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Ethical Consumerism

When we buy things, how can we do so in ways that do the most good and least harm? Use resources and articles/essays like these to help you think about what you buy and to find products and companies working to be a bit more ethical.

Ethical Consumerism

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Greener Grads (website/company) "We collect graduation gowns from recent and past graduates, saving them from entering the waste stream, and rent all graduation types for their big day."

Because Tomorrow Matters

"28 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Kick Your Plastic Addiction" (blog post) (via Distractify) (27 July 2014) Offers several tips for reducing our personal plastic use.

28 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Kick Your Plastic Addiction

"Tackling the Electronic Waste Problem" (infographic) (via CustomMade) (December 2014) Offers "facts and figures about e-waste and how to properly dispose of your electronics."

E-Waste on the Rise

"Ask Umbra" (column) (via Grist) Umbra answers green living questions about all sorts of topics and considers which choices may do more good and less harm.

Ask Umbra® | Grist

"The Child in the Basement" (essay) (via NYTimes) (12 January 2015) Columnist David Brooks uses the Ursula LeGuin short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" as a springboard for discussing how our striving for happiness often causes the suffering of others.

The Child in the Basement -

"Alternatives to Amazon - Environmentally and Socially Responsible Holiday Retailers" (article) (via Green America) (18 November 2014) Amazon isn't ranking so well in environmental sustainability and social responsibility, so here are some alternative sources for buying online.

"Ethical Food Choices" (webpage) (via Food Empowerment Project) Highlights some of the corporations and practices that are doing more harm and less good. "One of the easiest things we can do is to identify particularly “bad actors” in the corporate world, so we know what products and companies to absolutely avoid."

Ethical Food Choices | Food Empowerment Project

"6 Apps for a Better World" (blog post) (via IHE) (25 September 2014) Here are 6 apps that can help you in your goals as a conscientious citizen and engaged changemaker.

6 Apps for a Better World

GoodWeave (organization) GoodWeave "aims to stop child labor in the carpet industry" and offers the GoodWeave label to help citizens identify rugs that have been made without child labor.

Purchase a GoodWeave Rug

"Stand with Sanju" (video) (via GoodWeave) (3:43 min) A new campaign #StandWithSanju to bring awareness to child labor in making carpets and the work GoodWeave does to help child laborers and to help end child labor in carpetmaking factories.

"Triangle Returns" (video) (via Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights) (2011) (9:18 min) Connects what happened in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in NYC in 1911 with what's happening at sweatshops in developing countries (such as Bangladesh) in the 21st century and calls for holding companies accountable.

"5 Truths the Fast Fashion Industry Doesn't Want You to Know" (blog post) (via Huffington Post) (19 August 2014) Offers five truths about why "fashion is one of the dirtiest industries in the world."

5 Truths the Fast Fashion Industry Doesn't Want You to Know

"10 pairs of ethical, eco-friendly underwear for men and women" (slideshow) (via Treehugger) (11 August 2014) Highlights several companies working to make fair-trade, fair work, and/or eco-friendly undies.

10 pairs of ethical, eco-friendly underwear for men and women

"10 Tips for a Waste-Free Back-To-School Season!" (blog post) (via Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN)) (28 July 2014) Simple steps college students can take to reduce their waste at the beginning of the school year.

"Peeling Back the Truth on Bananas" (website) (via Food Empowerment Project) Outlines the impact of banana production on people, animals, and the environment, highlighting issues such as unfair wages, threats of violence, damage to the environment, and more. Also makes recommendations for what to do.

Peeling Back the Truth on Bananas | Food Empowerment Project

"10 Ways to Use Banana Peels" (infographic) (via EcoWatch) (15 July 2014) Tips for reusing banana peels so that they don't end up in the landfill.

10 Ways to Use Banana Peels

Getting to the Source of Slave Free Chocolate (blog post) Includes resources for finding fair trade and slave-free chocolate.

Getting to the Source of Slave-free Chocolate

Using a Little Sweat of Our Own to Find Out About Corporate Practices & Sweatshops (blog post) Includes resources for finding out more about a company's human rights practices and for finding sweatshop-free products.

Bella's Chocolate Surprise by Adam Guillain (children's book) When Bella wonders where the chocolate from her birthday cake comes from, she’s lead on a journey to learn about fair trade chocolate in Ghana.

Bella's Chocolate Surprise

Environmental Working Group Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce (report/website) Each year EWG offers a list of the "dirty dozen" and "clean fifteen" -- fruits and veggies that have the highest and lowest levels of pesticide residues.

EWG's 2014 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Shop Ethical (website) (Australia) No ethical shopping guide is ideal for making choices that do the most good & least harm, but this one offers guidance about companies & products that do less harm for people, animals & the earth.

Shop Ethical! | Your ethical consumer guide

EPEAT (website) "EPEAT is a comprehensive global environmental rating system that helps purchasers identify greener computers and other electronics." Search by manufacturer, country & more.

Fashioning Change (website/company) The site (free registration required) offers "stylish eco-friendly and ethical alternatives to name brands." Answer a few questions about preferences and causes you support and get suggestions for clothes & accessories.

"Apple Steps Up the Pressure on 'Conflict Minerals'" (article) (via NPR) (13 February 2014) Apple has announced that it is using suppliers that a verified to be using conflict-free minerals and has taken the additional step of publicizing the names of its mineral suppliers.

Apple Steps Up The Pressure On 'Conflict Minerals'

Good Stuff? A Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things we Buy (pdf booklet) From the Worldwatch Institute this guide offers information, tips and resources for striving to do more good and less harm with the products we choose.