5 Terrible Misconceptions About Green-Living That Some People Still Believe – Do You?
With the dangers of climate change growing more and more evident every day, many people are looking at things that they can do to help mitigate their own carbon footprint. While good intentions are a great place to start, it’s important to make sure that we follow up with action. However, as more research is done, science has proven that many of the green-living rules we’ve learned might be wrong. Here are a few misconceptions about green-living that you might not be aware of.
Energy Efficient Cars
Manufacturing any new car is an energy-intensive and resource-heavy process that can wreak havoc on the environment. Trading your car in for a newer, more efficient vehicle might actually be worse than driving your old car for a few more years. If you are in a position where you need to replace your car, by all means go green. But if your car still has some life left in it, the resources used in building a new one will be much worse than the extra emissions that your current car will produce over the next few years.
We’ve been hearing for years that hand-washing your dishes is much better for the environment than running the dishwasher. While older appliances were terrible about using excessive water and energy, newer models are significantly more efficient with both water resources and energy. Most dishwashers have a life-span of 9-10 years, and most dishwashers built within the last few decades are going to be greener than washing dishes by hand. Unless your machine is 15 years old or more, you’re better off using the dishwasher.
Recycled Products are Greener
It may sound counter-intuitive, but recycling is an energy and chemical dependent process. While some systems are better than others, if you live in an area where electricity production is emissions-heavy, or if your local recycling plant doesn’t have a method for containing or reducing the toxic by-products of the process, recycling might be worse than sourcing sustainable products. Responsible harvesting of trees and planting new ones may use less resources, and young forests in high-growth periods often use more carbon dioxide and produce more oxygen than more mature trees. Take a bit of time to look into your local recycling practices.
There are many reasons to buy local, but being greener isn’t necessarily one of them. Yes, shipping produce long distances often uses more fuel, but it isn’t the only consideration. Agricultural practices vary greatly, and infrastructure does as well. If your local farmers use poor irrigation practices or don’t contain their waste properly, they can often be doing much more harm to the environment than if you were getting your food shipped from a producer that practices sustainable farming.
As designers are more focused on sustainability, appliances are becoming more efficient. But just like with cars, the manufacturing process can be resource-heavy, and may outweigh the environmental costs of hanging onto your old appliance. Another factor that many people don’t consider is what happens to your appliance after you dispose of it. Refrigerators, air conditioning units, and other appliances may leach toxic chemicals into the environment if they are sent to a landfill. If you do have to replace an appliance, buy an efficient one, and contact a removal company, like 1300Rubbish, to haul it away and properly dispose of it.
New research is constantly changing what we know about the impacts of our habits on our carbon footprint. Remember that just because something was considered best-practice 10 years ago, or even 5, doesn’t mean that it’s still true. Spend some time every few years looking into what you can do to keep shifting towards a greener lifestyle.