New York City, U.S. consumers are slowly becoming “greener,” though the motivation may be more about saving money and less about concern for the environment, according to a report by Reuters. The report said that consumers are willing to pay a premium for items such as energy-efficient washing machines and might also spend more for toys made with corn-based biodegradable plastic.
Reuters explained that Whirlpool Corp. is using energy efficiency to help promote its Duet washers and dryers. A set costs about $2,000, which may put it out of the price range of many consumers, but by focusing on energy efficiency and the attendant cost savings that go with it, Whirlpool and its retailers have attracted lower-income buyers.
Reuters also said that some executives think customers may be willing to spend more on environmentally friendly products for other reasons. “Customers are willing to pay a little bit more if it’s going to help the environment,” Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, maker of Bratz dolls and other toys, told Reuters. He also noted that Wal-Mart’s push for manufacturers to use corn-based plastic “looks promising.” The report said that while biodegradable plastics are more expensive now, they may become more cost-effective as oil prices rise.