Earth Day: Reduce, reuse, recycle

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today is Earth Day and with our heightened eco-awareness, many people are renewing pledges and efforts to “go green” for the sake of the environment.

Interestingly, Yahoo Green offered a quick list on Thursday of five things “that aren’t going to save the planet.” The list debunks some of the most common “green” activities of late, including:

• Always buying organic. While some items definitely benefit from the organic label –such as peaches, strawberries, celery, dairy and meat – the most important action you can take is to buy “real” foods, not processed or pre-packaged foods, the article says. And, of course, reduce food waste.

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• Unplugging electronics when not in use. Yes, you can save some money on electrical bills by doing this, but you can save even more by installing programmable thermostat controls, switching to cold water for laundry, foregoing the dryer, and making your home more energy efficient.

• Buying green products. The lure of green cleaning solutions of products is hard to deny, but the more important issue to reduce consumption of plastics and packaging. Vinegar as a cleaning solution, anyone?

• Switching to cloth diapers. It feels good to many parents to avoid the plastic, disposable diapers that clog landfills. But experts say the added water and energy consumption associated with cloth diapers offsets the savings found in avoiding plastic.

• And buying a hybrid vehicle. Surprisingly, the Yahoo experts say some small cars with excellent gas mileage may be more affordable and more fuel efficient than hybrids. The more important issue, they say, is to drive less – a hard challenge for those of us who live in rural communities.

The recurring theme this Earth Day is to reuse and recycle. Our focus should be on reducing consumption and being wiser stewarts of the resources around us.