When it comes to selecting greener choices, sometimes it's difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Depending on whom you believe, a more eco-friendly lifestyle can either seem exciting, empowering and financially enriching -- or depressing, deprived and expensive.
Having trouble sorting through it all? Here are 10 green myths, along with some real information, to make it easier.
10 myths about green living:
Separating green facts from green fiction often results in inaction. Don't let these 10 myths stop you.
- Small changes don't matter.
- "Green" choices are painful and expensive.
- Keeping old appliances is "greener" than buying new.
- The U.S. needs more power plants for energy needs.
- The cost of your commute is a fixed expense.
- At the grocery store, eco-friendly options are expensive.
- If an appliance is off, it's not using power.
- Hybrid vehicles are automatically better than nonhybrids.
- There are millions of vehicles running on ethanol.
- There's only one "right" answer to your eco-dilemma.
Myth No. 1: Small changes don't matter.One of your biggest weapons in the green movement is your own wallet. Recent numbers demonstrate that a few smarter buying decisions translate to big changes in the planet. One that's fairly easy: When you buy household paper goods (like paper towels, napkins, toilet paper and copy paper), look for products that use high percentages of recycled or post-consumer waste.
A lot of the major paper manufacturers are cutting virgin forests to make the items you use, says Jennifer Powers, spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group. But some well-known green-label brands, like Seventh Generation and Whole Foods Market's 365 line, use recycled materials instead.
If everyone in the country elected to buy one package of 100 percent recycled napkins instead of the nonrecycled variety, that act alone would save 1 million trees, says Powers.