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The Top 10 green living myths

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8. Green myth: If you want to help alleviate global warming, plant trees. Fact: Once again, it depends on where you live. In areas with cold winters, "the additional sunlight absorbed by the dark-colored trees just about offsets any cooling from carbon reduced." In high-latitude regions, "planting trees can actually heat up the earth," Hausfather says. However, in urban areas and the tropics, planting trees is good from a global-warming perspective. (Remember, this is talking only about benefits to the climate, not to trees or other ecosystem effects.)

9. Green myth: Buy milk in paper or glass cartons if you have the choice. Fact: Because half-gallon plastic milk jugs use much less material, they have lower life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions than glass or paper containers of the same size.

10. Green myth: Using your garbage disposal isn't good for the environment. Fact: It depends on a couple of local factors and also on what you would do with the garbage if you didn't put it in the disposal. If you're going to toss it in the trash, it's probably better to grind it up in the disposal, although the benefits may depend on how your community captures methane emissions from wastewater treatment and landfills. If you want to do it right, compost your leftover food.

I asked Hausfather to provide some scientific evidence for these claims and here they are:

1. Recycled versus virgin paper. This one is a bit thorny, he admits. He's willing to discuss it with me, so if you'd like to know more of what's behind the issue, say so in a comment and it can be a future blog post.

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