Beyond Made in USA: Making Ethical Shopping Choices

When I say that being a conscious consumer starts at home, I mean that buying locally made products is just one part of making ethical shopping choices.  To be an ethical shopper, we must be mindful of the impact our purchase makes on people, the economy and the environment. Voting with out dollar is such a powerful action because shopping is the fundamental role consumers play in our economic system. The price tag on a product leaves much out of the equation. Learning the hidden costs associated with a product are vital to making informed decisions as a consumer.

Here are some of the things I look for when making ethical shopping choices.

made in usa challenge tagMade in USA

 I choose to buy and use products made locally in America for many important reasons. These include supporting our economy and manufacturing sector, protecting our environment, supporting human rights and protecting my family from toxins frequently found in cheap imported goods.

Fair Trade Certification LabelFair trade

When something I need is not available made in USA, I rely on the fair trade certification for the security it offers in protecting human rights, labor laws and respecting the environment. Fair trade is also a great way to access the market of handcrafted goods made globally that can help empower workers living in impoverished areas.


Upcycling symbolRecycled/Upcycled

Recycling is beneficial because it reduces waste and brings new life to products otherwise sent to the landfill. Upcycling uses less energy than creating a new product and results in a truly one-of-a-kind product.



I love purchasing handmade goods that support local artists and communities. Buying handmade supports the person actually making the product you purchase, instead of a corporation and middlemen.


safe cosmetics act 2011


I look for products that are free of toxins, contain no artificial ingredients and ideally are certified organic. I use resources like Skin Deep to look up ratings for bath and body products.

Cruelty free

Cruelty-free certifications like those from the Leaping Bunny program ensure that no animals were harmed in the making of a product. I look for products that are not tested on animals and contain no animal products like fur or leather that are often obtained in unethical and inhumane ways.

Conscious consuming is being aware of the impact the choices you make as a consumer have on people, the environment, animals and the economy. While I focus on finding locally made in USA products here on made in USA challenge, there are many factors I consider when making a purchase. I challenge you to join me on my journey to becoming a more conscious consumer by looking more closely at the products you choose to purchase and the impact they have. How do you make ethical shopping decisions?


  1. says

    Great post. Love that you included upcycled/recycled, handmade, safe, and cruelty free. Those are always things I have in the back of my mind but I almost always forget to mention them when I talk about ethical choices.

  2. says

    Great post! I look for these things as well when I shop! Fair Trade is a big one in my house! Everybody deserves decent wages for their work. These are all helpful reminders when we are out shopping!

  3. says

    Love this post! I try to do these things as much as possible. Buying handmade items made in the US makes me especially happy, knowing that I’m supporting other families like mine.

  4. says

    Great guide of what you do and why you do it. We love supporting local artisans too since the money then stays in the community.

  5. Sarah says

    I look for union made, its the best way to know the workers have fair and safe conditions. Look for the union label!


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