Stepping Off the "Go Green" Bandwagon – 10 Green Initiatives That Aren't Worth the Time Or Money

More and more people are becoming aware of the need to give something back to the environment and take positive steps now to avoid serious environmental problems later on. Unfortunately, there are some green initiatives that simply are not worth the time or the money because they do not provide enough of an impact or no impact at all.

1. Buying because you see green. Perhaps one of the worst initiatives at the current moment is simply giving in and buying something just because it is labeled green. While your heart is certainly in the right place, it just does not make sense to buy something just because it is labeled green and particularly when you do not really need it. Unfortunately the word green has become a marketing tool. The best way to make an impact is to actually use fewer items.

2. Buying a new car simply to get better gas mileage. While this may sound like a good idea in theory, the most environmentally friendly car you could possibly drive, if you are going to drive a car, is the one you already own. As long as your existing car is in good repair, keep in mind that it would take a long time to break even by buying a car simply for better gas mileage. In the meanwhile, you might actually be making matters worse by buying something new rather than sticking with a perfectly usable item you already own. Letting up on the accelerator petal is a simple way to make your existing car perform like a green car.

3. Buying ‘green’ cleaning products. In theory this one sounds like you would be doing something positive but in reality you can actually do much better by making your own cleaning products with just a few simple ingredients you probably already have at home. For example you can make an all-purpose cleaner by mixing 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon water. This formula used in conjunction with micro-fiber cloths which lift off dirt and grease is an ideal green cleaning solution.

4. Buying from a Farmer’s Market. In some cases, making the effort to purchase produce from a farmer’s market may not be the best choice if you need to drive a long distance in order to do it. Always balance out the initiative with the amount of fuel you need to expend in order to accomplish it.

5. Buying a new Energy Star appliance. If there is nothing wrong with the appliance you already own, you might be helping the environment more by waiting until you actually need a new appliance to purchase one and then purchasing an energy efficient model. However, if your appliance is over 15 years old, it makes both eco and financial sense to replace it. For example, replacing a pre-1994 washer with an Energy Star model can save a family $110 a year on utility bills. Energy Star washers use 50 percent less energy than other standard models, and only 18 to 25 gallons of water for a full-sized load, compared to 40 gallons for standard full-size washers.

6. Going ga-ga for green gadgets. Green gadgets do not always work that well. A prime example is buying a low-flow toilet that takes multiple flushes to work correctly. In this case you really are not saving any water if you need to flush a low-flow toilet more often than a regular toilet in order for it to work right.

7. Window shopping. If you have single pane and not double-hung windows, sealing your old windows is a more cost efficient choice than purchasing new Energy Star windows. Replacing all the windows in a home rarely saves more than 10-15% of the home’s heating bill. It usually takes 20 years or more to recover the cost of the new windows in energy savings. The Efficient Windows Collaborative has a helpful guide for calculating your savings.

8. Investing in solar panels for your home. While solar panels will probably make sense for most of us in the future, at the current time they are often cost-prohibitive despite the tax credits and in most instances will not save enough energy to offset the amount of energy that was needed to manufacture them for a single family home. Great strides are being made however, to generate power from solar sources on a much larger scale i.e, to power a whole city.

9. Buying organic clothing. Many designers are now marketing “eco-friendly” clothing made with organic cotton. This sounds environmentally friendly but just because the cotton may have been organic to start with doesn’t mean that the tee shirt you are buying is not laden with processing chemicals and dyes. If you really want environmentally friendly clothing buy vintage clothes and wear the ones you’ve already got. You can always repurpose those old MC Hammer pants into pajamas or a yoga outfit.

10. Purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon offset programs have many proponents such as Al Gore. However, in reality, this is probably the least effective green step you can take. Critics often liken it to the old Catholic practice of buying indulgences for the forgiveness of sins. You can’t undo something bad you have done for the environment by buying some green points. You are better off simply taking more steps to be environmentally friendly in the first place.

Are you overwhelmed by all of the “go green” messages that bombard you on a daily basis? Are you experiencing green fatigue? Djuna Woods writes the blog Simple Ways to Help at which bottom lines eco-friendly living. This blog is like the “Cliffs Notes” for green living.

Author: Djuna Woods
Article Source:
Provided by: Programmable Multi-cooker

Leave a Reply

Search Greener Tips
Green Products
Tell A Friend