Making Ethical Shopping Choices, Naturally10
Welcome to the October 2012 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Ethical Shopping Choices
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they make purchasing choices.
October is Fair Trade Month! Today we’ll be talking about ethical shopping, then keep a look out next week for a wonderful giveaway from a great Fair Trade company!
If it were up to me, every single product that comes into our home would be local, organic, sustainable, and ethically sourced. But since the world isn’t perfect (yet!), I have to pick my battles when it comes to making shopping decisions for our family. Add to that the B-word (budget), and I’d say I’ve really got my work cut out for me!
Do I let it get me down? No, of course not. I do what I can with what I have and try to stick to a certain code of sorts to make sure our home is as natural, sustainable and non-toxic as possible. Today, I’m sharing my top 5 tips for making ethical shopping choices for your family.
- Make It At Home: If you’re a regular reader, you may have already guessed that this would be very high on my list. I’m a lover of all things “simple, natural, and homemade” and that applies to pretty much every category of products in our home. If I can make it at home, and it’s simple and natural, you bet I’m at least going to try! That includes everything from personal care products and household cleaners, to family favorite breakfasts and kitchen staples. If it’s homemade, I know where it came from, what’s in it, and how it was made. Win-Win-WIN!
- Local vs. Organic: Yes, we all would love for all of our food to be organically grown, without the use of pesticides; however, it’s not as simple as just looking for that trusted organic label because that label only means so much. For example, many local farmers do indeed grow their crops and meat organically and ethically, but they just can’t afford to pay the certification fees to obtain that label. That’s why I not only grow a small vegetable garden every year, but I also try to hit up the local farmer’s markets and “get to know my farmer.” Whatever I do end up having to purchase at a regular supermarket, I try to stick to the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists.
- Buy It Second-Hand: Most household items, including furniture, kitchenwares, clothing (especially children’s!), and many other home furnishings, can be sourced from second-hand stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, or websites like Craigslist. Our society has been trained to purchase products, use them once, toss them, then turn around and buy new ones all over again. This is such a waste of money, time, and resources; so instead, we try to hit up thrift stores and yard sales about once a month. You’d be surprised at what others will throw away because of a minor defect! Most of the time, I come away with an awesome haul that cost me no more then a quarter of what I would’ve paid for in the store.
- Boycott Walmart!: No, I don’t spend my days standing in front of Walmart with a picket sign. But I do try to avoid shopping at Walmart as much as I can, which is much easier said than done. It’s not difficult to avoid Walmart when we’re up in Canada, but when we visit family down in Florida (like right now!), it’s much harder since these stores are literally everywhere. Right now, off the top of my head, I can list 4 different Walmart stores around my mom’s house. Walmart is against everything we stand for and we try to avoid shopping there as much as possible. Click on the image below to open up an infographic from EthicalOcean.com about just how anti-green Walmart is:
- Ethical and Fair-Trade: Trying to source every purchase from a fair-trade supplier is next to impossible, so don’t even waste your time. However, there are a few items that we try to buy fair-trade as much as possible, like chocolates, tea, and coffee. Farmers who grow and produce these products “are often forced to sell their harvest to middlemen who rig scales or misrepresent prices, and media reports of child slavery show the stark contrast between the delicious treat and the difficult conditions of the people who produce it.” [source] Buying Fair Trade prohibits these practices and ensures farmers (and their land) are treated fairly.
Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival!
Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:
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