Goods often make up 15-20% of the household ecological footprint. There are environmental issues associated with the production, use and disposal of goods that relate to resource use, hazardous/toxic ingredients, production waste and post-consumer waste.

Sustainable goods

Consumer goods including clothes; furniture; cleaning, personal care and garden products.

(Please note that food, appliances, lights, heaters and vehicles are dealt with in other sections.)

Buy less stuff

The first question is: do you really need it? Think about what you need for a sufficient life. Could you make do without it altogether? If you can’t, do you need to own it? Could you borrow it, rent it or make it instead?

Buy second-hand

If you really have to own something, can you get it second-hand? Most things are available second-hand, in good condition. You will save money and you will avoid the need to make something new. Also support charity shops by donating whatever good you don’t want.

Buy local

When you buy locally made goods, you support people in your own community, and it creates self-sufficiency and resilience in your local area. Buying local also reduces freight, and therefore, greenhouse gases and climate change.

Buy natural and eco-friendly

Environmentally sustainable goods maximise several design factors: natural and renewable materials, material efficiency, low embodied energy, non-toxic, recyclable, biodegradable, and durable. Read more»

Buy quality

Quality includes durability, functionality, reliability and soundness. The longer a product lasts the better. Avoid disposable and bad quality products. It is better for you and for the planet if you buy less, higher quality products that do a better job and last longer.

Packaging and labelling

Buy goods with as little packaging as possible. If there is a choice avoid plastic packaging. Always check labels to see what goods are made of, how they were made and where they were made – or ask the salesperson.