Earth’s ecosystems, and all species within them are suffering the effects of environmental damage. That said, it is not surprising to see a strong and passionate movement toward purchasing more natural and sustainable products that are healthier for all.

Since the 1980s, there has been a growing demand from consumers for products that do less harm to the environment, and in turn, all Earth’s species. These products tend to fall under the overarching terms of Eco-Friendly or Sustainable and imply a product does not harm the environment in its production or in its use.

Why Do Ecofriendly Products Seem to Cost More?

Manufacturing and raw material production of eco-friendly goods can cost more because ingredients are of higher quality and take more time to produce. They are also more expensive to grow because pesticides and other chemicals are not used on organic crops. Fair Labor practices and required third-party certifications also come with a significant cost.

If the popularity of eco-friendly products continues to rise, consumers may start to enjoy a decline in cost.

Where Can Eco-Friendly Purchasing Save You Money?

Eco-friendly or sustainable products generally last longer because the materials used are more durable and of better quality and are therefore not subject to repeated, replacement purchases. Similarly, eco-friendly items are often reusable, such as that seen with the popular metal or glass straws, re-usable coffee cups, or shopping bags. Most of the common plastic products used today are single-use; tossed away, then repurchased again…and again. Moreover, since ecofriendly products do not come in convenience sizes or use excess packaging, some production costs can be lower, resulting in lower upfront costs for consumers.

A perhaps more tangible example of saving money with eco-friendly purchasing can be found in the ubiquitous plastic water bottle. Americans have been spending billions of dollars a year on bottled water each year. In 2017, the industry reached a whopping $18.5 billion [1]. A huge amount energy is used to produce this many bottles and leaves a significant carbon footprint [2]. A recent analysis compared the cost of bottled water for a family of four for one year to using a basic pitcher-style system over the same time. The results were significant. In short, over the year, bottled water users were spending $3,114.67, whereas those using the pitcher system were spending $236.10. And this included the cost of replacement filters. This means that a family of four can save $2,878.57 a year [2] This example shows that changing how you purchase the items you already use can have a positive impact on your eco-friendly budget. Purchasing some items in bulk, like grains, nuts, pasta, and dried fruit, are almost always cheaper by unit. As an added benefit, you can skip the toxic plastic packaging by using your own containers.

Most of Earth’s inhabitants are living under a shroud of toxins, either directly exposed from the personal use of everyday cleaning products, or from secondary exposure. Adverse health consequences from extended exposure to environmental chemicals and their fumes are real and contribute to oxidative stress damage compromising the normal function of our body’s systems [3]. Making the eco-friendly cleaning product swap has significant potential to

contribute to lower health-care costs and decreased wage losses related to sick time.  If you’re thinking eco-friendly cleaners are too cost-prohibitive for your budget, you’ll find that many are less expensive than the conventional, name brand products. There are also numerous, non-toxic cleaner recipes available for those industrious, ‘do-it-your-selfers’.

Whether it’s your health, the environment, or both calling you to make conscientious purchasing choices, aligning your options with your budget is an important part of the process. Items that see daily use, such as, coffee tumblers, reusable water bottles, and eco-friendly household cleaners should be at the top of your list. Monitoring your purchasing and consumption patterns can help you determine best practices for affordable eco-friendly purchasing.

[1] https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/why-americans-spend-billions-bottled-water.htm

[2] https://home.howstuffworks.com/save-money-with-water-filter.htm.

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/21/health/chemical-endocrine-disruptor-doubled-wellness/index.html.

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