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Save the Planet the Right Way

Sometimes—oops—our earth-friendly actions are no help at all. Check out these four common goofs (and how to fix them)

Save the Planet the Right Way

— Photo by Shana Novak/Getty Images

Myth: Organic fruits and veggies are the greenest foods.

  • Fact: Not always. When organics are shipped long distances, the transport uses lots of energy and releases tons of pollution.
  • Quick Fix: Buy from local growers who don't use artificial agents—you don't always need an "organic" label.

 

Myth: Using paper bags is better than using plastic ones.

  • Fact: They're both bad. Paper-bag production kills 14 million trees a year and creates more air and water pollutants than plastic-bag manufacture.
  • Quick Fix: Say no to paperandplastic at stores—carry reusable cloth totes instead.

 

Myth: Hand washing dishes saves water and energy.

  • Fact: Doing dishes manually actually uses more water and energy than running an efficient, fully loaded dishwasher, a German study found.
  • Quick Fix: Do use your dishwasher, but skip the prerinse cycle and do full loads every time.

 

Myth: To save power, just turn off electronics after using them.

  • Fact: Home electronics can still use energy when off, with 75 percent of power used at this stage.
  • Quick Fix: Unplug dormant devices,such as blenders and DVD players, or buy a power strip that senses idle items and cuts electricity.

 

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