Definition: Costs associated with a product or service that are not included in the consumers’ price, but rather to other parties, or society. Sometimes “external” costs are significantly more than the product itself, oftentimes unknowably massive.

What’s the REAL cost of the products you buy?? Cheap can be VERY expensive. 

Sustainable products often bake-in the true costs of pollution, labor, energy, environment, and health consequences, making them appear expensive. 

Asbestos products and lead in paint and pipes, once touted as miraculous, all have significant externalities. We are just learning about the devastation caused by PFAS/PFOAS from plastics, aka forever chemicals. 

Examples of others: 

Solutions include taxes, penalties, and/or fines where funds collected cover some remediation costs:

Addressing externalities is one of the reasons we love Planetarian Life!


Laura & Gil

Our friends Laura & Gil Richardson are, in their own words, “imperfect” but they are much further down this Planetarian path than anyone I know. They are a treasure trove of sustainable living inspiration and we’ve asked them to share one simple swap per week that they’ve made (and the products they love) in hopes it might inspire you to make them, too.

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