Similar to questions about why organic food is more expensive, many people are wondering why eco-friendly products cost more. There's a lot of overlap between green food and green goods, as well as what raises their prices. However, when it comes down to it, the reasons eco-friendly products are more expensive are also why they’re more worth it.
Why Eco Friendly Products Cost More?
Supply Chain Expenses
From sourcing the raw materials, through the manufacturing and production processes, every step of the supply chain tends to cost more for eco-friendly products. Without synthetic inputs, sustainable materials cost more to grow. When products like a toothbrush are made with responsibly sourced bamboo instead of cheap polypropylene plastic, consumers might notice a slightly higher price as a result.
You know what they say, “you get what you pay for.” And if you’ve heard any of the discussion around fast fashion in recent years, you might understand that a $5 t-shirt means that something or someone is paying the price—like polluted rivers or exploited factory workers. This is because with most products, the externalities (side effects of industrial activities) aren’t included at the cost, meaning the environment or people have to pick up the bill.
Most eco-friendly products cost more because they entail fair pay and safe working conditions for those in their supply chain. They may also have a higher price because of practices in place to limit water and chemical use, or reduce pollutants.
You’ve probably seen some of these on your favorite products: the USDA Organic logo; stamps from MADE SAFE, OEKO-TEX, or GOTS; or the Fair Trade Certified emblem. All of these certification schemes have a cost, in some cases up to $25,000 a year! While they help to fight off greenwashing (misleading environmental claims), they may result in a higher price tag.
Better, More Durable Designs
While it’s true that sustainable products might be more expensive than the alternative, they’ll typically save you money in the long run. Oftentimes, eco-friendly goods are made with better materials and incorporate more durable designs. A good example of this is a high-efficiency washer and dryer, as they’ll cut down on the cost of water and energy, making them more affordable after years of use.
The Impact of Economies of Scale
You don’t have to be an economist to understand the basics of supply and demand. When demand is low, the prices tend to be on the higher side. However, more demand means more production, which can help to lower the price. As things like Stasher bags become more popular, we’ll continue to see the price drop as a result.
Eco-Friendly Products are Worth It—and Many Shoppers Think So
In fact, this is where you come in. As green goods become more of a norm for most consumers, they will likely become even more accessible.
And it looks like we’re well on our way. According to a study from Nielsen, it was found that the majority of consumers (73%) are willing to change their consumption habits to minimize the environmental impact of their purchases. In addition, nearly half (46%), said that they would purchase environmentally friendly products.
This is because buying green means supporting the use of sustainable materials, fair wages, and environmentally-friendly manufacturing practices—and who doesn’t want to support that? Your dollar matters, and if you continue to fill your home with eco-friendly products and make some sustainable swaps for your health & beauty routines, you’ll be contributing to a possible future where all of our products are sustainable (and more affordable).
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