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: 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: 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.
- Recycled/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.
- Handmade: 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: 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?