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6 Websites That Can Help You Become An Educated, Ethical, & Safe Shopper

In the 21st century and beyond, sustainable living is more than just a buzzword. It is becoming a way of life. But sustainable living and consumerism hardly go hand in hand.

With blind sided consumerism comes the danger that each product we take in as consumers comes through a processing system that arguably causes more harm than good. From sweat shop manufactured clothes to pesticide laced food, we find it difficult to go green, ethical and safe with our shopping.

But there are a few websites out there that can help us battle it out. They educate us and make us aware of what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s green. Some alert us of banned chemicals and product recalls. If awareness is the first step, let’s take a deeper look with these six sites that can in the very least make us educated shoppers.

Good Guide

Let’s start with a web service that covers the range of our entire shopping experience from food to cars. The site is almost like a search engine and catalog rolled into one that helps us to sift through 100,000 food, toys, personal care, & household products to easily learn about the best and worst products in a category. The information is definitive on the health, environmental, and social impacts of our shopping and each product is rated on these three scores. Good Guide also has an iPhone app available for download. (See Directory mention)

U.S Department of Health & Human Services

The Household Products Database is an index of 10,000 consumer brands and their health effects. Along with manufacturer details you can check into its ingredients and chemical effects. The data is collected from public records and Material Safety Data Sheets available with the manufacturers. On the site, you can also search for product recall information.

Eat Well Guide

From diverse products we narrow down to food in an effort to locate freshly produced organic food. The site is U.S and Canada specific and includes family farms, restaurants, farmers’ markets, grocery stores that can help you source healthy food closest to your own location. You can download free local guides; plan a trip; read a blog on food, water, and energy; and also save you notes on the site. While on the site check out The Sustainable Table which educates consumers on food-related issues. Then for infotainment, there’s the funny viral film – The Meatrix.

Cosmetics Database

Skin Deep’s Cosmetic Database is geared towards safety in the use of chemically rich cosmetics and personal care products. The site provides safety ratings after comparing results from nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. According to the site’s stats it covers 70,226 products across 2,891 brands. It also says that it is the world’s largest personal care product safety guide. Do read up on the articles that go deep into the facets of cosmetic safety. The site is part of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics awareness effort.  (See Directory mention)

Sustain Lane

The community based website can give you information on nearly 30,000 green products and green businesses. Like any community website, a lot of the information comes from members. You get direct news of any local events taking place as well as valuable ‘insider tips’ on local green businesses and their products. Also, the SustainLane US City Rankings is a peer-reviewed, leading national survey that ranks the major US cities in terms of their sustainability practices. But ultimately, you might enjoy reading the articles on green and healthy living posted on the site.

Consumer Product Safety Commision

On this governmental website you can search by product type and learn about necessary safety regulations and standards of use. The site serves as a guide for public information. You can sign-up and receive product recall alerts. Consumers can also file an online complaint about an unsafe product.

These websites are mostly U.S specific. Perhaps it is a reflection of the world’s largest consumerist society. But so are other parts of the world. What these show is that the web could be the first stop for consumer empowerment. We have often shows you great ways to shop online and catch cool deals; then why not also take a bit of time and learn something about responsible shopping.

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