Becoming more eco-friendly in your lifestyle and purchasing choices can be a journey, which is why we always love it when we encounter tools that can make it easier. Since we’re focusing on how to have a more eco-friendly medicine cabinet this month, we thought we’d share two ways that we uncovered that make it easy to make more responsible choices about the products that you put into your medicine cabinet (and possibly into your body as a result!).
Ready to Research? EWG’s Skin Deep is for You
We advocate researching products before you buy them for a number of reasons. The first (and most relevant reason for this article) is that research means you can make wiser decisions about the contents and social ethics of the brands you support. Of course, researching products before you buy them can also help you to cost compare and make wiser budgeting decisions. However, to our mind, the most important value of researching products prior to purchasing them is that it helps you to avoid an impulse, unwise, or outside-of-your-budget purchase. With the time and space of research, many purchases that seemed like a good idea in a moment of emotion or perceived need turn out to be things you never needed or wanted to begin with.
When it comes to health and beauty products, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created an amazing database to help you to do your research. The EWG Skin Deep Database is public and free. More importantly, it has a complete ingredients index for over 67,000 health, beauty and cosmetics products. Each product is given a double score. The first score is a simple red, yellow or green score. Green means that the product is relatively safe and/or eco-friendly and as the product progresses through yellow to red, it becomes less so. The second score is a numerical score on the number of scientific studies that have been done to support the research.
The database is easy to use. You can either search by product or brand name to check something you were specifically interested in buying – or you can browse by category to compare different products in just about every area you may want to make a purchase.
We think that an evening evaluating what’s in your medicine cabinet followed by making a list of more eco-friendly choices to replace them with when needed is a great way to spend some down time. Add a glass of wine and it’s an event! Click here to get started with the Skin Deep database.
On the Move? Use the GoodGuide App
GoodGuide.com is a great resource for researching products in general, but their smartphone app is one of the best we’ve seen for when you’re on the go. There are over 120,000 food, personal care and household products listed in the database. While you’re shopping or in the store, you can simply pull the mobile application up and scan the barcode on the item. Once you do, the app displays everything that you need to know to make an informed choice.
Not to worry! If you don’t love scanning barcodes, you can also browse or search for items.
Once you find the item you’re looking for, the app tells you everything that you want to know. Each product gets an overall rating and then individual scores for “Health,” “Planet” and “Society.” If a product scores too low, you also get alternate suggestions for similar products that are better for you, the planet and the people on it.
Of course, you’ll need a smartphone, but those can be used for good. Click here to learn more about downloading and using the GoodGuide app.
Photo Credit: littleboats via Flickr
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