There are almost 7 billion of us on the planet, each making decisions on a daily basis that collectively have a huge effect on businesses and society. As a consumer you can make an impact in three ways:
1. What you buy. Companies provide products because they believe there will be, or is a demand for them. As a consumer, choosing to support the product that you believe are good sends a strong message to companies. Where you choose to buy those products from, like retail stores that support the same sustainability values as you do, is also important.
2. What you choose not to buy. Just as important as what you buy is what you choose not to buy. Choosing not to buy brands that have unsustainable practices can send an equally clear message.
3. By giving feedback. If you want to know what the companies you buy from are doing in this area, or want them to provide more information or safer products, contact them and give them feedback.
As a consumer I am constantly trying to make the right choices whenever I go to the store to buy groceries or other products. To help me make the right choices I use what I call the PLEASE think model.
When faced with a choice of products, think about:
P: Packaging – Look at the packaging. Is it over-packaged? Is it under- packaged? Can I reuse the packaging? Is it recyclable?
L: Location – Look at where the product is from. Is it produced locally or far way? Look at the store you are buying it from. Are you buying from a small independent store, a cooperative, a large store? What do you know about the sustainability policies of that store?
E: Essential – Do you really need the item? Can you live without it?
A: Alternative – Are there alternatives that are more sustainable? Can you buy the product in bulk or in refillable containers?
S: Story –What is the story of the product? What company produced it? What information is on the label about that company and what do these labels tell you about the product? What are the ingredients?
E: End of Life – Is the product durable? Is it disposable? Is it easy to recycle? Cam I bring it back to the manufacturer? Can I donate it to charity when I am done or pass it on to someone else to use?