Subscribe -- FREE!
Shel Horowitz's monthly Clean and Green Newsletter
Receive these exciting bonuses: Seven Tips to Gain Marketing Traction as a Green Guerrilla plus Seven Weeks to a Greener Business
( Privacy Policy )

Ethical Buying

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for February, 2005

As consumers, we have enormous power to change the course of business--by using our dollars in ways that sustain the earth and our own communities. I've known this for a long time. I joined my first food co-op back in the 1970s. And I've always supported organic goods, purchased items with reduced packaging, and tried to support independently owned and operated local stores--when they were price competitive. When I dine out, it's almost always at an independent restaurant; I don't shop at Wal-Mart because I'm not comfortable with the way they treat their suppliers and their competitors.

But recently, I've decided I can do a whole lot more. Whenever practical, I'm using these guidelines to inform my purchases:
* Buy locally-produced items, from independently owned local merchants (or direct from the producer)
* Support organic, fair-trade growers and processors who pay their workers a decent wage and provide decent working conditions (this makes a huge difference in the lives of whole communities that revolve around coffee, cocoa, or cotton production, for instance)
* Refuse to knowingly purchase items produced in sweatshops or from stores that engage in predatory practices

A year ago, I started buying only recycled office paper for our computer printer. For a while, I was able to find a 100% recycled paper for $48 per box-but then the price went up to around $75 and I switched to a 30% recycled paper that I buy from The standard price is $3.99 a ream for 30 reams and up (the maximum I'm willing to store)--but I think I bought my last batch at $3.59. That's still quite a bit more than the $1.80 to $2.20 or so I can find for unrecycled--but I'm willing to help create the market, which will ultimately bring the price down. And that will help preserve our forests. So, if I go through a case of ten reams every month, that means I'm spending about $170 per year extra to do something good for the earth. In my own mind, that portion is allocated from my charity budget, rather than office supplies.

Return to the Frugal Fun Tips Archives
Preview Shel Horowitz's Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook a 280-page e-book that shows you how to save a big pile of money on travel, dining, entertainment, recreation, and all sorts of other fun.
This article originally appeared in Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tips. Please click here for your free subscription.

Share this article/site with a Friend

Bookmark Us

Many of the 1,000+ articles on Frugal Fun and Frugal Marketing have been gathered into magazines. If you'd like to read more great content on these topics, please click on the name of the magazine you'd like to visit.

Ethics Articles - Down to Business Magazine - Frugal & Fashionable Living Magazine
Global Travel Review - Global Arts Review - Peace & Politics Magazine
Frugal Marketing Tips - Frugal Fun Tips - Positive Power of Principled Profit

Clean and Green Marketing

Our Privacy Policy

Disclosures of Material Connections:
  • Some of the links on our site and items in our newsletters are sponsored ads or affiliate links. This financial support allows us to bring you the consistent high quality of information and constant flow of new content. Please thank our advertisers if you do business with them.
  • As is the case for most professional reviewers, many of the books I review on this site have been provided by the publisher or author, at no cost to me. I've also reviewed books that I bought, because they were worthy of your time. And I've also received dozens of review copies at no charge that do not get reviewed, either because they are not worthy or because they don't meet the subject criteria for this column, or simply because I haven't gotten around to them yet, since I only review one book per month. I have far more books in my office than I will ever read, and the receipt of a free book does not affect my review.

Site copyright © 1996-2011 by Shel Horowitz