Is going green, going cheap?

by Frugal Brian

recycle

In a lot of ways people end up spending more money than they usually would in the effort to “go green”. Consumers looking for “greener” products tend to spend slightly more on those items that claim to be better for the environment. Green cleaning products, organic vegetables, clothing made from organic materials, re-chargeable batteries, and many more items are all more expensive than their less eco-friendly competitors. In this way, individuals trying to go green end up spending significantly more cash over the long run to support their green lifestyle.

There are some ways that being green may start to look like individuals are frugal or cheap. The now well-know saying “reduce, reuse, recycle,” in relation to protecting the environment and going green, can be taken in a way that would make people spend less money. While you might not be spending as much money, the practice of going green does not particularly suggest that people should be cheap.

The first part of the saying, “reduce,” is trying to convince people to reduce the amount of goods that they are consuming so that they can reduce their impact of the environment. This means that you purchase and use only the goods that you absolutely need and stop overconsumption of unnecessary items. Our current consumption oriented culture suggests that people purchase goods that they do not need; stopping this overconsumption does not mean that people are starting to be cheap, just that they are spending smarter and being less wasteful.

The second part of the saying, “Reuse,” suggests that people find alternative ways to re-purpose the products that they purchase, use once, and would normally just throw away. The word “reuse” is aimed at trying to get people to come up with creative ways to make reduce the amount of trash that they create and to reduce the need for purchasing goods when they could fill their requirement of by using things that they already own. Some people can take this suggestion a little too far and go overboard with the kinds of items they try to reuse which could lead to them appropriately being labeled as “cheap”. Most individuals following this saying do not tend to get that involved though.

While individuals do not tend to go overboard in a way that would have then be labeled as “cheap”, major companies that produce consumer goods certainly do. Companies are cutting back like never before, all in the name of protecting the environment and being “green”. For instance, there are the new water bottles that are absurdly flimsy and easily crushed that companies are selling to consumers and saying that each bottle requires a significantly less amount of plastic to make and is therefore better for the environment. Other companies ask their customers to recycle parts of the products they purchase and return them to the company or the manufacturer that made them; this appears to be a great idea but in reality it is a money saving technique put into place to cut costs on the company’s side of things.

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