Photo (cc) by Wesley Fryer
Going green does not come cheap. In fact, my household-necessities budget almost doubled when I stopped buying traditional cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and paper products.
But I’m committed to doing my part to make the world, especially my part of it, cleaner and safer. So I had to find a cheaper way to get my favorite products – and I did. After months of painstaking research, these are my top websites for buying green supplies.
When it comes to cleaning supplies, I’m picky about what I’ll buy. So I need choices. These three sites offered the most selection and the best prices…
Amazon has a decent selection of green cleaning products – if you’re willing to search for them. I was able to find brands like Seventh Generation, Earth Friendly, and PURE. But I had to search the site for each brand to get a full product listing.
As far as pricing, Amazon runs the gamut. I’ve found great deals (Mrs. Meyers dishwashing soap for $1.30) and horrible deals ($18.44 for one bottle of Method cleaner). But you can buy most products in bulk to save some money, and you can get free shipping if you spend $25 or more on most products.
Drugstore.com’s Eco-Home section has hundreds of products from 37 different eco-friendly brands, including the most popular ones like J.R. Watkins, Method, Mrs. Meyers, and Seventh Generation.
Pricewise, Drugstore.com runs a bit higher than Alice (see below). For example, Seventh Generation Dish Soap costs $3.69 at Drugstore.com, and $3.49 at Alice. Drugstore offers free shipping for orders over $25 and runs periodic sales.
Although the site is a bit difficult to navigate, Alice has a large selection of green cleaners. Right now, they offer 522 different eco-cleaning products from 82 different brands. While Alice has a large selection, you don’t get a lot of options from many popular brands. For example, the site only has 11 different Method products for sale, while other sites had dozens.
But when it comes to price, Alice wins hands down. Most products ran at least $0.10 lower than Drugstore.com and Amazon. Plus, Alice offers free shipping on any size order.
The cost of laundry detergent alone was almost enough for me to switch back to traditional products. Thankfully, these sites have good deals, or I’d be back to polluting the environment…
1. Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club doesn’t have a lot of choices, but they do carry some of the most popular green laundry detergent brands like Ecos and Seventh Generation. And what you can’t find in your local store, you can buy online through the Sam’s Club website. (You’ll need to use your membership card to make a purchase.)
The biggest benefit to buying at Sam’s Club is the ability to buy in bulk, which cuts down on the cost. For example, I ordered a 210-ounce bottle of Ecos Laundry Detergent for $25.88 (including shipping). Since the bottle is rated for 250 loads, I paid $0.10 per load. That’s the cheapest price I’ve found on any green laundry detergent.
Soap.com has a massive selection, including popular brands like Method and lesser-known greats like Charlie’s Soap. Plus, you can buy most products in singles or two-packs.
Pricewise, Soap.com runs a little higher than Drugstore.com (see below). For example, Method 50-Load Detergent costs $16.26 at Soap.com and $15.49 at Drugstore.com. But the site does offer free shipping on any order over $25 for your first order, or any order over $39 after that.
Drugstore.com has a good selection on laundry care – 134 products from different brands such as Method, Biokleen, and Dropps. Plus, the eco-home section had a wide variety of dryer sheets, stain fighters, and fabric softeners in addition to detergent.
When it comes to price, Drugstore.com had the best deals for buying single units. They also include free samples in most shipments so you can try out other products before you commit to buying the full-sized bottles.
There is a surprising number of recycled or biodegradable paper products available, if you know where to look. These three sites had good prices and a good selection…
1. Plum Market
Plum Market only sells products from a few different brands, but they offer a wide variety of recycled or eco-friendly paper products – including everything from paper towels to cheese cloths. (I found recycled paper cupcake holders and parchment paper here.)
Plum Market’s base price is lower than I’ve found in most brick-and-mortar stores. For example, the parchment paper costs $5.09 through the site and $7.99 through my local all-natural store. But they do charge for shipping, which varies depending on your total purchase count and weight.
My local Wal-Mart store had little in the way of green household products, but Walmart.com was a pleasant surprise. I found toilet paper, paper towels, and trash bags from popular brands like Seventh Generation and NatureHouse.
Walmart.com had slightly higher prices than my other favorite site, Buy.com (see below), but they were still reasonable. For example, Walmart.com has a 12-pack of Seventh Generation Recycled Bathroom Tissue for $10.28. Buy.com has the same 12-pack for $9.99. For most grocery and household items, you can get free shipping if you spend more than $45. You can pick them up in a store free.
Buy.com has a good selection of harder-to-find brands (like PrideGreen) as well as popular brands (like Seventh Generation). Plus, the site has the paper products divided into one section, which made shopping a lot easier.
Pricewise, Buy.com won out over the other sites. Most of their prices were well below what I’ve seen at retail stores, and you can get free shipping on most items.
Buying eco-friendly products isn’t the only way to go green – or to save money while you do it. Check out Going Green While Saving Green: Some of Our Best Tips for ideas on interior design, lawn care, utility usage, and more.