Nowadays, “green” living isn’t merely a trend: making eco-friendly choices in our everyday lives are all small steps towards reducing our carbon footprint and maintaining a healthy planet. Making some of these changes to our lifestyles, such as using cloth bags or shopping locally, can be easy, whereas others just come with a lot more questions. Here, we’re clarifying a few eco-myths for you, to help you make informed decisions when adopting eco-conscious habits.
Myth #1: Buying a hybrid vehicle is the only way a driver can go “green”.
Fact: Hybrid cars are indeed energy efficient and produce less carbon emissions than their gas-guzzling counterparts.
However: Note that the production of any new vehicle is far from being a “green” process. On average, a medium-sized new car can emit 17 tonnes of CO2 while being built!
Smart suggestion: If you’re not pressed for a new vehicle, keep your current car on the road for a while longer. If you are in the market for a new car, a hybrid vehicle is your better bet compared to a standard car, but we also suggest visiting a used car lot and perhaps giving an older model a new life.
Myth #2: Using biodegradable detergent makes your laundry habits eco-friendly.
Fact: Eco-friendly cleaning products and laundry detergents use plant-based ingredients that are low in toxicity, and that biodegrade easier and quicker than chemical-based cleaners.
However: When doing the laundry, your carbon footprint (as well as your hydro bill!) actually grows bigger when using hot water, much more so than entails the production of chemical-based detergents. So even if you’re washing your loads with “green” products, they’re not exactly countering the effects of your hot water usage.
Smart suggestion: Continue to use eco-friendly cleaning products for the rest of your home—from some of our favourite brands like method, Attitude and Green Works—but opt for a more powerful laundry detergent that works well in cold water.
Myth #3: Planting trees anywhere will fix global warming.
Fact: Deforestation worldwide at the hands of humans is responsible for a good chunk of our earth’s climate change. After all, trees soak up CO2, cooling the planet, and lessening the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. This is why reforestation projects play a major part in attempts to reverse the effects of global warming.
However: You may not know that tree-planting location plays a big part. Forests nearest to the equator (a.k.a. the tropical rainforests) absorb the most CO2, lowering the earth’s temperature. The further away the forests are, the less influence they have on climate change.
Smart suggestion: When looking to contribute monetarily to tree-planting initiatives, be sure to pick an organization that supports reforestation in the tropics. Of course, supporting projects in your community such as tree-planting, urban gardening, and park and shoreline clean-ups, are still great ways to help the environment and promote “green” living among your neighbours!