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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eco-friendly AND budget-friendly? Indeed...

Half way there!  As we draw closer and closer to our community give-back event, we’ve been thinking about ways in which to encourage folks to rethink some of their regular behaviors and give them a “green make-over.”  Some actions, like carrying reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, are very easy to implement and only require a small initial investment.  Others are perceived to be expensive, like buying eco-friendly household products.  On our latest grocery shopping trip, we wanted to test this theory and see how much more expensive some eco-friendly products are in comparison to their mainstream alternatives.  The results may surprise you – they surprised us!  Please watch our video, and the next time you go shopping, take a second look at the range of green products on the shelves in your local stores, as you may be overlooking some eco-friendly and budget-friendly options without even realizing it!

If you don’t have the patience to watch the 6 minute video, here are the results in tabular form…
Price Comparison: Trader Joe's vs. Mainstream grocery store
All the mainstream product prices were scaled to match the quantity that TJ’s sells their products in.  For example, the price of a 12-roll package of toilet paper was halved in order to compare to TJ’s 6-roll pack price.

If you watch the video, you’ll hear Amy explain that the laundry detergent price difference is correct.  Thinking about it some more, the only explanation we can offer for the stark contrast in pricing is that many detergents are made and sold as “2x concentrated” so that when you buy 50 oz, you’re getting 100 oz of washing power.  Some of the detergents included in Amy's calculation are 2x concentrated, but others are not (checking the website again, we see several 100 oz bottles of regular strength detergent for $15.29 – do they also fold themselves?).  Furthermore, speaking from our own experience using the concentrated detergents and now this particular eco-friendly detergent, the suggested amount per use seems to be pretty much the same volume, and our clothes are perfectly clean coming out of the wash using the eco-friendly detergent.  Is the “concentrated” label a marketing gimmick?  Who knows!  At the very least, the comparison shows that this eco-friendly detergent may also be very budget-friendly, and in the worst case, it’s comparably priced to the mainstream detergents that contain troublesome chemicals we want to keep out of our water bodies.

So... If price and effectiveness are equal, buy the eco-friendly option!
Please  :-)

Some helpful information for eco-friendly shopping:
- laundry detergents: consumersearch
- buying guides: National Geographic
- paper products (toilet paper, towels, tissues, etc.): NRDC
- difference between pre- and post-consumer content (quick hint, post is better): CNN
- why we should avoid using phosphates: Water Research Center
We could probably go on for hours...

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