Posted by: leahbiery | July 16, 2010

Be a Smart Shopper

I usually live in small places and move often, so I try not to accumulate more possessions than I can fit in my car. But I will admit, I do love to shop. When I shop, I try to be a responsible consumer by buying things that are good for me, good for the planet, and good for the people who make them. It’s always a challenge to figure out which products meet those standards. I’ve spent hours on the internet reading about various companies and trying to identify the best granola bars, the best household cleaners, and the best shampoo, but the available information is often confusing and contradictory.

That’s why I was so excited to learn about GoodGuide, a new website that takes the inconvenience out of product research. Dara O’Rourke, a professor at Berkeley, founded GoodGuide in 2007 after she realized consumers’ need for accurate and unbiased information about the products we purchase. People should know if a product contains carcinogens, or if it is manufactured by children.

GoodGuide rates products on a scale of 1-10 based on health, environmental friendliness, and impact on society.  You can click on individual products to get a detailed explanation of their ratings. You can also search for categories or individual items. It only took me 10 seconds to find out that Luna and Clif Bar make the best energy bars. Right now, the website only covers food, household chemicals, personal care items, and toys, but they have plans to expand in the future.

Spend a few minutes exploring the GoodGuide website, or download their iPhone app – you can scan items in the store to find ratings while you shop. You’ll be a smarter shopper in no time. It’s good for you, the planet, and most importantly, the ocean.

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