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judochop's avatar

Organic and recycled, why does it cost us more?

Asked by judochop (15991 points ) November 10th, 2009

I am doing my best to eat well and be kind to the earth however I noticed a huge difference in my grocery bill while doing so.

Does it cost more to put no chemicals on food or is it simply a supply and demand thing?

Does it cost more to recycle and not use bleach then to use bleach and create new paper towels?

Am I over complicating this? I am guessing it is a supply and demand thing however it makes no sense to me that Organic Radishes cost $2.00 more than regular Radishes. Same with paper towels. I purchase the new ones that are bleached for .79 or purchase the recycled ones for $2.49 a roll that don’t even have as many towels and don’t absorb as well?

Seems backwards.

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14 Answers

Dr_C's avatar

Organic food costs more because it is more difficult to keep crops pest free without using harmful pesticides.. it is more expensive to produce recycled products because you hve the added cost of processing the material and shifting it into a usable primer material then begin the process of actually manufacturing a product.. as opposed to having ready made prime materials and starting from there.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The reason we have pesticides, growth hormones, and other artificial additives is to be able to make more food for less.
When you take that away, the cost goes up to what it should have been all along.

b's avatar

Also, organic agriculture is not as heavily subsidized as the “modern” agriculture.

Drawkward's avatar

Because organics cost more to make, they aren’t as efficient as the other organisms, they use more Co2 and energy.

acidlogik's avatar

The cost would be far higher if we continue to destroy the earth with chemicals and pollution.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Supply and demand.

MrItty's avatar

@judochop Go into your back yard, and plant two tomatoe plants. On one, give them all the chemicals and miracle-grow and all the stuff you can to ensure that it will give you lots and lots big ripe red tomatoes. On the other, give it nothing but dirt and water. Get out there every day, probably several times a day, to get rid of insects and other bugs, to chop off infected leaves before they spread, to do everything you can manually to help it along.

Which plant cost you the more effort? Which one produced the most, best-looking tomatoes?

That’s why organics cost more. More work, less results.

drClaw's avatar

one part marketing (@SpatzieLover suply & demand) two parts cost of converting organic farming.

galileogirl's avatar

And don’t forget that factory-farmed produce is picked unripe the better to survive the trip to market. They are gassed to make them look ripe. You can’t gas organics so they need to be harvested ripe and there is a greater loss due to transport and spoilage.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables, even organic, are really a small part of our food bill. The real expense comes from the processing and portion size. There was another question about brand names from our childhood. I shopped and cooked for my family starting in 1959 and I was thinking of what I prepared I realized very little was branded. Produce was seldom packaged except maybe berries and those we only had 3–4 weeks/yr. Today you can buy strawberries and blueberris all summer and sometimes even in winter. I never saw tomatoes wrapped 4 to a package or corn shucked, trimmed and packaged in February. All of this adds to the cost.

With a family of eight, we had a meal from 1 chicken, everybody had a piece. Today it seems that the 2 piece meal is the standard. Just checking prices, a large green salad, enough for a family of 4 can cost $4.30 but use the packaged and gourmet produce and it rises to over $10 and for individual packaged and small salads you can pay $16.

Mamradpivo's avatar

On top of all of these reasons, organic and recycled products tend to be produced more locally. For instance, a lot of organic produce comes from the US, which means higher labor costs than flying it in from Peru.

evegrimm's avatar

If you can afford to shell out for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share in your area, you will benefit greatly. Seasonal, heirloom-variety produce at a reasonable price. The produce is also very fresh, and it helps support local farmers.

(Mine is ~$200 for 12 weeks of produce, which works out to ~$17 a week for fresh fruits and veggies.)

pizzaman's avatar

No clue. I should cost less if they actually want people to recycle.

soulashell's avatar

Mainly is because of subsidies, happens with meats also.

likipie's avatar

Because the big companies that sell us our recycled and organic products are in it for the money. In the end, they don’t really care about saving the environment, they care about how big their house is or what care they drive. It’s better to buy organic products at local markets, that way you know (for the most part) where you’re money is going and you’re supporting your local growers and the products are generally better. It’s harder to search and find the things you’re looking for but once you do, it’s easy to stick with that person and get what you want.

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