Please to welcome Heat. Quite frankly I can no longer recall where we met—I just know I learn something from her daily. She’s wise. She’s insightful. She’s green in a way I currently only aspire to be…
Often, when people think about “green” or “healthy” products, they also think “expensive.”
In some cases, it’s true that “leveling up” is more expensive. Organic produce, most of the time, costs more than conventional.
But in many cases, greener is cheaper—and fattens your wallet.
Take household cleaning products, for example.
Many of us own separate cleaning products for different areas of the house: kitchen, bathroom, floors, mirrors, etc. Each of these products costs $3-7, is poisonous to people and animals, and pollutes the water and the earth when it leaves our homes.
Baking soda and vinegar are cheaper, more eco-friendly, non-toxic to you, your kids, your pets, and will take care of most of your basic around-the-house cleaning.
Wouldn’t it be great if your biggest worry, upon seeing that the toddler broke into the cabinet of cleaners, was that there would be a mess?
Same is true of bottled water.
When I was teaching part time, I’d drink over a quart of water every day at work. I took water in a 40-ounce stainless steel bottle that I bought for $25 six years ago.
Doing a search, I found 16.9-ounce bottles of water for 21 cents each. (Never mind that you’d need to buy 72 cases of 24 bottles to get that price…) Rounding just to make things simpler, let’s say I’d drink two of those each day at work.
In two months, the cost of the bottled water equals what I paid for the reusable bottle. Tap water prices vary by region, as do the variety of water filters available, but none cost as much as water that comes in a bottle.
Bottled water is a source of BPA, a toxic chemical that disrupts the way hormones work in your body.
It mimics estrogen, is linked to early puberty in girls and feminine traits in boys, and has the most damaging effects to fetuses, infants, and toddlers. It has genetic repercussions in humans for three generations.
The other problem with bottled water is the bottle.
How much energy and natural resources went into obtaining and refining the petroleum, and creating and shipping the bottle? All for a single-use, live-in-a-landfill-forever bottle? Sure, you could recycle it, but most people don’t recycle most bottles.
In general, single-use disposable products cost more in the long run than their reusable counterparts.
The kitchen wins for most likely to have unnecessary nickel-and-diming for the sake of convenience.
Plates, cups, flatware, napkins, towels, casserole dishes, bread pans, and so on all come in disposable versions. While using something once and then throwing it away might be simpler, it is more of a drain on your budget (and on a more recurring basis).
Most single-use disposables also contain chemicals from the production process, whether to affect their flexibility, color, or texture. These are not chemicals we want in our bodies, whether through contact with our skin or ingestion.
As for environmental impact, most people think about the problem of trash (which is indeed an enormous problem), but there is also all extraction, and multiple steps of production that are not earth-friendly. Bioplastics, while not being made from petroleum (or being only partially petroleum-based) are not any better. (That’s a whole other can of worms…)
It takes a little bit of adjusting to go to reusable items, and in some cases there is an up-front cost.
It’s worth it.
Your body will be glad to have fewer toxins to deal with. Your wallet will be glad to have fewer expenses. The earth will be glad to have more resources and less waste. Win-win-win!
- Have you stopped to consider how green–or not!–your home currently is?
Cancer survivor. Mom. Teacher. Entrepreneur. Musician. Triathlete. Inspirational. Occasionally hilarious. These are all words that describe Heat Dziczek.