Green is the New Normal

Six simple things we're all doing - or should be doing - more of to make the earth healthier.

Items like CFL's were already off the list when we put together last year's Green Halifax guide. As P'lover's co-owner Liz Crocker told us: "When we opened, we sold compact fluorescent lightblubs. Now you can get them everywhere."

This year we're more stringent. There are plenty of practices and behaviors we'll acknowledge, but aren't worthy of congratulations. For example:

Recycling Everyone needs to do it—businesses and individuals. It makes sense environmentally and economically.

Plastic bags Some stores don't offer them, some charge for them. That's great, and everyone knows it. What's next? Biodegradable plastic? Sure, but the HRM won't take them in composting, so what good are they here? Unless you compost in your backyard, which most of us city-dwellers don't, biodegradable plastic is just more plastic, and we won't congratulate you for offering it. (Look here: halifax.ca/environment/index.html)

Disposable cups Many coffee shops charge an extra five cents for your cup of java if you don't bring a mug. That's cool, but maybe its time to charge a dollar. The biodegradable cup or container is a start, but what if HRM doesn't recycle them?

Organic beauty products Surprise! People don't want harsh and damaging chemicals on their skin. It's a health concern as much as an environmental one. Trumpeting the environmental benefits of organic salves in the market anyway is disingenuous. We expect more.

Conserving energy Energy conservation has become de rigeur. Some businesses make it part of their mandate and philosophy, and have discovered it saves money in the long run to use anything that limits energy consumption.

Drive wisely Last year we mentioned cars in every class, to show the most fuel-efficient in each. This year, driving a non-hybrid SUV will get no love from us. You get love for driving scooters, subcompacts, hybrid vehicles and, most of all, bicycles.

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