By Raquel Fagan on Mar 30, 2009

8 Ways to Not Get Tricked While Going Green

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This story is part of Earth911’s “Green Eight” series, where we showcase eight ways to green your life in various areas.

Just like the game of Telephone has taught us, information filtered through multiple sources starts to get a little less reliable. The same concept can be applied to environmentalism. Like any major trend, with mass awareness comes misconception.

For this reason we thought we would dedicate this eight ways to shedding some light on common environmental myths. Most come from simple mix ups or a lack of public education, so we think it should be pretty easy to help set the record straight.

1. Just throw it out, it’s biodegradable!

We’ve heard people and companies brag about biodegradable materials since this whole green craze started. And though we love them, we don’t love the misconceptions that surround them. The prime example – “I can just throw this bottle out, because it will break down.” That would be true if we kept our landfills open to the elements such as light, air and water. This, however, is not the case. Throwing a biodegradable bottle into a landfill means it’s not going to break down (at least in a time frame that counts). Landfills are meant to keep the elements out, and it is precisely these elements that need to be present in order for a material to successfully biodegrade.

Need some cold, hard evidence? I think we can all agree that food is the most biodegradable material out there. It can break down in an ice cold fridge, so a landfill, it seems, would be a perfect environment. Think again: A trash study project conducted by the University of Arizona found some interesting things during their years of trash digging in more than 20 landfills across North America, including “hundreds of undecomposed hot dogs, corn starch and lettuce dating back to the 1960s.” Since produce doesn’t come with a date, they used some of the still readable 2,425 newspapers they found to get the date of disposal.

FACT:

Now don’t get us wrong, we love that packaging is becoming more aware and that biodegradable materials are more widely used. However, the way these products are disposed is the key when talking about waste reduction. Don’t fret, there are alternatives.

Recycle it if possible. If not, see if composting is an option. Though your home composting system might work well for paper based products, bioplastics may need a more advanced system. Try your city’s composting program or check out local stores or garden centers that utilize composting.

2. All paper should be recycled

Though we would be the first to promote recycling as a fantastic option, it isn’t always the right thing to do. You can actually do some damage if you just throw everything into your recycling bin. Enter the pizza box. Though there are some obvious recycling bin no-no’s, paper is usually a perfect participant in the recycling game.

So, why the warning? Unlike plastic or glass, where the recycling process includes heat, paper is broken down using water. And as the old adage clearly states, water and oil don’t mix. That’s right, throwing a used paper plate, napkin or stained pizza box in with the rest of the paper for recycling can actually do more harm than good. In fact, we’re talking about 700 million dollars in contamination each year.

Since the paper is mixed in large vats, and inspection at a recycling plant can only catch so much, it just takes a few contaminates to add oil to the watery pulp, and in turn, render the entire batch useless.

FACT:

Though there are tons of paper types that can be recycled, make sure to follow the rules of your local recycling services for what works for you. Some can recycle envelopes with those peek-through windows, while others can’t. Recycling is a game of knowledge, and knowing a little can get you a long way.

3. Organic food is always better for the planet

An organic banana from Chile that had to travel more than 5,000 miles to reach your table in Los Angeles, is not overall better than a conventional banana that was grown at a farm five miles from your home. It just doesn’t add up. Though organic is a great attribute to look for when shopping for produce, it shouldn’t be the only factor in consideration. Buying locally has a huge impact on a product’s overall footprint.

FACT:

Though organic may be a great asset, if local options are abundant and you have to make a decision between the two, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each. For instance, though organic is better for water systems, soil health and bio diversity, when talking about the health effects of organic, one can be less worried about fruits and vegetables whose skins or outer leaves aren’t eaten.

For more delicate skins, the levels of pesticides that can be absorbed is much greater. In fact, according to studies by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Consumer Reports and the Environmental Working Group, 97.3 percent of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.  The below list can help be used as a shopping guide:

When you should buy organic

When you can pass on organic

Celery Papaya
Bell peppers Pineapples
Potatoes Asparagus
Spinach Bananas
Apples Kiwi
Cherries Avocado
Grapes Broccoli
Nectarines Cauliflower
Peaches Corn
Raspberries Onions
Strawberries Peas
Pears Mangos

4. But the label said Eco!

Any time a trend or lifestyle gets popular, a lot of people try to get on the bandwagon. The good news is a lot of great ideas and products get created. The bad news, a lot of bad ones are too! This wouldn’t be a big deal if consumers could easily tell the difference. Unfortunately lots of marketing can go into making sure you can’t.

According to the Natural Products Association, which represents more than 10,000 natural product companies and retailers, Americans spent $7.5 billion in 2006 on personal care products that claimed to be all-natural but often were not.

Thankfully there are some major regulations in place for some of the products we rely on. Organic, for example, is a statement that is regulated by state and federal agencies.

According to Cathy Greene with the Economic Research Service/USDA , “Private organizations, mostly nonprofits, began developing certification standards in the early 1970’s as a way to support organic farming and thwart fraud.” For these reasons, most people feel confident in purchasing products labeled organic.

FACT:

This same consumer confidence can be found in other green products with the help of labeling. Below are a few of the ones to watch for:

Green Good Housekeeping Seal

Looking for seals such as these can help insure your product is truly green. Photo: GoodHousekeeping.com

  • ENERGY STAR – This blue and white symbol can be found on products that have qualified as more energy efficient. To earn the ENERGY STAR, products must meet strict energy criteria that have been set in place by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Department of Energy. These products include refrigerators, dish washers and light bulbs.
  • Forest Stewardship Council – The FSC has developed “a set of Principles and Criteria for forest management that are applicable to all FSC-certified forests throughout the world.” These 10 principles and 50 plus criteria address multiple areas of forest management including indigenous rights, multiple benefits and environmental impacts. This tree-shaped logo can be found on products ranging from paper and printers to pulp mills.
  • Good Housekeeping Green Seal – This label bares a strong resemblance to its famous counterpart with the distinction of it’s color (green). The Green Good Housekeeping Seal will debut later this year, after the Good Housekeeping Research Institute and a consultancy firm complete development of product evaluation criteria. To be eligible for the green seal, a product must meet the criteria for the original seal of approval, as well as meet standards related to product composition, manufacturing and packaging.
  • GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality – These planet-toting logos can be found on building materials that are manufactured to help “improve indoor air.” The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is a nonprofit organization that oversees the certification programs for building materials and indoor products. These logos let a consumer know that the products are regularly tested to meet chemical and particle emissions acceptable under IAQ pollutant guidelines and standards.
  • Scientific Certification Systems –  This independent company gives certification of environmental, sustainability, food quality and food purity claims for products across the globe. Their extensive network covers consumer goods such as produce, fisheries, forestry, eco-products and floral.

5. Adjusting my thermostat wastes energy

Many people come from the school of thought that maintaining a temperature uses less energy than dropping the thermostat while gone and adjusting when you return.  It isn’t that crazy of a notion. In fact, we can recall some similar theories around florescent lights and computers. In order to find the truth, we went to the people that know it best.

FACT:

According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, it is better to turn down the thermostat while not in the the house. In fact, “If you are out for a good stretch of time (say 8 hours or so), this temperature ‘set-back’ will save more energy than it will take to bring your home back to the desired temperature. (Note: If you have a heat pump, make sure you have a heat pump thermostat designed for your heat pump, and that it has been properly programmed.” There, it’s settled!

6. I have to spend a lot of money to go green

If you have ever checked out the price of a hybrid, or taken a stroll through a natural market, you know that green can add some extra numbers to most price tags. Sure as more people enter the market, prices get more competitive and eventually drop. In the meantime, don’t let those higher priced items dictate your level of commitment. Buying certain products is not the only way to green your act.

FACT:

In one of our recent 8 Ways, we explored the concept that some green acts actually save you money. Take for instance the simple task of buying in bulk. A Real Simple Magazine experiment in 2003 found that purchasing 15 common items at a warehouse store in bulk as opposed to the supermarket saved $58.74 in Illinois and $109.72 in New York (including a membership fee), and the major reason for the price discrepancy were the supermarket prices per state. It’s safe to assume that doing a majority of your shopping in bulk would save over $200 on supplies and $20 per year on gas, regardless of where you live.

It doesn’t have to stop there. Tons of everyday tasks can take the planet into consideration while not costing a thing. Even building materials can be more cost effective when sustainability is kept in mind.

Orgnizaitions like Floresta help to promote agroforestry, reforestation and soil conservation in rural areas. Photo: Floresta.org

Organizations like Floresta help to promote agroforestry, reforestation and soil conservation in rural areas. Photo: Floresta.org

7. I’ll just plant a tree – that’ll fix it!

Most everyone will agree that planting trees is an all around win. Not only does it help the environment by cooling the air, reducing air pollutants and absorbing sunlight, but they are also a beautiful addition to any area.

The issue at hand is not so much about the what (planting) but the where (benefit). According to writer Maria Colenso, “recent scientific studies show those benefits depend on where those trees are planted. Plant in the wrong part of the world and you may be wasting time and money.”

FACT:

Don’t give up on the planting, just make sure you have a plan. If you are planting it locally, in a park or community center, then plant away! Those venues are a great place to add a little foliage and make a small difference.

If you are planning to donate to a company or support a cause, do a little research to make sure they are putting their resources to the best use. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Forests that are located in the tropical belt that surrounds the equator have a large benefit on the planet.
  • These forests absorb CO2­ (a process called carbon sequestering) which helps lower temperatures.
  • Forests located outside of the this belt could have little or no impact on climate change.
  • In fact, the farther away from the equator forests are, the more harm they can do.
  • Known as the albedo effect, forests outside this belt are more likely to trap in heat, in turn, raising temperatures.

8. If I can’t do it all, I might as well do nothing

We have all done it. The overwhelming number of factors involved with the act of changing can leave even the most steadfast individual discouraged and on the verge of giving up. It is usually around this time that a little voice pops in with the final blow, “what difference does it make anyway?”

Or perhaps you haven’t felt this at all. You are filled with motivation and nothing stands in your way. Until…a co-worker pipes up over your reusable bag and Sigg bottle, giving you a piece of their mind. This usually includes something to the extent of, “you’re just one person, and one person can’t change the world.”

Both statements have some merit, but, that doesn’t make them true.

FACT:

When words don’t come easily on a subject as huge as this, using the words of another can usually do the trick. So here it goes.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

This simple statement by M.K. Gandhi sums up why always trying is as important as actually doing. Though you may not see the results of your actions in one day, over time, all those actions add up.

Take for example our curbside recycling rate. In 1960, U.S. curbside recycling processed 5.6 million tons of waste. In 2006, we recycled 81.8 million tons, an increase of over 1,300 percent! Though not everyone who recycled an item between the 60s and today knew about it, they were part of a huge movement that helped change the way we approach waste disposal. What movement are you a part of?

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Comments

  1. says

    Great tips. I know a lot of my friends will not subscribe to going “green” 100% but with a little prodding I can get them to make some minor changes and it all helps. I have not gone 100% “green” but I continue to strive for it.

  2. says

    In regards to your first point on things not being able to biodegrade in a landfill, I don’t think a lot of people understand that the paper/packaging/whatever they believe will break down has no chance to do so in the plastic garbage bag those items are put in. Add on top of that more and more layers of plastic bags, and like you said, those things never see the light of day which is highly needed for bio-degradation.

    And on your second point about recycled papers, a lot of recycling facilities don’t accept astrobright or neon colored papers. These are highly-saturated with inks needed to give off the bright color that it takes a lot of resources to get those inks out to make the pulp suitable to becoming recycled paper. However, I have heard that sometimes these bright colors can be recycled along with magazines (my guess is because the glossy paper of magazines has to go through the same kind of process as the bright colored paper to be recycled). Just be sure to check with your recycling center to see what their guidelines are.

    Great article! Thanks for the thoroughness and informative read.

  3. PatriciaW says

    I disagree with your statement above: ““If you are out for a good stretch of time (say 8 hours or so), this temperature ’set-back’ will save more energy than it will take to bring your home back to the desired temperature.”

    The reality is that there is no reason to specify any “goodstretch of time”. You would save energy even if you set-back for one hour although perhaps not enough to justify the bother. The energy used is proportional to the difference between the outside the indoor temperature … it doesn’t take any more energy to bring the temperature back up … it will just take time. The furnace will cycle on and off as required.

  4. says

    Excellent information. I should point out though that while most plastics such as PLA (Corn starch plastic), Oxo-Degradables PET, and standard PET plastics do not break down in a landfill environment, Enso Bottles has developed a PET plastic that will breakdown.

    Our bottles are designed to breakdown in an anaerobic or aerobic environment. As you know most of our landfills are the “Dry Tomb” type where we cover the trash with dirt to hide it and most of it doesn’t break down. We designed the Enso Bottle to specifically biodegrade in the dry tomb environment. It will take from 1-5 years but it will break down. We see ourselves as an environmental company, in addition to providing one answer to the growing PET plastic bottle problem; we are also promoting recycling, and bioreactor landfills.

    We know that Enso isn’t the one answer to fix all our problems but it is a step in the right direction.

    Max
    Ensobottles.com

  5. Kacey says

    Thanks for the helpful information. It’s great you mention Floresta in this article. Floresta offers a variety of ways for people to get involved with planting trees. For just a dollar you can plant a tree in Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Haiti, or Oaxaca, all places that have been deforested. You can also sponsor a village for only a dollar a day and help a village rebound from poverty.

  6. Chris says

    I have a question about wet paper. I have seen many articles about wet paper is no longer recyclable. But what if dries before going to the recycle plant?

  7. Michael Baker says

    Nice post. I would add two items:

    Under point 5) There are other forest certification systems you might want to mention, including PEFC and FSC

    Under point 7) It is important to ensure that any forest project is sustainable managed and certified – otherwise, the benefits might be minimal.

  8. says

    These were some great tips. I am still going to have to do some research on the thermostat issue. According to Duke Energy, doing what you suggests will use more energy, esp. if the outside tempature is significantly different than the temperature that you want.

    The last pointis so important. I have a friend who consistantly mocks “green” behavior, telling me that I am wasting my time. Funny thing, over the last six months that I have been actively pursuing a more responsible lifestyle, he has started recycling, through me. He will still tell me I’m wasting my time, but as long as he hands me that bag of empty soda bottles, I will smile.

    http://www.goinggreenaccidently.blogspot.com

  9. Howard says

    Fantastic actionable tips! I especially like the organic food bit. I often struggle to determine the sustainable and healthy option at the supermarket…. which label to believe?!
    Local is best… and home grown is even better! Now, I just need to get a yard.

  10. says

    Chris asked: “I have a question about wet paper. I have seen many articles about wet paper is no longer recyclable. But what if dries before going to the recycle plant?”

    As one who recycles for a living I can tell you that once the paper has dried you CAN recycle it. The reason recyclers don’t want wet paper is because water adds to the weight of the paper and cheats the recycling companies who all pay for recyclables by the pound.

    That said, wet paper is often soiled and cannot be cleaned to the point of being usable. Recyclers don’t want garbage.

  11. Beth says

    We have Geo-thermal. With Geo-thermal one has to be careful in heating season. The reason is when one needs to set the thermostat back up if the temp jump is too large the system will kick into “emergency heat” and then you can watch your electric meter spin out of control. Our thermostat happens to be in a back hall and since we are built into the hillside that hall stays warmer and more constant. So we leave it set at 66 F in the winter and that puts a lot of the outer rooms at 62-63F.

    Preserving forests is the best thing to do. The NRDC had a good article on reasearch done in the Pacific northwest (unfortunately I can’t find to reference) showing mature forests sequester the most carbon and do not age out in that ability. In fact new forests give off CO2 in the first 10-20 years of life. So #1 do what you can to save forests, support a land conservancy, etc. Then #2 help plant more trees.

    Last comment, for me reduction is the goal as recycling is nice AND I am still consuming. So I ask for the receipt and let them keep the bag. My own bags go with me as much as I remember. At the co-op we buy bulk and reuse the same containers over and over. I will even spend more on an equal product if another is overly packaged. Etc.

  12. WNY Geologist says

    “Known as the albedo effect, forests outside this belt are more likely to trap in heat, in turn, raising temperatures. ”

    This is nto what albedo is. Albedo is a specific mesure of reflectivity. Specificly reflection of solor energy. an increase in albedo has a temprature reducing effect as less energy is absorbed and more is reflected. otherwise good article.

  13. Tommy says

    I am involved in a dozen or more public events, many are charity walks and rides in the Phoenix Metro area. It is appalling to me and many participants that nothing is recycled from the large events. I think because the host organization and the volunteers that staff these events have no knowledge on how they can make their event GREEN! If anyone has thoughts on what resources might be available for some of these events I would be more than happy to change the way some of these events handles the water bottles, paper, and aluminum cans that are currently going into the landfill.

  14. Ralph says

    Clarity is important. # 8 “Take for example our recylcing rate. In 1960, the U.S. recycled 5.6 tons of waste. In 2006, we recycled 81.8 tons, an increase of over a 1,300 percent!” This statement does not meet the eyeball test. In 1960 I was recycling for our local volunteer fire company in rural Pennsylvania. We recycled newspapers and rags. Each year we’d fill an old school bus and then load a dump truck to the recycling center. We would recycler at least a ton per year, probably several tons. The local center was doing more than 5.6 tons. Is this supposed to be thousands or millions of tons? If so, why is it not stated?

  15. Ralph Weitz says

    I was reviewing the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries website
    http://www.isri.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home1&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=16096

    They indicated that in 2007 that the following amount was recycled. This is a lot more than 81.8 million tons as note in # 8 for the year 2006.
    150 million metric tons of scrap materials recycled annually including:
     81.6 million tons of Iron and Steel
     50 million tons of Paper
     5 million tons of Aluminum
     1.8 million tons of Copper
     2 million tons of Stainless Steel
     1.3 million tons of Lead
     420,000 tons of Zinc
     576,000 tons of Plastic (bottles)
     1.8 million tons of Electronics
     93 million Tires

    • Raquel Fagan says

      Great point Ralph! The difference, I believe, is between each reports’ focus on industry versus consumer recycling. I believe your study is referencing multiple streams of supply, while mine is only referencing Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), or what consumers, from their home, recycle. Though a lot more than 81.8 million tons of materials in all were recycled in 2006, homeowners’ curbside programs accounted for 81.8 million tons. Since I like to include stats that refer to our readers and not industries as a whole, I went for the number that was directly related to their actions. Thanks for the additional stats, it is cool to see what industries can do when they also get on the recycling bandwagon. If you wish to read more of the EPA study that I used for my facts, check it out here.

  16. Craig says

    Re: Item #3. While it would be expected that organic produce would have fewer pesticide residues, and some types of conventionally-grown produce may have higher residues than others, one thing that is implied above is that conventionally-grown produce is unsafe. It is true that some individuals may be susceptible to health effects at concentrations lower than most of the population (visualize a bell curve). But acceptable levels of pesticide residues in produce are generally protective of the most susceptible segment of the population, which is usually children. For 2007 overall, the percent of residues detected (the number of residues detected divided by the total number of analyses performed for each commodity) by the USDA Pesticide Data Program was 1.9 percent. And over 99% of the produce tested by USDA was found to contain residues lower than that allowed by EPA tolerances. Approximately 9,700 samples of produce were tested for hundreds of pesticide active ingredients. Appendix B lists all of the pesticides analyzed for each commodity, as well as detection limits, range of detections found, and a comparison to the federal tolerance, if established. Appendix J compares foreign vs domestic for several commodities, and Appendix K compares percentile concentrations to the EPA tolerance.

    The 2007 report is at
    http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateC&navID=PesticideDataProgram&rightNav1=PesticideDataProgram&topNav=&leftNav=ScienceandLaboratories&page=PesticideDataProgram&resultType=

    If the link above does not work, go to http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ and search for “PESTICIDE DATA PROGRAM”, then refer to the latest annual summary.

    I just thought this info and web link were worth mentioning in case anyone was interested in looking deeper.

  17. Ralph says

    Raquel,

    Good point on curbside recycling and MSW. I’d suggest a future posting discussing how the average homeowner can recycle through the local scrape yard. In addition to recycling it pays. Last year I made six trips and was paid $466 for scrape metals that most homeowners throw in the trash.

  18. says

    Great piece.
    if i may quibble a bit: that pizza box is almost certainly recyclable unless it was thrown into the bin with some pizza slices–not just grease staining–still in it. yes, oils and greases are a contaminant, but they are also a regularly encountered accompaniment of even commercial paper,and almost any recycler can handle small amounts in their process–and do, daily, whether they wanted to or not.
    of course we don’t want garbage masquerading as recyclable paper, but a common sense test is usually enough to discern which consumer trash goes in which bin. believe me, the not-quite-perfectly-clean pizza box (remember, i said with no actual pizza hiding inside) is certainly recyclable..

    second, this issue of whether or not stuff, especially paper, breaks down in the landfill is confusing but again all that’s needed is some common sense. as one post says above, if the stuff didn’t break down, where does all the methane come from? and landfill methane is a meaningful contributor to greenhouse gases. (and it stinks) as most know, methane is more than 20 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as is CO2. so, this issue is much studied, and believe me, organic matter breaks down in landfills.

    the common sense comes in as follows: not all stuff breaks down as quickly or as completely (many papers are slow to decompose, for example), not all landfills allow in or retain as much water (the single major determinant of rate of decomposition) as others, not all sections of the same landfill are as wet as others, not all organic matter is the same–soft, wet, proteinaceous stuff rots rally fast (fish, anyone?), and nitrogen-poo, dry paper less so. hot dogs have preservatives in them. and so on. common sense says when we dig into a landfill that is hugely composed of rotting, stinking yuck, and find a few identifiable objects it is clear why those would make the headlines, but it is also clear that most of the stuff is rotting like crazy (hence the stink). and in fact, for those who’ve done this work, yes we find some surprising and some amusing survivors, but by and large, landfills function as huge, poorly-designed but still active compost heaps. and the stuff does melt away with time. and methane is produced in huge quantities .
    [and, by the way, it should be captured and used to make fuel or electiricty, because it is essentially the same as natural gas.] and i assure you that methane would not be there if the material was not decomposing.

  19. brendan says

    whoops, that phrase was supposed to be “nitrogen-poor” not ‘poo’ although it makes interesting reading as is.
    freudian slip of some kind, i guess.

  20. says

    Great article and great comments. Thanks for sharing. We need information like this to share so we can help make a difference. Kudos!
    Ralph – the numbers you provided were scarey. Where do people think all this stuff goes? Most can’t think outside of their own home, let alone city, country or nation wide.
    We have to inspire the changes.

  21. says

    Great tips. Going green is more confusing than ever these days. I really appreciate the list of foods to pass on buying organic, I didn’t know that not all organic is better. But I always support my local farmers at their markets!

  22. Lisa says

    I’d like to point out that pesticides are not the only reason you should choose organic. I try to support sustainable farming practices whenever I can. Not just to avoid pesticides. Also, certified organic produce does not contain GMOs and I try to avoid them whenever possible. I’ve read that corn and soy should always be organic because there is so much geneticly modified corn and soy. So I think corn should be on the organic list. The trick I have found to buying organic produce is to go to a health food store for produce instead of trying to buy organic from my local chain grocery store. They have a faster turnover of their merchandise. My experience has been that organic has the most flavor and tastes the best.

  23. MW says

    I think that a little scientific perspective is always needed in proofing the copy. The earth is a system. If you are talking about global warming – okay the forest away from the belt holds heat, but does it really do harm?

    Think about it, it happens for a reason that the overall effect begins to trend the other way as you move away from the “belt”. Trees are important to plant – we cannot plant enough. We just can’t. True forests take so much time to develop and run their course that we can’t possibly know what does harm and what doesn’t.

    It is not bad or good it just has an inverse effect, in so much as can be discerned. The open-minded (enlightened) view is that this warming is the effect – an appropriate response may be to ask, “Why?”

    Also, what about planting trees in the appropriate place to reduce runoff pollution. Wait a minute, this is just a web article. In and out.

    Now I may not be a “good” writer, don’t get paid, but I am a great reader. And these points have a tendency not to assist the reader in effective analysis, but more like a+b = a&b, not a+b=a+b, scientifically there is a big difference.

    Not a pontification, just a thought.

  24. Dolores says

    Hey! Do you want to know what else is good for the environment? If every tobacco smokers has mutually & unmutually suddenly and completely stop smoking altogether forever and ever. Yeah right. As if any good luck comes of it, or it may happen in the next millennium or whenever, or how about never that seems even a better deal. They are too busy going on & revisiting use of an addiction in euphoria ego trip(s). Loves to be eternally tempted by the product that produces promising effects. Claims made that they have more freedom of civil rights (than the non-smokers do) (only they don’t think like that, I just put that in for expressed emphasis on my part). The smokers wants the non-smokers to back-down & let them be; stop fussing, complaining, whining, & hating for their right giving bad habits; and tobacco smoking is a common known world-wide privilege that they practice & exercise very often. And as long as the tobacco industries keeps manufactures it and the FDA still approves it and the tobacco products are still sold in markets and many tobacco consumers continues buying it, this demand & supply chain will always be a never-ending ongoing, growing process. I hear that chewing tobacco is also making a comeback again with teens and younger children as the main consumers. FDA doesn’t approve “electric tobacco or e-tobacco products” because it’s made of all clear liquid nicotine in a small vile. It’s a very potent & concentrating content than any regular tobaccos (which contains many different unwanted ingredients) for producing the most ultimate promising effect. Some consumers believe that its “safe” smoking. There is not very many States that allow it and very limited stores that carries those products for it is consider illegal to sell it, hard to find (maybe online or by word of mouth), and have to travel far to obtain it once found its location whereabouts & bring carded ID(s) too. It is expensive to purchase those products.

    Any regular tobacco smokings, e-tobaccos, & chewing tobaccos are consider very ultimately gross, disgusting, hideous, obnoxious, bad & ugly addictive habits. It badly pollutes the air and promotes bad health. It makes the natural clean air goes bad, stale & stagnant, smoggy, intoxicates & permeates pollutant chemicals into the atmosphere, and causes disruptive changes of the natural balance in the ozone layers. Factually, vehicles & factories also contributes to this same world-wide cause. There are some people out there who wants to make the world a difference by finding ways to save our planet and lending Mother Nature a helping hand. There are the clean air act, the clean water act, the recycling facilities, the eco-friendly environment program, green earth day, the wildlife extinction & reservation protection, and etc. All are wonderful support groups and almost everyone wants to pitch in to help in one way or the other. But, I believe that nothing is being done to address & enforce about the tobacco smoking problems. It too causes bad air pollution that totals the very staggering highest level percentage rate than all vehicles & factories put together. Tobacco products should be treated like drugs & alcohol. It should be ban, be made illegal, and be consider a health hazard too.

    Did you know that the tobacco smokers control the very clean air you breathe & your health. They cover up the good clean air with bad, stale, stagnant, pollutant smog in every puff they take. There are millions to billions of tobacco smokers that outnumbers the rest of the people populations. Non-smokers has somehow lost their rights to breathe clean air normally without breathing the inclusive intoxicating chemical smogs. We as people share the same air we breathe but yet, the government allows the fortunate ill-will smokers granted permission to devastate, dominate, & consume the earth’s atmosphere with a very thick blanket of smog for all the poor unfortunate non-smokers to suffer, suffocate, befall serious illnesses, and possibly death. I guess this is one of their supposed answers to controlling & eliminating some of the growing people populations. That means that they are also included in this predetermined tragic ordeal.

    When tobacco smokers smoke their products the smoke permeates, disperses, & adheres to everywhere surfaces (furnitures, appliances, wall-hanging pictures, glass, etc.) it gets in contact with. There is an enormous buildup of some sticky yucky residue or grimy tacky gunk that settles onto any surfaces left undone due to overtime exposure. It is so very very hard to wash out that nasty horrible stuff off to make & feel like almost new again. Your clothes, your hair, your breath, your skin, and other cloth materials will reek with tobacco smoke. No matter how hard you try to deodorize, sanitize, disinfect, & fumigate with the pretty fragrances of perfumes/colognes, detergents, fabric softeners, bleach, shampoos/hairsprays, toothpastes/mouth rinses/breath lozenges/gums, room air freshener sprays, fragrant soaps/deodorants, or even aromatic burning incenses to mask/cover-up the nasty dingy stench of tobacco smoke. The tobacco smoke will always completely overpower the most prettiest fragrances there is on the market. The pretty fragrances is a temporary linger but tobacco smoke will permanently outlasts anything in the air & everything it touches.

    2nd & 3rd hand-smoke (indirect & passive smoke) will affect the health of infants, toddlers, other young children, any school age children, and adults & senior citizens who are non-smokers. All non-smokers are vulnerable to & the health is intolerable to the high-risk of getting any type of serious illnesses and/or death caused by the 1st hand-smokers (direct, deliberate, ignorant, inconsiderate, lazy & stubborn, and irresponsible smokers). The smokers seemed to be somewhat immune & endure from it but, maybe they had time to get used to it or grew accustomed to it. Otherwise, tobacco smoking is bad for everyone’s health and for this planet we make our home in.

  25. Molly says

    The article was helpful in that I speak to children about solid waste management and what choices they can make to impact the waste stream into the local landfill. I do tell them that sometimes there is a dilemma attached to recycling. For example, my local garden center sells individual plants in recyclabel pots – #5 – which my hauler will take. I called to make sure. The garden center also will accept the pots back for re-use. I know if I put the pots in the recycyle bin, they will be part of that remanufacture process, but if I give them a second life back at the garden center (re-use) I don’t know what will happen to them. I give this example along with other examples so that the students know there is not just one answer to the question of “what do I do with this now?” Also, I try to tell them that sometimes there is expense involved in getting the re-usable/recyclable material to the place where it will be treated in the “greenest” way. People who are committed to the low environmental impact have to be willing – in my opinion – to go to some expense or effort or both. It is paying it forward, so to speak. In my community, many individuals cannot get past the “it’s complicated” or it’s going to cost me” excuses and so they do nothing. This is so frustrating.

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