The Environmental Tax I’m Willing to Pay

The other day, my boyfriend and I did a shop at our local store that sells everything without packaging, that is, you BYO containers and fill them up in the store with whatever you need. They sell everything from cleaning products to self care products and food items. My main reason for wanting to go there was to stock up on my face/body moisturiser, face cleanser and various household cleaning products like dishwashing liquid and soap.

What I love about this store is that I don’t leave with bags full of unnecessary plastic that can’t or won’t be recycled. What I like slightly less is that some things cost more than buying them at a major supermarket. Not a great deal more, but a little. The other side of the coin is though, that some products are actually cheaper so I suppose you could say it all works out in the wash. However, my boyfriend likes to refer to things that cost more with zero packaging as the ‘environmental tax’. Most of the time, anything that’s good for the environment will cost a little bit more. I’m talking hybrid cars, electric cars, to biodegradable party plates and cups, you name it, it’s generally a tad pricier. Though if anyone has any suggestions of things that are actually cheaper I’d love to hear about them!

The other thing I like to factor in to the ‘cost’ of a product I’m buying is where it is made as I’m usually willing to pay a little bit more for something that’s made locally (and things made in Australia generally do cost more due to our high wages).

This visit, I did pay slightly more for instance for dishwashing liquid, whereas when it’s on sale at the supermarket it’s half the price of what I paid to bring my own container (I think I paid about 6.00AUD for one litre…okay so quite a bit more that a supermarket then) . I also had to fill up my own container which is more time consuming than purchasing a container off the shelf. The environmental tax strikes again and taxes my time as well as my purse!. But that’s not the point, the point is this is someone’s small business, this is not a giant supermarket chain that can bring people into the store with loss leading products. This is a small, family run business that has staff in the store that actually help you. If I had trouble finding something, a member of staff was always close by to help, especially if I needed more of something or a product had run out or low.

Another purchase I made on this particular trip though was a litre of liquid Castile soap to use as liquid hand wash. It came to about $20.00AUD and my boyfriend was outraged and informed me that this was a very expensive way to buy soap and that it was far cheaper at the supermarket even at full price. I laughed, simply because to make your own hand wash using Castile liquid soap you have to mix it with water (say two tablespoons for every 350mls of water). He humorously responded to me by informing me that we basically never need to buy hand soap again and was actually impressed with me deciding to do this as opposed to buying liquid soap refills that still come in plastic and at higher cost too.

Shopping in eco friendly, locally owned and run businesses gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that is definitely contrary to the supermarket plastic guilt I feel. I’m confident that the more people who get on the bandwagon, the cheaper these eco alternatives will become. Sometimes the cost isn’t always about the dollars and cents, what about the environmental cost? How do you feel about your containers heading into landfill because it was more convenient than buying an alternative eco friendly product?

What items are you willing to pay more for that are environmentally friendly?