8 things you do that you thought were green but weren’t

would you throw plastic bags in yellow trash packaging? If you do, you may not be very helpful to the environment and that’s not the only thing. We all care about climate change and environmental destruction, but ordinary people often get mixed messages about: which operations are appropriate To alleviate these diseases.

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in Spain More than 37 million people say they separate their waste However, despite this citizen cooperation and container system, only 37% of waste is recycled in the country (European average is 28% and 2025 target is 55%), about half of recyclable materials end up in landfills, according to one Cotec Innovation Foundation report.

Part of it is due to the shortcomings of the system, the other is due to the fact that the information provided to citizens often comes from companies that want to “greenwash” their products and do not always show what is most effective. behaviours.

For example, if you think your canvas shopping bag, organic peppers, or organic cotton t-shirt are helping the planet, you may be in for a surprise.

These are not the only actions carried out in good faith and civic consciousness. insignificant and even negative impact around. These are some of the most common examples:

1 Canvas shopping bag

Going shopping with a reusable cotton canvas bag that can even be made from organic cotton seems like the pinnacle of good behavior. However, while eliminating plastic bags forever is crucial, we don’t stop thinking about the cost of making these alternative bags.

Last year, the Danish Environmental and Food Administration announced a environmental impact assessment of different types of shopping bagsfrom polyethylene to organic cotton.

It turns out that making a canvas bag requires far more resources, water and energy than a polyethylene bag. The report looked at how many times each type of bag had to be used to equal the environmental impact of a plastic bag.

Paper bags and reusable plastic bags need between 35 and 85 reuses. However, a cotton bag would have to be used 7,100 times to make up for the resources spent making it. In organic cotton, it increased 20,000 times.

2 Recycle something “just in case” yellow trash

Unfortunately, “recycling just in case” never helps. While recycling centers have ways to separate the recyclables from the non-recyclables, the presence of these non-recyclables means extra work and, in the worst case, they have to be thrown into a landfill or incinerator.

Things like plastic toys, rubber gloves, kitchen utensils and of course cardboard or glass should not be thrown into the recycling bin. Ideally, of course, this is not to have to put anything rude, although large food delivery companies make this very difficult, new legislation he can help.

3 Recycle anything in a paper container, just in case

A similar situation arises with non-recyclable paper or cardboard waste. This includes things made of paper or cellulose, such as kitchen paper, disposable wipes, diapers or used pads, as well as wood scraps and painted or adhesive paper.

In general, anything contaminated with food, such as a pizza box, especially oil, makes recycling much more difficult and energy costly. Tetrabrik containers deserve a special mention, a cardboard container lined with 25% aluminum and plastic and never going into the blue container, not always the yellow container.

Unfortunately, only some of the paper can be recycled, other components are separated and end up in landfills because not possible to recycle. Ideally, it would be best not to buy products in this type of packaging as much as possible.

4 Buy organic cotton clothes

If an organic cotton canvas bag consumes 20,000 times more resources than a plastic bag and three times more than a traditional cotton bag, it is clear that a T-shirt cannot be a sustainable option either.

This is because conventional cotton has been genetically modified to increase yields and reduce water needs. In the case of organic cotton, the impossibility of using pesticides means that most of the crop is lost to pests.

All this cotton one of the most unsustainable crops: During their manufacture consumes a large amount of water and pesticides, which must be added to the contamination that causes the dyeing of clothes.

5 Buy new, more sustainable versions of what you already have

Again, an act done in good faith has a negative effect. If the above has convinced you that a canvas bag is a bad idea, you decide to buy a bag made from recycled raffia.

You’ve also decided to stop using plastic cutlery and buy metal camping to take to work. You also decide to replace the air conditioner or refrigerator for a more energy efficient model.

In all these cases, the energy and resource savings over the life of the new green product will never offset the enormous amount of resources and energy spent making them.

6 Replace your car with one that consumes less

Continuing from the previous topic, you may think that it would be a good idea to replace your old, high-consumption and polluting existing car with a more ecological new one.

As with the refrigerator example, the fuel savings are never worth the investment in the car, and you have to add in the tons of materials (mostly non-recyclable and most non-recyclable) and energy needed to make a new car.

However, according to Argonne National Laboratory study In the US, hybrid cars were essentially more sustainable than electric cars. lithium batteries. While this may change in the future, it’s not comparable to doing without your own car whenever possible.

7 Using Uber and other similar services

However, if we live in a city and don’t drive our own car, using services like Uber or Cabify may seem more sustainable and comparable to using public transport. But it is not.

As these companies spread to cities, the number of vehicles on the roads increases. In addition, in this case, they are vehicles that are in motion for most of the day (or 24 hours a day if operated by companies with shift drivers) and travel much more kilometers than private vehicles.

By a study, each Uber ride means 84% ​​more kilometers per ride. Walking, cycling or using public transport is cheaper and more sustainable.

8 Buy organic food thinking it’s better for the environment

In Europe, organic foods have a label that identifies them and requires an official certification, but this seal does not mean they have a lower environmental impact, water or carbon footprint. It means that they are produced only with inputs of natural origin (fertilizer, feed, pesticides).

This means that organic apples from Chile, avocados from Peru or kiwis from New Zealand have a much greater real impact on the planet due to transportation.

The same thing, for example, almond milkcashews and other nuts unsustainable due to water consumption twice as much chicken. Buying local non-organic products has a lower impact and additionally organic products they are not healthier.

Ecological awareness is the only thing that can save humanity from disaster but if we stay in environmentalism “for the gallery” unknowingly the real effects of our actionsOur good intentions will do little.

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Written by Adem

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