The Green Truth – Uncovering Green Myths Pt. 2

Framed in Green by Tony Fischer Photography (CC BY 2.0)

I love green and I love the idea of doing all that I can to live a greener life. But it’s difficult to see what is really the eco-friendly choice with so many green myths. I’ve covered the top 5 green myths, but there are still so many green myths to figure out. So I’ve put my detective cap back on and uncovered some more green myths. Knowing the truth to these daily queries not only helps save you money and resources but lets you live a greener life style.

If you haven’t checked out my previous green myths, go here first Green Myths #1-5.

Green Myths #6-10: 

Green Myth #6.) Paper Towels or Electric Hand Dryers

hand dryer
Electric Hand Dryer (photo by: sorosh)

These days there are paper towels made out of recycled material which should compete with the hand dryer machine, but which is greener? With recent advances in technology, it seems like the air dry machine is the better choice for drying your hands. Paper towels take a lot to produce and the likelihood of the paper towels being eco-friendly everywhere are usually slim.

The green truth:

MIT study states that cool air electric hand dryers are better than paper towerls due to more energy efficient cool air dryers in recent years. Using paper towels is the least green option, but the greenest option is really just air drying your hands.

Green Myth #7.) Organic or Conventional Food

Organic veggies, yum! (photo by: smith)

In this day and age, organic foods have become  available for everyone. The appeal of organic foods is that there are no harmful chemicals, pesticides, or insecticides used on the food during production, but does that make it greener? Should we be purchasing locally grown organic food? The green myths of food, is organic better?

The green truth:

The greenest option lies in the way that the food was produced regardless of whether its organic or conventional foods. The production is where the highest amount of emissions is from according  to a two year study done by The Union of Concerned Scientists. Transportation as an emission factor only really matters for fruits and vegetables as their overall carbon imprint is smaller and transportation emissions account for a higher factor.

Be a smart shopper. That’s the green truth. Buy locally grown fruits and vegetables when you can. Choose organic, if you prefer your foods pesticide free.

Green Myth #8.) Lights On or Off

light bulb
(photo by: sun dazed)

Mother always said, “Remember to turn off the lights before you leave a room.” Was she right though? Does it prolong the life of the bulb and save energy by turning off the lights every time? Fluorescent light bulbs use more energy at start up, does that mean we should keep the lights on? Does the rule change when it comes to compact fluorescent bulbs?

The green truth:

The Consumer Energy Center debunks this green myth of keeping the lights on. Turn off your lights CFL or incandescent.  If you’re planning on leaving the room for five minutes and returning, it’s fine to keep your CFL light bulbs on, but just like incandescent light bulbs leaving them on for extended periods of time shortens it’s life span and usage. It is true that turning on a fluorescent light bulb on and off too often can shorten its life span as well.

Green Myth #9.)  Vegetarian or Regular Diet

vegetarian salad
A Vegetarian Meal (Photo by: Ted Drake)

A vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat or sometimes dairy products. Many people consider vegetarian to be more green than a regular diet consuming meat, but is this just another green myth?  Is this lifestyle really greener than consuming meat?

The green truth:

According to UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions while cars produce 13%. Livestock especially beef actually creates more greenhouse gases per year. Going vegetarian can actually help the environment, but the production of milk and dairy products produces quite a bit of emissions as well. So eating smaller portions of dairy products and meat can help regardless if you plan on going vegetarian or not.

Green Myth #10.) Hybrid Cars or Non hybrids

With gas prices getting higher and higher, many people are trading in their cars for hybrids, but is this the greener move? The hybrid definitely seems like the answer to our car troubles with emissions.

The green truth:

Hybrids still burn a significant amount of petrol. Not to mention, the real environmental damage comes from production and destruction of cars. The production of the batteries for electric cars is quite high, and the batteries in hybrids have to be replaced. Getting rid of your functioning  car for a hybrid is actually more damaging to the environment.  If you happen to need a car, then buying a hybrid is the slightly better option but otherwise, hybrid or not, there is no real difference.

These are just a few of the green myths that keep us from making the truly green choice. Can you think of any other common green myths? Maybe I can fill you in on those too. It’s fun finding out green facts from green myths.