In more than a decade of writing about green living, one of the most common complaints I hear about it is that it costs more up front. I have learned that this is a deceptive and surprisingly complicated query, with no one answer.
Sure, shopping at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) can cost more than the corner Safeway/Albertson’s/Tesco/Walmart. But that doesn’t count any of the long-term effects of diet and health, which can easily run in the millions of dollars for serious conditions like heart disease, or can shorten our lives.
And more directly to the point, as my friend Jeff Yeager (the Green Cheapskate) frequently points out, it is often cheaper to buy green. Instead of pre-packaged TV dinners, buy bulk lentils. Instead of pricey cans of gourmet tomato sauce, make your own from over-ripe produce and bulk spices. Skip the treats aisles and go to the baking goods section.
The infographic below gets into some of these trade-offs. It’s easy to write off green living as something only the rich can afford, but the truth is more nuanced.