Is your Clean Green?

Last week, while doing my grocery shopping, I came across a new product I decided to try.  I needed kitchen sponges, and in the cleaning products aisle I found these eco-friendly kitchen sponges and scouring pads right next to the regular ones.  Now, one thing you have to know about me is that I’m always excited about finding green, eco-friendly cleaning products, household objects, and such.  I have experimented with cleaning my bathrooms with vinegar and baking soda (it bubbles furiously and makes the bathroom smell like a nice salad), and I have even downloaded recipes for making my own non-toxic bug repellant.  But alas, I must admit, I prefer a prepared, ready to use product that doesn’t require too much prep time, because when the cleaning fairy waves her wand over me, I have to act quickly before the feeling passes. 

I buy these eco-friendly products whenever I can, but many times I glumly pass on them because green cleaning supplies are more expensive (sometimes many times more expensive) than the conventional toxic stuff.  The reason my curiosity was piqued with these kitchen sponges was that they were the exact same price as the conventional ones.  They were a new introduction from the same company that normally makes non-green sponges, and there they were, side by side; the green ones taunting me with their recycled content and natural agave plant scrubby fibers.  I compared them, I checked again and again to make sure I was seeing the price correctly, and it was true.  They cost the same!  My heart leapt with joy- “I can be green without blowing my budget today!”  And I bought them, with gusto and no guilt.  Now, the cynical side of me says, “Maybe this is their way of test-marketing a new product and getting people to try it and then they plan to raise the price.”

I sincerely hope not.  I love eco-friendly, green products.  I’m like a kid in a candy store when faced with beautiful, lush organic produce and products so non-toxic you could practically eat them.  I’m also one of those people that consciously thinks about garbage and where does it all go?  I live in south Florida.  It’s flat here.  The tallest hills around are the landfills, and they get taller and taller every year.  But my desire to buy green is quickly tempered by my pocketbook.  Changing the habits of people with regard to their product choices has to do with a willingness to try something new and feel like they’re doing something good for themselves and the planet, but that only goes so far. I understand the manufacturing processes may be different and therefore the goods cost more.  I get that and I’m sympathetic, to a point.  I think the biggest determining factor for most people is price.  If the price differential is too large, it’s not going to fly.  Equalizing the prices for eco-friendly products is going to go a long way in taking the movement mainstream instead of something that remains available only to the affluent.  So for now, I’m going to cheerfully scrub my pots and pans with my earth-friendly scrub sponges, not worry about the local landfill when they get thrown into the bin, and keep my eye on the price whenever I’m passing through the cleaning aisle in the hopes that soon those will be the only type of kitchen sponges available and the price will be reasonable. 

Don’t make me start growing my own agave plants just so I can harvest them for kitchen sponges!  But hey, wait a minute.  Isn’t tequila made from agave plants?  Hmmmm…..