Choosing Earth-Friendly Products Made Easier

     I often find shopping overwhelming.  With so many products to choose from, how can I tell which ones are relatively earth-friendly and which are not? 

     I am happy to share a website I just discovered that makes it much easier to choose the more benign products over the more harmful ones. rates tens of thousands of products–foods, toys, and household and personal care products.  Each product receives an overall score of 0-10, with zero the worst and 10 the best.  A product’s score is an average of three measures–environmental, health, and social impact.  And those three component ratings are shown, as well as each product’s overall score.

      Having been wondering about the environmental impact of the shampoo I’ve been using for years, I went to the GoodGuide site and saw which shampoos had received the hightest ratings.  The top-rated shampoos, both environmentally and overall, scored between 8 and 9.  My shampoo, Suave, was not in that group.  Looking up my shampoo, I found it had received a middling 5 to 6 overall rating, but a higher environmental rating.  I could also readily learn which shampoos received the worst ratings.    A similar ‘study’ could be conducted for conditioners, soap, make-up, deodorant, and many, many other personal care and other products. 

    Browsing around the GoodGuide site, I saw that certain entire brands were evaluated.  The scores of all of a brand’s products were averaged to determine an overall score for particular companies.  I looked up Neutrogena, a brand I associate with high quality.  But its overall product score was an unimpressive 5.7.  Neutrogena’s overall score would have been even lower, had it not been for its relatively high 7.9 environmental rating.

     The vast number and variety of products rated makes GoodGuide a valuable resource.  For instance, more than 1,000 canned food products are rated.   More than 200 diapers, 1,000 household cleaners, more than 700 baby and toddler toys are rated.  For many categories, advice is included on what to look for when buying. 

     The site also offers an iPhone app that can be downloaded for use when in a store. 

     GoodGuide was founded in 2007.  Its mission is to provide authoritative information on the environmental, health, and social impacts of products and companies.   A GoodGuide team of scientists and technology experts works to acquire and organize high quality data, which it transforms into useable information for consumers.  Not operating as a commercial organization, GoodGuide is incorporated as a ‘for benefit’ organization.  GoodGuide is funded by several venture capital funds.  And GoodGuide information products are available by subscription to companies that want to understand how their products compare with competitors’.  “Neither our investors nor our paying corporate customers have any ability to influence GoodGuide ratings of a specific product or company,” GoodGuide states on its site.–April Moore 






5 Responses to “Choosing Earth-Friendly Products Made Easier”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Great resource…thanks, April!

  2. Bruce Says:

    Will contact my daughter with 3 and one-third kids about the ratings resource
    Thanks for reviewing it.

  3. GoodGuide Says:

    Thanks so much for the shoutout! It sounds like you got a chance to really explore the site. We’re constantly updating both the quality and quantity of our ratings, so keep checking back for new features.

  4. Judy Muller Says:

    This does indeed look like a valuable resource. Many people look for personal care and cleaning products that are not tested on animals. I am wondering whether this guide addresses this concern.

  5. Livvie Mellan Shapiro Says:

    Hi April,

    I have been using this site on and off.. very good to know about it, and to be reminded! Thanks for all that you do! Livvie

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