Are All Green Trends Created Equal
Monday, January 23, 2017 • 7 comments
Living a green lifestyle means that you probably purchase certain items because you believe that they cause less environmental harm. Unfortunately, not all green trends are equal, so you may want to learn about the pros and cons of products before you buy them.
Many eco-conscious people use fluorescent lights because the bulbs use less electricity than incandescent bulbs. If one bulb uses less energy than another, then it only makes sense to purchase the efficient option. While fluorescent light bulbs can lower your energy use, the bulbs contain mercury gas that poses a threat to land and waterways. You can reduce those risks significantly by disposing of fluorescent bulbs in the proper way. Indeed, manufacturers place a warning on their fluorescent bulbs to educate consumers. Unfortunately, most people forget about the warning by the time they need to replace broken bulbs.
Verdict: This green trend has its positive aspects, but you could cause more harm than good when you dispose of fluorescent bulbs improperly.
Buying energy-efficient appliances can drastically reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas that your home uses. By using less energy, you reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, and lower your utility bills. Before you spend money on your next appliance, though, do some research to make sure you’re really getting an efficient model. The level of efficiency can vary a lot from one appliance to the next. The good news is that minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings have become more impressive in recent years, which means you have more options when buying energy-efficient HVAC systems.
Verdict: Energy-efficient appliances are hugely beneficial, but you should do research and talk to a professional to make sure you buy a model that matches your expectations.
Organic Gatorade (and Other Sweet Drinks)
Gatorade recently announced the release of G Organic, a new version of the popular sports drink that contains only organic ingredients. Gatorade hopes that consumers will see this as a healthier alternative to other sports drinks that contain artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, or sucralose. In reality, organic cane sugar poses some of the same health concerns as other sweeteners.
Eco-conscious people, however, might buy G Organic because they want to promote responsible agriculture. Farmers growing organic sugar cane cannot use many of the pesticides and herbicides that conventional farmers use. By reducing the amount of chemicals used to raise plants, organic farmers don’t pollute land and water as much as conventional farmers do.
Verdict: Organic sports drinks may help the environment, but they probably aren’t healthier than other sweet beverages.
Electric car owners choose their vehicles primarily because they don’t want to create tailpipe emissions and they don’t want to burn gasoline. Driving an electric car makes it possible for you to travel conveniently without harming the environment. Technically, these benefits are true. Unfortunately, most drivers charge their vehicles with electricity that was generated by burning coal or natural gas. The car doesn’t create emissions, but creating electricity does. Electric cars are a better option, but they certainly aren’t perfect.
Verdict: Good, but not as great as some believe.
Keeping up with green trends can improve the planet’s health, but modern life always involves some compromise.