If you’ve ever tried to become greener and shop sustainably, you might be shocked at the price tag sustainable products have, from sustainable T-shirts to organic food, but why is it so expensive?
Sustainable products are more expensive because of the lack of demand which means prices often have to stay high, they can also be expensive due to raw materials, high wages, certifications and more.
We’ve composed an informative guide below which will take you through why it’s important to shop sustainably, why sustainable products often have a higher price tag, and why and how to keep costs low when your shopping.
Why Is It Important To Shop Sustainably?
We all know sustainable products are better for us, and eco-friendly products have fewer negative effects on the environment, but that’s not the only reason we recommend shopping from sustainable companies.
- Supports local business – A lot of local businesses are much more sustainable options, you can often walk to buy items from them and it supports the community in uncertain times!
- Better for health and planet – Eco-friendly companies are much better for the environment by using fewer chemicals like pesticides and more raw materials, this is especially important when it comes to food and health since your food will have fewer pesticides.
- Lasts longer – Raw materials in sustainable items often last much longer since they are made with higher quality materials, meaning less waste from your green product.
- Supports workers – Sustainable living products always put their workers first unlike big brands, which means they pay their workers fair and avoid exploiting cheap labour costs.
Which Sustainable Products Are More Expensive?
For the average consumer, sustainable products can be very expensive, making it hard to live a conscious consumer lifestyle on a small budget.
Many products can be 10%-15% more expensive than non-sustainable products, we’ve listed some examples down below.
- Food – If you’ve ever stepped into an organic grocery store you will know the prices are very high, dairy-free ice cream, in particular, can be three times the price and veggies double the price.
- Personal care – Personal care items such as toilet paper can be over double the price of regular toilet paper, sustainable deodorant and body moisturiser can also be very expensive.
- Fashion – Sneakers, socks, t-shirts and other products can be very expensive in comparison to regular fast fashion items, these eco-friendly products are often made with raw materials but do last much longer.
Reasons Why Sustainable Products Are More Expensive
Due to the high prices of sustainable products, eco-friendly companies often have to be pricing their products very high in order to make a profitable business, we’ve listed the main reasons why sustainable products tend to be more expensive down below.
Premium raw materials are important for making an eco-friendly product, organic cotton or organic dyes for example cost more and are produced in limited quantities which is why they contribute to a more expensive price.
Although many of us are trying to become more sustainable and understand it is better for the planet, they are still in low demand, and low demand means higher prices since companies can’t afford to produce in bulk.
The use of harmful chemicals in conventional products and produce helps to keep prices low and things pest free, since sustainable personal care products, organic groceries and other items don’t use these toxins and are better for our health.
Some chemicals often found in non-sustainable conventional products are; chloroform which is linked to cancer, Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether used in brake fluid and Dimethyl glycol used in nail varnish remover.
Wages are a huge cost to companies, the cost of labour can make or break your profit, which is why some non-sustainable products often try to pay their workers as low of a wage as possible.
Due to higher wage costs, these are the reasons sustainable companies often charge more for their beauty products or clothes since the workers are being paid a fair price.
If a company is environmentally friendly then they most likely also follow eco-friendly business practices which can make them more expensive.
Companies can try to be more green by using energy-efficient appliances, installing solar panels and allocating staff time to promote sustainability.
It’s not just enough to claim that you use sustainable business practices, you also need to have certification to prove that you are sustainable. Fairtrade certificates and organic certification costs a lot of money but are important to provide peace of mind to customers.
This also drives the high upfront costs of products.
How To Decrease The Cost Of Buying Sustainable Products
Even though sustainable products can be very high in price due to manufacturing costs, we should all still try to buy sustainably when possible, however, the high cost at times might not be feasible for everyone’s budget.
We’ve listed a few hacks to help you save money when buying sustainable products down below.
- Think about repeat purchases – Although the average consumer might see that conventional products are cheap, think about how many times you buy repeat purchases of items like deodorant. Sustainable items like deodorant and perfume for example are often much richer making them high-quality version which only needs to be used in moderation.
- Change your mindset – Most of us are wired to seek low-cost items all the time when possible, however, sometimes changing your mindset to understand that eco-friendly choices are better for our health and last longer can help us to save money in the long run.
- Maintain them well – Personal care products, fashion and other items made with raw materials can last a long time as long as you are maintaining them well.
- Look for sales – Organic brands and farm shops can often hold sales to get rid of items which have not been in demand, this allows you to save a fair amount of money when shopping on sale.
When Should I Not Buy Sustainable Products?
Even though we are all encouraged to buy sustainable products, sometimes it’s just not possible due to the actual cost.
We’ve listed when to give sustainable products a miss down below.
- You already have something which is meeting your needs that you don’t need to dispose of.
- Don’t buy a new sustainable product if you have a second-hand item which fits already.
- If a sustainable item is very high in cost and out of reach, don’t push yourself to pay for it.
Overall, sustainable products are very expensive due to the costs behind the products, using non-toxins, and raw materials, paying higher labour costs and having ethical certification.
We always recommend shopping sustainably when you can afford it since it’s better for the planet and your health, these items will often save you money in the longer run.