4% – which is a great way to save. Something as simple as a new air filter can increase your mileage by as much as 10%. Keep those tires properly inflated and you’ll get another 2%. Add all these up and you could be getting as much as 40% yo 50% more gas free every week.
#6. When you turn an appliance off it’s not using any power
Believe it or not, the appliances you’ve turned off could be accounting for up to 10% of your energy costs. This is called “vampire power” because it’s the energy that a machine keeps using so that it can come to life quickly when you press a button. We understand that plugging and unplugging your appliances every time you need to use them can be a real chore. So get a power strip. Connect three or four of your appliances to that strip and when you’re not using them just flip the switch on the strip to off and you’ll know they really are off.
#7. Hybrid cars are always better than non-hybrids
There are hybrids such as the Toyota Prius or the Honda Civic that get some really great mileage. According to GreenAmerica.org, these cars can achieve between 20% to 35% improvement in gas mileage – if compared with conventional cars. But this isn’t true of all hybrids. Some manufacturers are selling SUVs and trucks with hybrid technology but the mileage on these vehicles is often not a lot better than non-hybrid versions of the same vehicles. For that matter, there are cases where a non-hybrid car will actually use less gas and produce less pollution. So before you buy, check out the gas mileage as well as the technology.
#8. Buying eco-friendly groceries is expensive
If you shop carefully not everything you buy that’s green has to cost you extra money. For example, buying locally grown produce can lower your food cost compared to buying organic products that had to be shipped 1500 to 2500 miles to get to your store. Locally grown produce is generally considered to be anything that was grown within 200 miles of your store. This reduces those high transportation and fuel costs, along with the amount of carbon generated. These products are generally less expensive and taste better because they are allowed to ripen longer. Another bonus is that many small local growers don’t use herbicides, pesticides or artificial ripening agents in growing their crops.
#9. There are millions of vehicles that can run on ethanol
It is true that there are millions of trucks and cars that can burn E85 or fuel that’s 85% vegetable-based alcohol and 15% gasoline. However, most E85 fuel pumps are in the Midwest. This means that nine out of 10 times when you pull up to the fuel pumps they probably dispense E 10, which is 10% ethanol. You don’t need a special engine for that, which means it might not make sense to pay a premium for a vehicle that runs on E85.