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Food, redefining

When Does Going Green Affect Your Wallet?

We all know that saving the earth often goes hand in hand with saving money – but what about when it’s the other way around?  Sometimes we find ourselves confronted with a hard decision:  we want to make the ecological choice, but it simply costs too much “green.”

Obviously the larger home-improvement projects and lifestyle choices incur more start-up costs than the smaller, every day choices, for example, green roofs are gaining in popularity but they still are cost-prohibitive than other home-improvement projects.  Sometimes the choice isn’t whether you’d rather have a hybrid or an all-electric vehicle, but if you can afford a new car at all.  I’ve desperately want to join a CSA and have organic local fruit and vegetables delivered to my door, but even the most economical option still blows my monthly grocery budget out of the water, and so far I’ve been unable to enroll in a local foodshare program.

I try my hardest to purchase eco-friendly products whenever I can.  I’m slowly changing over my kitchen, bath, and linen pantries to all environmentally friendly products while still trying to stick to my very meager budget. I wish I could support all local shops and farms, but many times I am faced with a hard choice and find myself standing in the grocery aisle reading and re-reading the back of two different products.  Do I restock our supply of trash bags with the $1.99 store-brand (of which I happen to have a $.49 off coupon for,) or do I “invest” in biodegradable trash bags that decompose in the landfill in less than a year?  I say “invest,” because the box of 90 trash bags costs $12 online, and I haven’t yet been able to find a coupon to help reduce the cost of the “green” bags.  To further add fuel to the fire – my local supermarket doesn’t stock eco-friendly trash bags, and I would have to walk over two miles in the opposite direction to go to the nearest store that might possibly stock said trash bags.  And even then – are they cheaper at this store than the ones I find online?

I know that I should count myself lucky, and be thankful that I even have the option to purchase eco-friendly items, but this raises a larger question: If I have this much trouble over striving to go green, what types of struggles does the average consumer face?  Does the normal shopper just grab the cheapest box of trash bags and leave it at that? Does the ecological footprint of a product play into what consumers choose, or is the cost of the item the only factor?  Do you find yourself standing in the middle of grocery store aisles staring at the different cereal boxes, completing a mental checklist of pros and cons before you finally settle on a winner?  (Or am I just crazy and need to buy the darn trash bags, already?!)

I’d love to hear your feedback: What are your experiences – either frustrating or rewarding – with going green? Reply below or send us a comment and we’ll post your thoughts online!

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