SHOPPERS have the power to make a difference to the environment and the welfare of others.
Biome online store manager Shionagh Goold said small changes to consumers' shopping habits could greatly benefit the environment.
She said eco-shopping was all about being responsible and aware of the ethical, environmental and health issues associated with manufacturing different products.
Ms Goold urged shoppers to “think about everything you use” and question how it would affect their health and the environment.
“By buying eco-friendly you are making a choice,” Ms Goold said.
She said you were choosing not to contribute to global environmental problems, including pollution and landfill issues, habitat destruction and carbon emissions.
To give an example of how one simple choice could make a “huge difference”, Ms Goold said consumers could choose not to buy products that contained palm oil, or sodium laureth sulphate.
The production of palm oil was a major threat to the population of orangutans as their habitat was destroyed to produce this widely used ingredient, Ms Goold said.
She said palm oil, often labelled as sodium laureth sulphate, could be found in everyday products, including detergents and soaps.
She said there was a world of products that offered a safer, healthier, eco-friendly alternative, ranging from homewares to food and cleaning products.
Buying Fair Trade products is another simple way people can make a difference.
Fair Trade labelled items ensure workers in developing nations are being paid a fair wage.
Natalie Dillon, owner of Australian ethical and organic clothing company 3Fish, said if consumers wanted to make a difference the “options were there”.
“Wherever there's a Fair Trade option it really is a no-brainer,” Ms Dillon said.
She said whether buying apples, coffee or chocolate, Aussies had the opportunity to make more ethical decisions in their everyday purchases.
“On this side of the world we can effect so much change,” Ms Dillon said.
Ms Dillon and her husband Marty established 3Fish with the aim to help the world “do the right thing” by providing a range of clothing produced to sustainability standards, including fair trade, certified organic and carbon neutral.
This month the company was awarded at the United Nations Association of Australia's World Environment Day Awards.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights takes pride of place on the wall of our office,” Ms Dillon said.
“So to receive this award from the United Nations is an incredible honour.”
For more information on eco-friendly products, visit www. biome.com.au or www.3fish. com.au.
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