Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day Sale Alternatives

While I was reading the weekly ads to prepare for my Under a Buck series, I noticed that many of the stores this week are having Earth Day sales.  They're featuring products that claim to help the environment in some way - they're made of recycled materials, or organic ingredients, or they help save energy, or they're non-toxic.

Now, not many people like a bargain more than I do.  And I would bet that there are coupons for these sale items so that you can get them very cheaply.  But I couldn't help thinking to myself: Wouldn't it be better for the environment if you just didn't buy these products at all?  No extra packaging to dispose of and no gas spent going to the store to get them.

Now, a few of them are definitely worth it.  For instance, I wholeheartedly suggest that you get reusable bags for your groceries.  Sometimes you can get them for free with coupons or deals, but if you have none, buy a couple now while they're on sale; you can always add more to your collection later.

But most of these products have alternatives that are not only more frugal, but also don't hurt the environment as much.  For instance:

CVS: Earth Essentials paper towels, 12 pk, $8.88
Alternative: Use rags or washcloths to clean spills and faces.  Wash them with your regular laundry so as not to waste extra water or detergent when cleaning them.

Walgreens: Brita pitcher, $14.99
Alternative: Use a regular pitcher but allow the water to sit for 24 hours before drinking.  Some of the gases in the water, which can cause an off-taste, will dissipate.  (Note: If your local water isn't clean enough to drink, the Brita pitcher is definitely better than buying bottled water.)

Target: Green Works all-purpose cleaner, 32 oz, $2.49
Alternative:  Use Google to get a variety of cleaners made from inexpensive, non-toxic ingredients that are probably already in your home.  Check this site for instructions to make a non-toxic cleaning kit.  There are undoubtedly lots of other such sites.

Publix: $2/3 Cascadian Farms Organic Chewy Granola Bars, "Please the Planet" coupon book
Alternative: Make these yourself from oats, honey, and other natural ingredients.  There are lots of recipes available out there!

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  Instead of spending money to buy products that claim to help the environment, think about other alternatives that might be better for the planet and will save you money!

Check these sites for more great tips:

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Lori Yoder April 21, 2010 at 7:29 AM  

So TRUE!!! I LOVE this post. So often we get caught up in BUYING something to help the environment when more often than not we can do something WAY cheaper with the same or better results.

Jen April 21, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

Thanks for posting this at my Penny Pinching Party. Premeditated Leftovers a few posts before you (Frugal AND Green) had a lot of the same things to say about Earth Day and I agree with you both.

Canadagirl April 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

You are soooo right on these and there ARE so many more things to do that is earth friendly and pocket friendly. [0=


Anonymous,  April 23, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

Yay sales. Love my reusable bags. I got them very cheap so after a few Target trips, they paid for themselves.

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