Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

I've been trying to be more environmentally conscious. It seems to be the thing to do these days. Everyone, even Wal*Fart is jumping on the green bandwagon (although I will not be buying anything from them, green or not green. It's against my religion.) I buy those cute, curly light bulbs and as my incandescents go pop, I replace them. I got a couple of big tote bags from Whole Foods (for a dollar, whatta bahgin!) and try my best to remember to take them with me when I leave the house. I recycle everything I can.

Where I've fallen down, until today, was in the water-bottle-and-to-go-coffee-cup department. I've been pricing them. Kleen Kanteens are stainless steel (I don't want aluminum) and have interchangeable caps. They also start at about $20 a pop. Ouch. Sigg only makes stainless steel in a Thermos style, which I don't want. And all the other ones I've seen that meet my not-aluminum requirements are only available in a wide mouth design. And while I definitely have a big mouth, I also seem to have the manual dexterity of a two year-old, as evidenced by my vast collection of shirts with little shadow stains down the front. I really should wear a bib.

In the coffee cup front, things are slightly less expensive. A stainless steel mug, one that will fit in my Honda's dinky cup holder, is $15. Starbucks, another store I don't like to patronize, charges $19 for theirs. I thought I had found the solution when I saw that Pottery Barn had $10 coffee mugs and water bottles. The mugs are ceramic, which is definitely doable, even if it is also very breakable. But their water bottles, although pretty, are aluminum.

I don't understand why it has to be so expensive to be green. Why do I have to spend half again as much to buy local (local!) and/or organic produce and foods? Why can't a company make less expensive water bottles? It can't be that the market isn't there for these things because I hear about being green from everyone, from politicians to the pizza guy.


TSM Oregon said...

Give yourself a pat on the back, dear. Some of us are just now getting used to recycling our pop and beer cans & bottles.

You're WAY ahead of the curve!

Life As I Know It said...

Yeah, I hate that natural/organic foods cost so much more. I have to pick and choose which foods I buy organic.
I've seen some water type bottles from SIGG at EMS. They're nice, and not the thermus kind.
Great post!

LJ said...

when you find those answers let me know??
try gas stations for coffee mugs and water bottles. they're always trying to sell something!

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous. This is one of hte reasons I keep saying that we're not going to be able to buy our way out of this one--because so far the consumer-activism part of this movement has been distinctly upper-end.

Alas, I don't drink coffee; I can't help there. But for water I just use reusable plastic bottles. Even reusing one of the disposable kinds for a while would work.

BookMamma said...

We found some deals at our local indie whole foods store, Garden Cove - They had the ss water bottles with a small mouth for $12. Email me and I will send you one if you like - or at least I could send a photo to see if I should snag one for you. I love mine! Dishwasher safe plus if you ever want to sterilize more you can always boil it (sometimes getting down in there to clean can be kind of hard so boililng = good option).

Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? I know you're a reader and this would be right up your alley. It has some good info on practical green living and explained the solution to consumerism vs. responsible consuming. I thought it read like a dream too. Inspired us to do a CSA this spring.

Major Bedhead said...

Andrea - the plastic bottles get this funk in them. I don't know what it is - and I don't want to know - but it's nasty. I'm wary of the leaching thing, too. I haven't done enough research on it, so I don't know how true it is, but I'd rather not take the chance.

Thanks for the offer, BookMama. I may take you up on that or just order one myself.

I haven't read that book yet, although it's on my list. I really like Kingsolver. Prodigal Summer is one of my favourite books ever. I think we're doing a CSA this year, too. There are several around here.

Jenni said...

Hello! If you're looking into buying a Kleen Kanteen, here's a 20% off code for f7b995
It's case sensitive and expires on February 3rd.

What I keep trying to remind myself is this: it's not that organic and eco-friendly stuff are expensive, it's that junk is cheap. A hundred years ago, there was no cheap plastic crap from China. If you wanted a thermos, you probably paid their equivalent to $20. I read somewhere that, throughout history, the average person has spent about 50% of their income on food, but in modern-day America, we only spend 10%. We're addicted to cheap crap, and we have to figure out how THEY swung it back then if we want to revert back to quality now. Considering what is essential and what is inessential in our budgets, and making do with what we have, is both environmentally responsible and frugal, which means we'll have extra cash free to do the right thing for ourselves and our planet.

How that helps you a little! We're all in this together!

Jenni said...

Oh and I forgot to say - check out the yahoo group Crunchy Cooperative for a way to buy eco-friendly stuff a bit less expensively. And feel free to peek over at RaeAnn's and my blog, if you haven't yet - - it's kind of an ongoing discussion about going green inexpensively. You can also subscribe to The Budget Ecoist, a blog that I've been enjoying.

Green & Clean Mom said...

To some degree you're right but I think it depends on where you are. The more we buy organic the more stores will carry it and then the prices will go down (hopefully). When it comes to cleaners I say go concentrate and save money! For great ones that I found to work well and be economical check these out...

Good luck to you!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I've been searching for just the right water bottle for months and I still haven't found one. Better luck to you.

Allison said...

I know a lot of people are on the Whole Foods bandwagon, but I absolutely adore Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's has yummy, internationally-inspired and organic food at reasonable prices (two weeks for me is about $70-$90) and most of it's pre-cooked which really cuts down on prep time. Now, I'm not entirely sure where you live, but from what I remember, I think there might be one near you... Might be good just to check out.