Consuming & Discarding

There are lots of ways to become a more sustainable consumer. We can buy green, local or fair trade products. We can buy less, choosing instead to scale down, consume collaboratively with friends and neighbors, make more at home, share, barter, swap or trade. And we can produce less trash by buying less, reusing and upcycling , composting and recycling as many items as possible.  Following are some helpful links.

  • The Environmental Working Group,, offers online search tools for healthy cleaning and personal care products, food and more. The EWG Healthy Living app lets users scan a product, review its rating and find a better choice.
  • is a guide to healthy food (for humans and pets) as well household, personal care and children’s products.
  • The U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce/Climate Counts,, helps businesses and individuals learn how to reduce their impact on climate change and offers certification for those that meet the organization’s criteria.
  • Purveyors of sustainably produced clothing (e.g., organic cotton, rapidly renewable fibers, eco-friendly dyes, fair trade, ethical business practices): Prana, Patagonia, Thought, Synergy, Shift to Nature, Kowtow, PACT, Beaumont Organic, Bibico, Bhumi Organic Cotton, Sorella Organics, Noctu, Nomads, Loomstate Organic, Kuyichi
  • helps consumers locate sustainably made consumer goods.
  • The True Cost, a documentary produced by Michael Ross, explores the impact of the “fast fashion” industry on the environment and workers around the globe.
  • Local shopping: Check municipal visitor sites for lists of local shops, restaurants and other attractions.
  • Local Money: How to Make it Happen in Your Community, Peter North, Transition Books, Foxhole, Dartington Totnes, Devon, England, 2010, explains the role of complementary currencies in supporting a local, post-carbon economy.
  • Loconomics is a peer-to-peer app that directly connects service providers (e.g., dog walkers, copywriters) with customers in local markets.
  • The 3/50 Project, (app) allows consumers to search for independently owned local businesses.
  • Step-by-Step Projects for Self-Sufficiency: Grow Edibles, Raise Animals, Live Off the Grid, DIY, Cool Springs Press, 2017
  • The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community, Janelle Orsi & Emily Doskow, Nolo, Berkeley, CA, 2009 provides an overview of what we can share and how.
  • Information about local recycling can be found on the websites of private or municipal waste management companies and county websites.
  • iRecycle (app) helps users identify their local recycling facilities.
  • PaperKarma,, helps stop junk mail.
  • The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener, Grace Gershuny, Rodale Press, 1992
  • Check your county’s website for local recycling information.
  • Recycling Milk Cartons. Horizon Organic, promotes the recycling of milk cartons (and cartons for juices and other products). Recycled cartons are used to make a variety of paper and building products. You can find out if your town has curbside carton recycling by visiting Horizon’s site and searching their data base. Unfortunately, there are not many towns in the Delaware River Valley currently offering this type of recycling. But if your town doesn’t have it, you can still take two important steps: 1. Write or call your waste management company and ask if they will look into offering it. 2. Save your cartons and when you have at least 30, mail them into a recycling center. Simply follow the instructions on Horizon’s site.
  • Recycling of Donated Vehicles. Many non-profit and charitable organizations accept vehicles. Contact the charity of your choice to inquire about their policies.
  • Terracycle,, a unique recycling company that offers schools and non-profits the opportunity to earn money for collecting recyclables.


Do you know of other great resources? Let me know and I’ll be happy to add them.