Does Eco-Friendly Make a Difference in Your Holiday Shopping?
Today, the modern and trendy thing to do is to purchase items that are considered eco-friendly. The other day I was at a teenage clothing store and they had jeans on sale advertised as eco-friendly, being made from at least 35% of post consumer material. ($75 a pop, mind you!)
While I wasn’t sure what sort of post-consumer material they were talking about, I have to admit – it didn’t make a difference to me or sway my choice in shopping – especially seeing the price tag.
In fact, many of the eco friendly, environmentally clean products on the market actually cost more. And there is quite a bit of research that shows that buying eco-friendly products and even recycling, to an extent, can actually exhaust the environment more. Still, for the last several years ‘going green’ has been all the rage.
Unfortunately for so many of us regular folks, building ‘green houses’ and purchasing hybrid vehicles that are environmentally safe and friendly (but would barely fit our families) don’t fit into our budget – and offering us a tax break at the end of the year doesn’t help our upfront costs. So we are stuck balancing what we can afford with what we can do for the environment and trying to strike an amicable meeting point.
Perusing the mall the other day, there was an entire display dedicated to the environmentally friendly reusable plastic water bottles that would save our landfills from the millions upon millions of bottles tossed in them on a yearly basis. Even the tag on these water canteens was made of recycled paper. And they cost $30 a piece. Do I have $30 to spend on 4 water bottles for my kids to take to school? (That they would probably lose at some point) Ummm, no. Should I be ashamed of myself for buying Wal-Mart’s plastic water bottles? I don’t think so. After all, we do rinse and reuse our plastic water bottles as much as possible and participate in recycling programs.
We also have a compost pile where everything (and I mean everything) that is biodegradable finds a happy home to happily rot. But we live on a huge farm with over 60 acres. For the person living in a neighborhood the compost pile idea may not go over very well in the ‘making friends with neighbors department’ unless they are trying to make friends with rodents or raccoons.
I have to be blunt by saying that I think that many products and advertisers are taking advantage of the ‘going green’ selling point and guilting us into buying products that aren’t, in truth, much better for the environment than a less expensive or widely available choice. And yet I also feel that each of us should have a duty to our earth and try our very best to conserve and recycle and not partake in gluttony and waste.
I ask you, does a product that is dubbed environmentally friendly or green make a difference in your buying decision? And if so, do you actually do the research to check and see if what you are paying for is more than just a company’s advertising claim and selling point?
Any advice for consumers who would like to purchase more environmentally friendly products?