Debunking 7 Myths and Misunderstandings About Green Living

By Ebony Porter, October 3, 2016, Green

How green are you really living?

I constantly ask myself this question, even as I tend my garden or collect wood for my fireplace (as I don’t have central heating in my home). It seems there’s always some new debate in eco-friendly circles about how to best reduce humanity’s impact on the plant. And when you combine that with the notion that green living is expensive, even the most earth-friendly hippie will get confused.

Debunking 7 Myths and Misunderstandings About Green Living | Bounce Energy Blog

In this blog post, we take a look at a few key myths and misunderstandings about green living to help you gain a better grasp on how environmentally conscious you really are.

1) Doing  Your Dishes: Hand-Washing Vs a Dishwasher

Debunking 7 Myths and Misunderstandings About Green Living | Bounce Energy Blog

Pro Tip: Washing your dishes while the water is running wastes lots of water and is NOT greener than running your dishwasher.

I personally don’t own a dishwasher, so hand-washing is my only option. But some green advocates believe that washing by hand will surely be better energy-wise and use less water than using a dishwasher. However, recent studies have shown that the average hand-washer uses much more water than the average energy-efficient dishwasher. So, unless you wash your dishes by hand in cold water or set up separate sinks of water for scrubbing and rinsing, you might be living greener by upgrading your home dishwasher to an Energy Star model.

2) Dressing Green is Expensive

Dressing green means wearing clothing made in your country of resident (the USA for me) from real, natural fibers, as opposed to petroleum-based fabrics. Outdoor lifestyle stores market high-quality clothing to those who adhere to a green lifestyle, but it comes with a seriously hefty price tag.

If you’re like me and love good quality clothing alongside a good bargain, then head to your local thrift store! Get hip to reading labels off the rack by looking for items made in your country from cotton, bamboo, denim, or linen. Some of my favorite rugged items have come from the local thrift store, and they’re wearing as well as the day I bought them. Dressing green doesn’t have to cost you a ton of green.

3) Organic Food is Better for You

Debunking 7 Myths and Misunderstandings About Green Living | Bounce Energy Blog

Organic food might not be better for you, but it should be free of pesticides and more likely to be grown locally with sustainable farming practices.

Studies have come out debating whether organically grown food is actually more nutritious than conventionally grown food. Organic food tends to be on average 40% higher in cost, but while limiting your exposure to pesticides, which is how conventional food is grown, sometimes it’s hard to keep within your budget when living the organic lifestyle.

If you want to avoid pesticides but can’t afford to buy all organic vegetables and fruit, then at least avoid the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen,” a list that includes conventionally grown strawberries, apples, spinach, and celery.

4) Paper Bags Versus Plastic Bags

Debunking 7 Myths and Misunderstandings About Green Living | Bounce Energy Blog

Trick Question! The answer is bring your own canvas bags that you can use over and over again.

When you’re offered either paper or plastic at the grocery store, do you often opt for paper bags, thinking they are better for the Earth? Well, in terms of carbon emissions, they’re equally bad, though from a solid waste stand point, plastic is definitely worse.

The answer? Bringing your own bags is the most environmentally friendly thing you can do! And yes, even if you’re a family of five, just load up your car with 15 or more bags next time you hit the grocery store!

5) Flying Versus Driving

Flying to your vacation destination has a bad rap these days when it comes to saving energy and being environmentally friendly. But the truth is, if you vacation in an SUV, truck, or station wagon, it’s actually worse, according to some recent studies. The stats are based around fuel economy. The only way driving on your vacation is better for the environment is if you and your family pack into a supremely fuel-efficient vehicle and don’t load your car down with too much baggage.

6) Can You Trust All Products that Are Green?

Marketing have become savvy with how it labels things “eco-friendly,” “safe for the environment,” and “green.” But the shape of a green leaf and green lettering doesn’t always mean a product is environmentally safe. The Federal Trade Commission has caught on, and it’s now zeroing in on claims that fail environmentally safety tests. As a result, manufacturers are getting better at labeling their products by providing definitions on their websites of the lists of ingredients that appear in the products.

7) Natural Food Versus Organic

Debunking 7 Myths and Misunderstandings About Green Living | Bounce Energy Blog

Like so much of life, it really helps to understand how to read labels and packaging.

Don’t be fooled by labels that say food is “natural” and assume it’s “organic.” These two words are not interchangeable. Terms like “all-natural,” “hormone-free,” and “free-range” don’t necessarily mean that pesticides weren’t used. To earn the USDA’s organic rating, food must be grown and processed free of pesticides. As always, read your labels, and know how to decode their meanings.

Are there any myths about green living you want to see refuted? Share with us in the comments!

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Born in Australia, Ebony has been in Texas long enough to consider herself a Texan-Aussie. Ebony has been writing for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, for more than 10 years. When she's not writing she's building quilts, growing her own food, or camping with her family somewhere far from the sounds of the city.

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