I am sick and tired of people telling me they are going green. Buying green products and throwing away perfectly good, albeit slightly used, products in the trash and buying new ones is not green. NEWS FLASH! If you already have a “not so green” product in your home, throwing it away does not make you green. One of the key concepts in being green is not wasting. So, if you have a cotton T-shirt that was not produced in an eco-friendly manner, then throwing it away and buying a new one that was produced without bleach and with organic locally grown cotton and by people who were paid fair wages is not green. The shirt that is in your drawer is not hurting the environment now. Don’t waste resources. It is one of the key tenets in being green. When that shirt wears out and you need to buy a new one, then it makes sense to buy the greener product. This can be adapted to just about every product in your home. The bottom line is to do what makes sense economically and environmentally. Producing new homes that meet Energy Star and LEED standards is great. When upgrading, remodeling or repairing a home, buy the most environmentally friendly. But, and this is a big but, don’t do things that don’t make sense, for instance adding a new reduced flow showerhead makes sense as you save in the short- and long-term (saving water, reducing the use of energy to produce hot water). Throwing away your working five-year-old refrigerator is a waste of resources as a lot of resources went into producing and transporting that appliance but throwing into the trash a working appliance is a waste. (Don’t get me wrong: If the fridge stopped working then converting to the new environmentally friendly coolant, Energy Star-rated appliance would be a good thing.)
I have three key tenets on my Being Green Mantra:
1. Though shall not waste (this includes the three “R”s, reduce, reuse and recycle).
2. Though shall not harm (this includes creating eco-friendly products by destroying another area’s ecosystem, and if transporting a products produces more waste than will ever be saved by using it).
3. Thou shall be positive (every incremental step helps the planet).