Sometimes we are making mistakes when we think we are doing the right thing. A classic Canadian example of this is when trying to make the healthier choice at Tim Hortons, many people believe that a muffin is the healthier choice over a doughnut. However, at Tim Hortons, a lot of the donuts actually have less fat and less calories than the muffins (seriously, check it out here). Not surprisingly, people can make the same kind of mistakes in the eco-world as well. Here is a list of three common eco-mistakes that I have seen people make.
Mistake #1: Improperly disposing compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Many people are making a great eco-decision when they choose CFL bulbs for their lights because of energy efficiency. However, CFL bulbs can also damage the environment if they are not correctly disposed of. This is because CFL bulbs’ technology uses mercury to achieve their high-energy efficiency. In order to prevent the damaging effects of mercury on the environment, it is important that you dispose your burnt out CFL bulbs at your community’s local waste management/recycling center. Search online or contact your municipal government for more information about centers in your area!
Mistake #2: Throwing out biodegradable / compostable products in your garbage. With the recent increases in composting and green bin programs in various cities, the promotion of biodegradable and compostable products has greatly expanded. A common mistake that people make with many of these goods is believing that throwing them into your regular garbage will drastically reduce your waste production. Unfortunately, many biodegradable / compostable products are designed to break down in environments where oxygen and water are present. While most of these products will still break down if you put them in the garbage, it won’t happen as quickly because of the isolated environment that a plastic garbage bag creates. So remember where possible to put your biodegradable / compostable products in your green bin or compost!
Mistake #3: Letting your car idle for short stops saves more gas than turning it off. While in the past this was true, for most car engines now it is false. Most of today’s automobiles use electronic fuel injection systems that tightly control the amount of fuel that is used during ignition. As a result, the general rule that people use today is you should turn off your car if you are going to be idling for longer than 10 seconds!