News 18 Investigates: The cost of going green

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – When it comes to cleaning, we found green cleaning products seem to have the same cleaning power. But will those products make you lose some green?

“As with everything in the natural industry,” Sunspot Natural Market’s Derek Weaver said. “It typically tends to be a little more expensive.”

News 18 took the average cost of five traditional dish soaps, which was $2.85. Take away the harsh chemicals and add in natural ingredients, then you have their green cleaning counterparts. Five natural dish soaps averaged about $3.14. That’s about a 30 cent difference.

Weaver said the cost difference comes down to how they are made. He said many green cleaning products are made from sustainable resources or by fair trade companies that give back to environmental projects.

“People aren’t just buying a safer product. They’re giving back to the communities where these products are made and giving back to the families that make them,” Weaver said.

If you want to save a few bucks at the checkout line, you can go with an old school cleaner — like ammonia or a traditional drain opener. However, Tippecanoe County Solid Waste specialist Rick Parsons said you better know how to properly dispose of the those harsh chemicals.

“Lots of times when you look at things in the store that are cleaners, you’ll see the skull and cross bones or things on there that indicate that you should not put that down the drain, and it shouldn’t end up in a landfill. It needs to come out to us and we will dispose of it,” Parsons said.

When they collect those chemical-laced products you pay for it.

“Five, six or seven thousand dollars a month is pretty typical for what we’re paying to dispose of those HHW [Household Hazardous Waste] items that we collect each month and again taxpayers are paying for that through their property taxes. That’s how we dispose of those kinds of chemicals,” Parsons said.

The cheapest way to go green and save a few dollars is to make your own.

“Many things at home that are not so toxic like vinegar, soda, toothpaste and soaps at home can be used to clean things and their not so poisonous,” Parsons said.

You can even use homemade solutions in your yard.

“Vinegar is a great cleaner and can be used in place of bleach to help clean a tub and it’s not as toxic. Or even use it in your yard as a weed killer,” Weaver said.

If you’re thinking of switching out your old school household cleaners for eco-friendly germ killers, Weaver said just try one product.

“You have to find that happy medium and anywhere you can make a switch. I challenge people to do so because you’ll find that you could feel better, and you’ll probably get the same results in your cleaning,” Weaver said.

Parsons said it all comes back to the choices you make in the cleaning aisle at the store.

“It’s better for everybody, if you’re just a better consumer. And it helps the environment, if you can just be smart with what you buy,” Parsons said.

Weaver said what you buy impacts the future.

“Smart decisions like this can really impact the future that our kids have. The future of everything really,” Weaver said.

For the Tippecanoe County Solid Waste Facility’s list of green cleaning recipes you can try at home, click here.

If you want to get rid of some of the toxic chemicals in your home, News 18 has that information here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, off topic, or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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