Cost Of Going Green
Is there a cost of going green?
One of major perceptions about going green is that there is substantial cost involved – that you need to be relatively well-off to go green. This misconception that going green is very expensive could be one of the major impediments for the change towards a greener and healthier society.
This whole idea about going green being expensive is not entirely unfounded. For example, some eco-friendly products are indeed a little bit more expensive than the regular ones. Of course, there are also other costs involved in going green, such as in making lifestyle changes. Some people would consider these changes to be inconvenient. However, in this article, we will focus on financial costs.
Ultimately, when it comes to the cost of going green, the long term benefits to gain often outweigh the costs. The challenge for most people is really to remember this and choose to make an investment for the future – their own future.
If we only focus on the cost of going green to our pockets today, but ignore the higher cost of not going green to our environment tomorrow, then we are being irresponsible and unkind – not only to humanity and other living things on earth, but also to ourselves. We will be unkind to ourselves, because many of us will still be alive, fortunately or unfortunately, to experience the harms we bring about to the environment -- pollution, global warming and climate change.
Here, we shall examine some of the cost of going green to see if that cost is really that substantial.
Cost of going green for food
Let’s start with a day-to-day example on an essential – food.
Going green in the food department means making adjustments to your diet – using local products that are produced using sustainable methods, and staying away from farming produces that rely heavily on industrial synthetic chemicals (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, etc). All these changes translate to greater use of food products that are organic, or otherwise free of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones.
Organic food products tend to more expensive than non organic ones. They cost about twice as much, if not more. This is probably because additional costs are involved for farmers to get their products certified as organic.
However, organic food products need not always cost that much. If you happen to live near an organic farm and are able to obtain your groceries directly from the farm instead of from the departmental store, that could help you cut some cost. If you know of any farms nearby that make use of sustainable green farming methods, the produces from these farms could do too. They need not be certified organic, but their produces could be as good as the ones certified as organic. There’s another option – grow your own food. If you happen to have a garden space, why not grow your own organic vegetables, herbs or even breed your own hens for eggs!
By making a change towards a greener diet, not only are you securing for yourself and your loved ones better health, you are also supporting your local economy, and helping to ensure a cleaner environment and future.
These green products may more expensive than the regular ones at this point in time, but because you and your loved ones will be healthier in the future, you will be spending less money on doctors and medication. The savings you make in the long run will actually outweigh the cost you incur now.
On a larger scheme of things, the cost of going green that the world pays for now in healthier and more sustainable food production will help them save on the cost of not going green – soil pollution and loss of fertile farming lands through the use of harmful synthetic chemicals and unsustainable farming methods.
Cost of going green for energy
Now, let’s take a look at the energy we need everyday -- to power our buildings (e.g. households, offices, and industries) and our transport system.
In today’s world, we are highly reliant on fossil fuels. The technologies in place to tap on these non-renewable energy sources are more well developed and hence involves only a fraction of the cost for set-up as compared to the infrastructures for renewable energies (e.g. solar power energy and wind energy). As such, fossil fuels are currently more cost effective than renewable energies.
However, the use of fossil fuels brings with it loads of other problems, such as pollution and global warming, and disatrous climate change events like heat waves, droughts and floods etc. Not only do these problems endanger the lives of you and your loved ones, they also threaten the survival of the human race and the other species living alongside humans today on this planet. The survival of our entire planet could be the price we pay tomorrow, for the savings we make today from using the cheaper but dirtier fossil fuels.
That is not to say that the use of fossil fuels should not totally replaced, especially since the efficiency of renewable energy plants are not at the desired levels yet. Instead, what i mean is that more investments (ie. more money and effort) need to be made to increase the efficiency of renewable energy plants, so that renewable energies could one day (hopefully soon enough) generate sufficient energy to power the world without reliance on fossil fuels.
The cost of going green that we pay today when investing in green energy will definitely pay off tomorrow, especilly when the cost of fossil fuels increase (as they become scarcer).
The situation is the same when it comes to the use of more energy-efficient appliances.
An energy efficient refrigerator may be more expensive (by a few hundred dollars) to purchase at the start than a regular one, but you will be amazed by the amount of energy bill savings you make over the years. I know, because I have an energy efficient refrigerator at home. Not only does it use less electricity, it also keeps my food fresh for longer periods. In this way, I get to save on food too!
By the above examples, you can probably see now that the cost of going green is only a matter of investment. And as more people go green and industries associated with going green grow, prices will be lowered, and the cost of going green will be lowered. Going green is about spending a little bit more today and saving much more -- not only money but also the world -- tomorrow.
Cost of going green – Negative!
At this point, there is another important point you need to bear in mind. Going green is actually more than just about using the “more-expensive” green products.
In fact, some of the going green principles and practices such as recycling and conserving energy can actually help you save money in the long run. So it is not true that you need to pay more money to live a green life.
Here are some examples of how the cost of going green is actually negative – going green actually helps you save money!
When you switch from incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient light bulbs
like the compact fluorescent light bulbs, you use 70% to 75% less energy. This is because incandescent light bulbs only convert 10% of the energy it receives into light; the rest is wasted as heat. Compact fluorescent light bulbs also last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. This means that when you use compact fluorescent bulbs, you actually save on both electricity as well as the purchases of light bulbs. For instance, by using a 26-watt compact fluorescent light bulb, which is equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent light bulb, you can save up to fifty-nine dollars on energy costs over the life of the bulb. The cost of going green is negetaive, and you do what is better for the environment.
When it comes to the use of dishwashers and clothes washing machines, practising more energy efficient tips like washing only when you have full or near fill loads, and using shorter cycles for not-so-dirty dishes can also help you save money on energy bills. Some other energy saving tips for the household include air drying your clothes, instead of using the clothes dryer. Enabling the sleep mode and hibernate features on computers, instead of leaving them on full power when you take a break, can save your household up to several tens of dollars annually.
Many idle electronics such as TVs, VCRs, DVD and CD players, cordless phones and microwaves use energy even when they are switched off. Nationally, these energy “vampires” could use 5% percent of domestic energy and cost consumers more than three billion dollars per year. Keep the sockets unplugged if they are not in use. All these tips can definitely help you save, as you go green.
You might be surprised, some green practices like recycling could even earn you some money. That makes the cost of going green very negative! Read more about how you can make money recycling.
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