One of my ongoing frustrations in trying to be a better consumer is that it’s pretty much impossible to judge what the best choice is without spending hours of research on every little purchase. I’ve blogged about this before. Try this: pick up something around you right now. Anything. What is it made out of? Where did the component parts come from? What inputs went into manufacturing it? Does it contain any chemicals? How were the people who made the item treated? What is required to maintain the item, and what are the impacts of that maintenance? The questions are endless and unanswerable, and apply to nearly everything. So we do the best we can with the information we have and hope for the best. Or we quit trying and just buy whatever we want.

Enter Good Guide! Imagine my delight when I read on their web site,

“GoodGuide strives to provide the world’s largest and most reliable source of
information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of products and
companies. GoodGuide’s mission is to help you find safe, healthy, and green
products that are better for you and the planet. From our origins as a UC
Berkeley research project, GoodGuide has developed into a totally independent
“For-Benefit” company. We are committed to providing the information you need to
make better decisions, and to ultimately shifting the balance of information and
power in the marketplace.”

It’s a new organization. Apparently they’re aggregating all of this data and summing it up into product ratings. They seem to be working hard to ensure their data sources and evaluating teams are credible, and they’re considering not just health, or environmental, or social impacts, but all of them. Exactly what I need! My own extensive research is not practical, but looking stuff up on a web site is. This one has a long way to go; there are lots of products in the world in need of ratings. But it’s a start, and I’m sure glad to see it.

-Nancy Michaelis