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Earth Day and Your Finances

Today is Earth Day, and is designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.

Over the past few days, during the course of my visits to a few retail stores, I wanted to tell you about my experiences there.

They will remain nameless, but at the first one, they had their cash registers fully stocked with green Earth Day bags and were packaging all their customers’ purchases in them.  This was a major retailer by the way.  When it came to me, of course I asked, “Is this bag free?”  The lady replied “Yes, how can we expect people to go “green” if it’s too expensive to do so?”  Or something to that effect.

I almost fell over when I heard this statement.  I could not imagine what the cost of all those green bags would be to the company by the time Earth Day had concluded.  At the second store, I brought my purchases to the counter, and was promptly asked by the cashier if I would like to buy a green Earth Day bag for $1.75.  I would have said “no” anyways, but I  responded that I already got one for free at my last stop.  She didn’t really respond to that, and I didn’t really expect her to.

Then I got to thinking about two pretty important points.  First, I don’t think it is right to place your finances over protecting the environment, unless the expense is simply too large.  What I mean by this is that if you can afford some “green” household cleaner by spending a few more pennies, I feel it should be done for the sake of the environment.  However, I am not advocating that everyone go out and spend $10K to install solar panels on their roof to conserve energy.

I never used to think this way, but I began to recently.  Although I will do almost anything to save money in my everyday life, I don’t think it is right to sacrifice the environment to do so.  For the household cleaners that we still buy(rather than making at home) I do spend the extra money to get ones that are environmentally safe, and our household does recycle everything we can, although it does involve spending money on storage supplies and involves extra trips to the recycling center and so on.  Simply put, I do spend extra money to be mindful of the environment.

Which brings me to my second point.  Why should it cost us more money as consumers to become “green” to begin with?  Shouldn’t it be less expensive?  Do we really believe that it is more expensive to produce some sort of household cleaner (or any other product for that matter) from natural, organic ingredients rather than the other chemicals they are made with?

I think it is the environmental and moral responsibility of so-called “big business” to bring down the prices of all things “green” if we as a society want to seriously commit to caring for our environment.

Can you imagine how many more people would go “green” or become more environmentally responsible if they could also save money by doing so?

I am not here to make political statements or to get on my “soapbox” to call out big business. It is just that this simple little exchange about these two Earth Day bags made me realize that if it were more financially attractive to most people, I think the “green” movement would be less of a Hollywood anomaly, and more of a mainstream movement.

Agree?  Disagree? Your thoughts are always appreciated below.

Care to learn more about impacting your wallet?  Visit me at Yourfinances101.