A Blueprint for Becoming a Green Consumer

Big Green Purse author says being Earth-friendly can also be wallet-friendly.


Companies are really watching the market very carefully, and they are jumping on this bandwagon like never before. There are some leaders in the marketplace like Whole Foods or Wal-Mart and even Target that are really trying to put a lot of organic and sustainably made products on their shelves, and a lot of companies are just responding to consumer demand. In 1999, no hybrid vehicles were sold in the United States, and now we've got 13 models to choose from. You make the point that if a million consumers pledged to shift $1,000 of their spending to greener products, it would have a $1 billion impact.

A lot of people don't know how to get started. It often does boil down to money, because we're talking about using your clout in the marketplace to make a difference. People will say, "I don't know how much to spend or what to buy first." So I suggest you earmark $1,000 of money you're going to spend anyway. Everybody spends much more than $1,000 on groceries, home furnishings, clothing, and so on. Find $1,000 of that that you can intentionally shift to products and services that will protect the planet. For example, $10 of your weekly grocery budget would be half the $1,000; it would be $520 a year. I was at Target the other day, and I bought bamboo socks and they were $6, so it's actually pretty easy to get to the $1,000. It's a way of getting consumers to consciously realize that they can use their money to make a difference. And it's a way of infusing some of those industries with even more capital to do the right thing.