Don’t Buy Stuff to Go Green

Posted by Mrs Money on July 9th, 2010

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There are so many different green products on store shelves today that are marketed to green your life.  Sure, you can buy a solar powered vibrator, but if you don’t need one, that is the worst thing you can do!  Think about it- surely you are saving electricity, but by purchasing this new item, you have now left a larger carbon footprint than if you had just kept using whatever it is that you were using.  The item had to be manufactured from new materials, created, and then shipped to your local mega mart or shopping center.  You (most likely) drove to the store and back.  How can you limit your impact on the environment while resisting those shiny, new green gadgets?  Go back to the 3 R’s.

Reduce

Stop buying crap.  Really think before you make a purchase.  When you buy a new item, that’s the most damaging to your pocket book and the planet.  Declutter your home, donate items, and give things to friends.  When you have less Stuff, there’s less upkeep and money spent on maintaining the Stuff.  Challenge yourself to donate 10 things and then go from there.  I guarantee you’ll feel better after you do!  Just don’t throw things away that can be reused by someone.  That’s not green or frugal.  And it’s certainly not nice to Mother Earth.

Reuse

Have some old t shirts you can’t use any longer?  Learn how to make old t shirts into reusable bags.  Do you have a bunch of glass jars from spaghetti sauce?  Use them to store your bulk dried goods, or even use them for canning.  Before you get rid of something, see if there’s something else that you can do with that item.  You can even reuse old laundry detergent bottles to make fun things.  Be creative.  The possibilities are endless.

Recycle

If all else fails, recycle.  Don’t be lazy.  It only takes a few minutes to wash out a jar for the recycling.  Did you know plastic bags last pretty much forever?  How sad.  While I think it is imperative to recycle, consuming less in the first place is the greenest and most frugal option.

Think before you consume.  Your decision can have a huge effect on your wallet and the environment.

Have you seen a silly product to help you go green?  Do you try to limit your consumption?

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14 Responses to “Don’t Buy Stuff to Go Green”


  1. Jin6655321 says:

    It always irks me when magazines, shows, commercials, websites, etc. tell people to go BUY something to be green and frugal, it’s such a contraditction. It will save the Earth AND your money! No, no it won’t. I recently saw a commercial for a washer from Lowes that touted, “It will save you $500 over lifetime!” because it uses less water. Wait, $500 over the life time of the machine? They want me to spend $1000+ to save $500? How does that even make sense?

    That $1000 washer will leave you $1000 poorer and your perfectly fine old washer will take up space in a landfill somewhere. Instead of spending $250 on jeans made from organic cotton and dyed with eco-friendly soy ink or whatever, why not just buy a pair from a thrift store?

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jin6655321- I agree! I think it’s really silly. I know that if there was zero consumption that would be bad, but I think we need to come up with a happy middle. I think you’ve got the right idea. 🙂

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  2. Sue says:

    Because buying stuff is what keeps the economy going, my friend. 😉 It’s also what Green Activists have to show (pumping up the economy) to keep people in their movement. If the Green Movement showed that it wasn’t beneficial to the economy or that it hurt the economy outright, it would be discarded by those who partake with anything less than religious fervor.

    Of course, frugality doesn’t exactly *add* to the economy on the whole, but it sure adds to my personal economy! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Sue- True! I love that frugality adds to my personal economy too! 😉

    [Reply]

  3. Little House says:

    I completely agree that it’s counterproductive to purchase something to “go green.” The whole point of living greener is reducing your footprint, that means not acquiring a bunch of stuff you don’t need. I love reusing old spaghetti jars, I use them for drink glasses, to hold additional food items, even gift ideas. I’m trying to reuse my plastic garbage bags now too. I’m finding I can reuse my recycle garbage bag, but not the regular trash bag. However, I’ve gotten my trash bag down to one bag a week, while I’m able to compost and recycle everything else.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Little House- I almost have an addiction to glass jars… it’s getting a little out of hand. 😉

    [Reply]

  4. Akborn says:

    I think that’s my biggest grumble with society these days is the almost constent contradiction with the whole buying green to save the earth and to be frugal. I understand alot of people are way too busy to make their own, or don’t know where to start or even know better. I personally beleive to each their own and not everyone can go buy some baking soda and vinager and clean their whole house and that’s fine. But to pay 1-9 dollars more for a product that contains just same ingredients as a “non-green” items. Ok yes some products should be boycotted due to their making, stuff use or whatever reason ya can find but personally I don’t but green just cause it’s green. I consider my self green and frugal not because I want to Save the planet but because it’s friendly to my bank account lol. But we all have our reason I guess

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Akborn- I think there are many people that are green accidentally because they are frugal. I think that’s okay too! Frugality and living green go hand in had I think 🙂

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  5. Jenny says:

    Thanks for the link!

    We honestly can’t afford most of that “green” stuff anyway. My parents bought us a regular washer when we moved to our house and we used my in-laws’ old dryer until we found a newer one at a yard sale. I love Method cleaning products, but baking soda and vinegar work fine and are much cheaper. There’s this hair wash called Terressentials that’s supposed to be amazing and I’d love to try, but I haven’t been able to justify that purchase for the same reason–baking soda and vinegar are working and cost pennies a wash and it’d cost me over $40 to get started with the fancy stuff!

    We do have some nice reusable water bottles, and I love them because I hate bottled water. I think sometimes it’s good to upgrade to green when you have to make a purchase anyway, like buying energy-saver lightbulbs when the old ones burn out. Cloth diapers are fun, too, and allow me to avoid buying disposables. But in general, a lot of mainstream companies are just pretending to jump on the bandwagon to make a buck.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jenny- You’re welcome! I thought that was really innovative what you did!

    I know what you mean- sometimes I want to splurge and buy some green toilet cleaner (or whatever) and then can’t bring myself to do it because I know baking soda and vinegar work just as well!

    I hate when companies go green just for the money. They need to realize they need to do something for the good of everyone, not just for their bottom line.

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  6. Frugal Babe says:

    I know so many people who want to be green and purchase all of their stuff a high end “earth friendly” stores. They buy organic cotton clothing and bamboo utensils and all sorts of other expensive stuff. Think how much farther their money would go if they bought stuff used at a thrift store… which is much more “green” than any new product.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Frugal Babe- Exactly! I think it’s silly to replace something that works with a “green” item. I had a friend that bought all new bamboo towels and told me because they thought I would be so proud. Yeah, that’s great to buy over cotton towels, but they donated their old ones that were still good. *sigh*

    I don’t try to judge; just sometimes things don’t make sense to me.

    [Reply]

  7. DIY Fellow says:

    Well, it’s true if you’re buying end-use goods, but buying tools and books and things like that can make you much greener. You buy some tools and a book on how to fix anything, and it saves you and your neighbors from having to buy stuff when things break.

    Make any sense?

    [Reply]


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