I have a confession to make. I don’t make eco-friendly choices all the time. In fact, I don’t make 100% eco-friendly choices a lot of the time. I’m a strong believer in my responsiblity to be a good steward of the earth. I want to do my part to keep my family and the planet healthy, but many of my choices don’t appear to reflect those convictions. So why not?
Simply put, the answer is because when making a decision about whether or not to go the environmentally friendly route, I weigh two other primary factors as well: cost and convenience. Sometimes the choice is a no-brainer. Many eco-friendly choices require little extra time and effort and are just as convenient as conventional options, and many end up saving money, if not immediately then in the long run. If that’s the case, the choice is clear, but if it’s not, I weigh all three factors to come up with the best option.
Here’s a few recent examples of when cost and/or convenience have won out:
*Toxic Cleaning Products. We recently moved into a foreclosured house that had been vacant for about 18 months. Needless to say, it needed some heavy-duty cleaning so I asked my mother to bring over her toilet bowl cleaner when she came to help me scrub down the bathrooms. For regular maintenance, a little baking soda sprinkled in the toilet bowl works wonders, but let’s just say this job was past regular maintenance.
*Sayonara Homemade Dishwasher Powder. I also need to confess that I no longer use homemade dishwasher powder. Although it worked well for us at first, after using the powder for a while, the dishes just weren’t coming clean no matter what I tried.
*Free Samples. I reguarly request free samples for products I use. The amount of packaging and energy costs of shipping mean that each sample request takes a toll on the environment, but, in this case, cost and convenience trump eco-friendliness.
*Conventional Groceries. Much of the food we purchase is neither organic nor local. As the budget and time allow, this is one area I’d like to work toward improving.
To be quite honest, the list of non-eco-friendly choices we make as a family goes on and on. We’re always striving to improve, but for now I find balance when I weigh eco-friendliness among other factors and when sometimes the eco-friendly option wins even though it’s the not the most cost-effective and it may require a little more of my time. I think the only way to a sustainable future is to make choices that take the environmental impact into consideration. I hope that as going green becomes mainstream, eco-friendly options will become both more convenient and cost-effective.
What about you? What conventional products do you find it difficult to give up? What non-eco-friendly choices have you made recently? How do you find balance?