Green Living (c) Mark Weber
A guide to whether environmental benefits justify the extra expense
Going green sometimes comes with a price: Organic vegetables can cost twice as much as their mainstream counterparts.
So when is going green really worth it?
We asked some top environmental experts to weigh in -- and their answers might surprise you. They say that while spending extra is often justified, you can almost always find a cheaper alternative.
For home improvement projects, spending more can be better for the Earth.
But MacEachern says that choice actually saved her money because the lack of noxious chemicals meant that her family could stay in the house while it was being painted.
But there's also a cheaper option: MacEachern found carpeting made from recycled soda bottles, which looks and feels just like regular carpeting. "I looked at all these other options, and it turned out this was the easiest, cheapest, and quickest to install," says MacEachern.
"The greenest thing to do is as little as possible," says
For example, Wood explains, working with an existing house's footprint instead of knocking it down and starting from scratch is both more affordable and more environmentally friendly. She also recommends installing low-flow toilets and replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, both choices that save money in the long term.
When it comes to a big-ticket item such as kitchen cabinets, Wood often suggests that her clients look at purchasing "gently
used" kitchen cabinets, which can be found through contractors or stores that sell salvaged pieces.
When it comes to organic food, the high price tag often provides health benefits.
Recent research suggests that organic food is also more healthful food. The Organic Center, a nonprofit that collects research about organics, reports that according to recent studies, organic foods are more nutritious than their nonorganic counterparts 61 percent of the time.
"Our position is moving in the direction of organic food being more nutritious," says
But there's also a cheaper option: While organic food tends to be more expensive, MacEachern recommends looking for other items
to trim from your budget, such as bottled water, in order to fit it into your budget. "It doesn't make any sense to say, 'I can't
Plus, since food sellers have to adhere to certain rules in order to label their products as organic, the organic food
(and clothing) sold at discount stores such as
For personal hygiene and cleaning products, a higher price can mean fewer toxins.
Organic home cleaning products usually come without the powerful chemicals found in most mainstream cleaners, but they can also be more expensive.
But there's also a cheaper option:
Make your own products. Taggart says there is no need to spend money on pricey products when you can make them yourself at home. In fact, Taggart makes her own perfume with essential oils because she avoids synthetic fragrances. She also creates body scrubs with sea salts and essential oils.
Instead of buying air fresheners, she suggests cutting up an orange and simmering the peels on the
stove. Pine needles or cloves work, as well. "You don't need to spend
For more intense cleaning around the house, Taggart suggests using baking soda and water mixtures or castile soap, which is made
from vegetable oil, instead of store-bought products that usually run at least
MacEachern has an even simpler solution: Use fewer products. "If you put everything that you use in one day on the counter, it will blow your mind," she says, adding that many people use as many as 25 products a day. Her advice? "Pick a day where you use none of that stuff -- just brush your teeth and your hair, and forget about the rest."
Both Books Cited in this article are available at Amazon.com by clicking below:
To a large degree, our cars are us, and restricting how we drive is tantamount to threatening our independence. In the bigger picture, however, this is just a reactionary response. The critical thinkers among us know that freedom demands responsibility, knowledge, and considerate action. We have good reason to reduce the speed at which we drive, for personal gain as well as the good of the nation.
America's First Global Warming Cap and Trade Program
Martin O'Malley, Governor of the state of Maryland
As the debate over energy independence, climate change, and "green jobs" heats up this summer, Congress and the American public should take note one of the most significant accomplishments related to climate change to date and some of the lessons we've learned. In September 2008, 10 northeastern states, including Maryland, launched the United States's first greenhouse gas "cap and trade system" -- and it is working.
By Michael Osbun
Plan to Combat Global Warming: Pie in the Sky
Whenever you hear a politician start a sentence with, "If we can put a man on the moon ... ," grab your wallet.
The latest example of anthropogenic-lunar empowerment is global warming. Al Gore and Barack Obama routinely cite the Apollo program as proof that we can make good on the president's messianic campaign pledge to stem the rising ocean tides and hasten the healing of the planet.
How the Global Warming Bill Will Affect Your Wallet
How much will the Waxman-Markey bill cost the average American? In the coming weeks, Congress will likely consider a massive global-warming bill to create a new cap-and-trade program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. President Obama praised the bill, dubbed Waxman-Markey for its co-sponsors, as a vital step to create millions of new jobs all across America
Norman Borlaug: Population Growth Requires Second Green Revolution
Norman Borlaug Nobel Laureate Interview
Norman Borlaug is known as the father of the Green Revolution. His work with high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties is credited with saving as many as a billion people from starvation worldwide. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply. At age 95, a recent interview ...
The key to a good garden is good compost, and every gardener worth his salt should be making his own. Compost is a wonderful thing, plants are happy when grown in this sweet black soil amendment. Making your own is easy. Anything that once was living will eventually become compost. The trick is how fast you can harvest it.
Greening My House
Ever since I saw the Green light, thanks to my friend Laurie David, and traded in my gas-guzzling SUV, I've tried my best to up my eco-awareness.
Find your next job saving our planet as an Environmental Engineer. Search for Environmental engineering positions from thousands of job and career search sites. A search engine for jobs with a different approach to job and career searches. In one simple search, job seekers get free access to millions of employment opportunities from thousands of websites.
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