Test your Eco-IQ

In a society where terms like  “all natural” and “green” aren’t regulated, it’s difficult to know if you’re truly making the earth friendliest choice. You can save yourself time and money reading past the marketing jargon, though. From grocery stores to daily chores, find out if you know which is the greener option.

imageWinner: Car Wash. One of the biggest down-sides to washing your car in the driveway is that the soap & chemicals flow directly into storm drains. Since that water isn’t thoroughly filtered, many of those chemicals (including tar and dirt from the car) end up in our lakes and rivers. Car wash facilities have strict federal guidelines mandating that the water is directed into sewer systems to be treated & filtered. Worried about water usage? According to the International Car Wash Association,

“washing a car at home typically uses between 80 and 140 gallons of water, while a commercial car wash averages less than 45.”

image Winner: Whole Grain. Just because the package says “multi”, it doesn’t mean that you’re getting multiple benefits. In fact, you’re actually getting less nutrition. Essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, and fiber are found only when the whole grain kernel is used. Though multi-grain may indicate various grains in the ingredients, unless noted “whole grain”, only part of the kernel is used giving the product less nutritional value.  Check out other food myths here.

imageWinner: Dishwasher. While there are many factors to consider: detergent and air drying vs. heat drying, when it comes to water and energy usage, a dishwasher is the greener choice. Today’s Energy Star dishwashers pack a powerful punch on tough food residue with little environmental harm. For maximum benefits ensure that you’re running a full dishwasher (or adjusting settings to accommodate load size) and reduce/eliminate pre-washing the dishes.

imageWinner: Conventionally Grown. If it says organic, it must be the better option right? Not so fast. Produce that is conventionally grown with little to no pesticides is just as green as organic options. Save money buying conventionally grown “Safe 15” produce so you can spend a little more on the “Dirty Dozen.”

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