I’m a shopper. It’s not helpful when one is trying to save money. I bought a ton of books on being thrifty. Doh! But, they’ve helped motivate me. And, to be fair, I bought most of them cheaply, used. So, what can a shopper do to be thrifty and green? Certainly not stop shopping!
I bought into (see what I did there?) the whole shopping your way green thing. I bought environmentally friendly cleaners and laundry detergents and toilet paper. Of course, it all cost three prices, but that was o.k. because I was helping the environment, right? Bull puckey. All of those cleaners have packaging and inorganic things in them. Same with the laundry detergents. Ok, the recycled toilet paper I still buy because it’s not something I can make myself.
Really nice clothing can be bought at thrift shops (Tony Hawk shirts and shorts for the kids, a London Fog overcoat, and Ann Taylor blouses are a few of the things I’ve found). You can make your own truly environmentally friendly cleaners in under 10 minutes with stuff you already have around the house (vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, salt) and some things that you’ll need to buy (like Borax) but that will last a really long time and be inexpensive. Cooking at home (I know, but it can be done in one Saturday a month and under half an hour a day or in a crock pot) saves a ton of money.
These are some of the ways I’ve tried to shop my way green, and some of my solutions. It’s not hard to convince yourself that it’s too time consuming to make your own cleaners and cook at home, or that you’re helping support more green product development by buying what’s already available. That’s really not true. I’m not into complicated. If it can’t be done quickly and by someone with the attention span of a 2 year old, I’m not going to do it. But, I can do one Saturday a month and half an hour or so a day for food and 10 minutes for a huge supply of laundry detergent or 2 minutes for a tub cleaner that works better than Soft Scrub with bleach.
It’s not a bad thing to buy green products, it’s just not necesary for a lot of things. Your shopping should reflect your values. Baking soda and vinegar work to clean clogged drains, and they’re much safer for your family and the environment than chemical laden drain cleaners. I love to shop, I just do it a bit differently these days.