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Debunking 5 Eco-Friendly Myths

Twenty years ago anything “eco-friendly” – whether person or product – was considered on the fringe and forty years ago the concept was downright hokey, but with awareness (and the oceans) on the rise sentiment is shifting toward an embrace of environmentalism. Suddenly, being environmentally conscious is more than responsible – it’s <em>cool</em>. And, when something is cool it becomes marketable. Result: People will put their agendas before environmental truisms. Here are a few examples by way of eco-friendly myths, debunked. <strong>1. Myth: “If it says ‘eco-friendly’ on the label, then it’s eco-friendly. That’s the law!”</strong> <strong>Fact</strong>: That is <em>not</em> the law. There are labels that indicate certain established standards have been met like <a title="ENERGY STAR" href="https://www.energystar.gov/" target="_blank">ENERGY STAR</a> and <a title="Design for the Environment" href="http://www.epa.gov/dfe/" target="_blank">Design for the Environment (DfE)</a>, but the term “eco-friendly” has no enforceable standard that is determined by the Federal Trade Commission or any other regulatory body. Just FYI, the same rule applies for all kinds of Earth-friendly marketing lingo, including the phrase “Earth-friendly.” <strong>2. Myth: “CFL light bulbs are hard to recycle.”</strong> <strong>Fact</strong>: No they’re not. Use <a title="Earth 911" href="http://search.earth911.com/" target="_blank">this website</a> to find out where you can recycle anything anywhere in the country. Now, let’s take this one even further. It’s also often said that these bulbs emit more mercury during improper disposal than incandescent bulbs. Well, that may be true, but coal-based electric power is the biggest emitter of all – in so many nasty ways beyond mercury – and if you’re using CFLs instead of incandescent bulbs you’re cutting down on those emissions at the source by conserving power. <strong>3. Myth: “You can’t use CFLs and LED lights in ‘regular’ sockets.”</strong> <strong>Fact</strong>: Yes you can. It’s true there are some bulb models that are designed to accommodate specialized sockets, but bulbs designed to fit in traditional “Edison” sockets are available in both varieties. <strong>4. Myth: “MDF is bad for the environment.”</strong> <strong>Fact</strong>: On a pound-for-pound basis, producing medium-density fiberboard (MDF) <a title="Slate" href="http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2009/09/the_ecoperils_of_cheap_decor.html" target="_blank">is more energy efficient</a> than making many other plastic or metal materials. Further, when compared to virgin wood, MDF represents the efficient use of wood byproduct and recyclable wood material rather than the felling of fresh trees. MDF is a common and cost-effective substitute for whole-cut pieces for precisely these reasons – in addition to the fact that many wood experts believe MDF is <a title="Woodmeister" href="http://www.woodmeister.com/solid-wood-vs-mdf-whats-the-story" target="_blank">often better suited for jobs</a> than solid wood. <strong>5. Myth: “Environmentalism is a passing fad.”</strong> <em>Fact</em>: Tell that to the polar bears, as <a title="NASA" href="http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus" target="_blank">most global scientific societies and academies</a> agree that human activity is influencing dramatic changes to Earth’s climate and biodiversity. That’s not a political statement; it just is what it is. The real kicker, though, is that even if it weren’t true, taking care of our home – as in Earth – is just good common sense. Conserving energy and resources is more than an eco-friendly statement; it’s a humane one, because the more we have the more we can share. <a title="ATG Stores Home Page" href="http://www.atgstores.com/default.aspx" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> hopes this myth-busting makes your day a brighter one.
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