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Ethical Shopping Guide

Each day, UD students have a choice to support sustainable development and fair wages by spending and investing money in ethical companies and local communities. By voting with our dollars on a collective level, consumers can hold businesses to higher sustainability, ethical, and inclusive standards. 

As a Fair Trade University, UD is committed to helping students and other consumers readily access ethical and fair trade products. 

This guide offers insights on shopping sustainably and locally for fashion and apparel, groceries and food, electronics, home and cleaning, and health and beauty.

Our hope is that educated consumers will take action and support businesses that genuinely value people and the planet in addition to profit.

Human Rights

Conscious Consumerism: Shopping ethically in the time of COVID-19

Looking to be a more conscious consumer in our modern shopping industry dominated by online consumption? HRC student interns offer insights, tips and tricks on how to practice ethical shopping by learning more about your favorite brands and shopping small and local.


When a product at the grocery store or food co-op displays a fair trade label, this means there is a guarantee for fair wages, environmental responsibility, social justice, and individual and community empowerment. Our hope is that you strive to examine your options and reveal the meaning behind product labels.

Fair Trade USA
A nonprofit organization that certifies Fair Trade products according to meticulous social, economic and environmental standards. This nonprofit organization facilitates sustainable development and community empowerment by promoting a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, fishermen, consumers, industry, and the earth.
Fair Trade America

A nonprofit organization that abides by the Fairtrade International standards. This nonprofit helps to develop the demand for Fair Trade products in the U.S. and support producer organizations around the world. Fairtrade America raises awareness for developing countries and supports efforts to establish fair trading practices.

Fair Trade Federation

A membership organization, comprised of brands and companies that sell the majority of their products under Fair Trade terms. This community consisting of predominantly U.S. and Canadian businesses work primarily with companies and brands selling artisan products and crafts. 

Fair for Life

An organization that manages certifications for Fair Trade and responsible supply chains. Fair for Life’s certification assures long-term partnerships, fair prices, distribution of added value all along the supply chain, funding projects with collective decision-making, and advocacy and promotion of Fair Trade. 

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program

A partnership between farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that guarantees humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick produce on participating farms. It harnesses the power of consumer demand to provide workers a voice in the decisions that affect their lives and to abolish the longstanding abuses that have afflicted the agriculture industry for generations.


Before you shop:

  1. Focus on the food that you already have hiding in your fridge and cupboards. Search through your pantry and get creative with the ingredients you already have.
  2. Make (and stick to) a list for weekly meals. Remember to not stock up on too much; food waste trapped in landfills is one of the largest contributors to atmospheric greenhouse gas. 
  3. Consider shopping at local corner shops or farmers markets to support neighborhood businesses and farmers.

When you shop:

  1. Focus on buying low-impact foods 
  2. Buy products in bulk quantities to help reduce packaging waste 
    • Check the bulk bin area of a food co-op or grocery store 
    • For example: If you typically eat oats or rice everyday, consider buying a bigger bag that will last you a couple weeks. This way, you’ll only be sending one plastic bag to landfill, rather than multiple small ones. 
  3. Avoid microwavable meals
    • Yes, they're convenient, but they also come with a lot of plastic waste. If you can, make bigger batches of meals, and freeze the leftovers.
  4. Look for organic items at the grocery store
    • Non-organic produce is often loaded with chemicals and pesticides, comes from all over the world, and is often out of season. 
  5. If you can’t afford organic, seasonal produce is always best, and shopping at your local farmers market ensures you’re getting high-quality food grown nearby.
  6. Swap out beef and lamb for chicken, turkey, or fish. 
    • When you do buy beef, opt for grass-fed options.

Links & Apps

  • Fair Trade Food Search Engine- Search through a database to find Fair Trade items commonly found on grocery aisles near you.
  • Fridge to Table- To help reduce food waste, this website lets you type in ingredients that you have, and will generate unique recipes with them.
  • Download EWG’s healthy living app
    • Allows user to scan products, review ratings, and pick better product alternatives
    • Over 120K+ food and personal care items are available within the app
  • Find the closest farmers market near you


Second Street Market

Local Growers/Producers:

  • Carroll Creek Farms- Small family farm that raises 100% grass-fed beef and lamb, all-natural Berkshire hogs and pastured poultry. 
  • Corner Hill Farm- Uses current technologies and growing methods to produce the safest most nutrient-dense food possible, while protecting the land and environment.
  • Dayton Microgreens- Independent company dedicated to providing wholesome, nutritious foods to promote a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Dohner Maple Products- Locally tapped maple syrup, maple sugar and candy
  • FreshStart Farm- Pasture-based dairy farm featuring milk, yogurt, cheese and cheese curds. 
  • Frieszell Liberty Gardens- Specializes in extensive produce and herb varieties grown from heirloom and hybrid GMO-free seed in chemical-free gardens.
  • Garber Farm- Fresh, homegrown produce, baked goods, jams, flowers and plants
  • Gypsy Chicks Farm- Grower of pesticide, herbicide-free fruits, berries and vegetables, free-range and chemical-free brown eggs.
  • Harry’s Old Country Orchard and Produce- Local produce from a 100-year-old orchard
  • Homefull- Working to end homelessness by providing housing, services, advocacy and education. Their micro-farm and hoop house allows Homefull to grow fresh and local produce which is then made available to the public. 
  • Irvin Honey- Known for honey, maple syrup, sorghum, and in-season fruit and vegetables
  • Hydro Growers- Locally grown hydroponic vegetables, including greens, spinach and tomatoes. Also sells eggs and cider seasonally. 
  • Mile Creek Farm- A local source for delicious, organically grown produce and beautiful, fresh flowers. 
  • Mission of Mary- Seasonal produce items from East Dayton Urban Farming Non-Profit. 
  • Pencil Bison Ranch- Carries frozen products including:  bulk ground burgers, a variety of steak cuts, stew meat, roasts, brats, breakfast sausage, hot dogs, bologna, jerky and much more
  • Tea Hills Farms- Gourmet chicken patties using fresh local Amish-raised chickens (always antibiotic-free), fresh locally sourced produce, organic seasonings and quality cheese. 

Speciality Foods/Baker:

  • Bellbrook Chocolate Shoppe- Specialty blend of chocolates, creams, caramels, fudge, buckeyes and Aunt Laura’s shortbread cookies. Also try the hand-dipped pretzels, graham crackers and cookies!
  • Big Sky Bread- All of their breads, cookies, muffins and rolls are baked fresh daily, using only the best ingredients, featuring Montana whole wheat flour. With a few exceptions, their breads contain no preservatives, no processed sugars, added fats, oils or cholesterol.
  • Cabin Fever Confections- Unique cookies and candy using natural, unprocessed, hormone-free and sustainable ingredients.  Also has a variety of vegan and gluten-free offerings
  • Desserts by Ann K- Offers homemade pies (10-inch fruit and cream pies, 6-inch mini-pies), cupcakes, pound cake by the slice, brownies and more! Many items are sold a la carte, but orders can be placed ahead of time.
  • Festival Fresh- Kettle Corn, Caramel Corn, Cheese Corn, Sweet Heat BBQ corn, Cookies and Cream corn, and Fruit Flavored Kettle Corn. Also sells a variety of flavors of Cotton Candy! 
  • Foodie Bob- Gourmet Mustard Sauces 
  • Maria’s Unique Foods- Amish-made food products such as jams, no-sugar-added jams, fruit butters, premium wine jellies, natural syrups, cobbler and pie fillings, a variety of salsas, Amish Country Popcorn, a variety of pickled foods, relishes, mustards and Jump’s Peanuts. 
  • Papi Joe’s Sauces- Best known for Papi Joe’s Tennessee Pepper Sauce, Papi-Q Tart N Tangy BBQ Sauce, and Papi’s Sassy Bloody Mary Mix. 
  • Rosebud’s Real Food- Mouth-watering seasoning mixes and honey-sweetened fruit butters using organic and local non sprayed produce.  Can also purchase bulk herbs, spices, staples such as organic flours, crushed grains, rolled oats, organic nuts, locally crafted cheese, kombucha and kraut, healthy fats such as local roll butter, soy-free pasture-raised lard, coconut and avocado oil, soy-free pasture-raised eggs and many gluten-free options. 
  • Sweet P’s Handcrafted Ice Pops- Sells dairy-based, water-based, banana-based and Paleo-style ice pops based on Mexican paletas. 
  • The Olive Tree- Specialty and flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars

Fashion & Apparel

  1. Opt for clothing made from all-natural fibers (like wool, cotton, linen, silk, hemp, bamboo, lyocell, alpaca, organic wool, recycled polyester), instead of synthetic fibers (like polyester, nylon, spandex, rayon, acrylic, etc).  
  2. One way to find worker-friendly clothing is to look for American-made brands as the USA has much stricter health and safety standards for factories than most developing countries.
  3. Shop at second hand or thrift stores online or in stores
  4. Host a clothing swap party for you and your friends
    • If you don’t have any friends in your size to trade clothes with, search for clothing swap groups in your area on Meetup.
  5. Watch the True Cost of Fast Fashion
  6. Know your size and how to make alterations on clothing
  7. Seek out sustainable-certified producers- Source: Money Crashers
    • USDA Organic- Clothes and other textiles bearing the USDA Organic label are made from fibers grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. 
    • GOTS Organic- The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) requires clothing to be made from at least 95% organic fibers, with no toxic dyes or other chemicals used in processing. Clothing labeled “made with organic” must contain at least 70% organic fibers. GOTS also requires companies to minimize waste and pollution and to meet ILO standards in their factories.
    • Bluesign- Clothes labeled as bluesign APPROVED must meet strict standards for health, the environment, and worker-friendliness. They can’t use any harmful chemicals at any stage of their production, from raw materials to finished clothing.
    • B-Corp- B Lab’s B-Corporation certification signifies companies’ commitment to upholding high human rights and environmental standards.
    • American Made- For American shoppers, clothes that are made in the USA have a head start on sustainability. They’re made by manufacturers who must comply with U.S. laws for workplace safety, pollution, and health. Also, their carbon footprint is lower because they don’t have to be shipped from overseas.
    • Union Made- A step up from American made is union made. This label shows that clothes were made by unionized workers who are able to organize and negotiate with management for better wages and working conditions.

Links & Apps

  • Research brands online
    • Better World Shopper- Uses data from 76 sources to rate companies on their track records for human rights, animal welfare, the environment, social justice, and community involvement. 
    • Good Shopping Guide- This ethical comparison website reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly of the world’s companies and brands, assisting consumers in choosing more eco-friendly, ethical products that support the growth of social responsibility and ethical business as well as a more sustainable, just society.
    • Use the Good On You app and directory to check how a brand impacts on people, the planet, and animals.
    • Download Done Good, a browser extension that suggests ethical alternatives when you use Google, Amazon or major brand websites.

Second Street Market

  • Hedy Riegle Studio- Captures a vintage/naturalistic aesthetic in handmade jewelry, gifts and home accessories.  Onsite hand-stamping and an array of carefully chosen charms from the “charm bar” allows you to personalize necklaces, bracelets, and key rings.
  • Jo Belle Designs- Artisan leather jewelry, gifts and accessories. Offers unique, handcrafted leather bracelets, earrings, handbags, necklaces, and more.
  • Missing Peace Art Space- African jewelry, using creative arts to enhance awareness of the need for peace. African earrings, greeting cards decorated with beads and embroidery, hand-etched boxes and picture frames, art tile with miniature easel, rolled paper necklaces, and miniature prints from Dayton artists.
  • Ninjtaro Jewels- Handmade jewelry made from real stones that are either wire-wrapped, knotted or paired with up-cycled items such as silverware and buttons.
  • ReVamped Jems- Combining sustainability and handmade gifts while being (almost) 100% waste free. Take a love for the environment, a drive to repurpose and recycle (and be thrifty), and an appreciation for just about any art form, and you get ReVamped Jems. 


  1. Buy used or refurbished electronics
    • According to Consumer Reports, only about 5% of returned electronics are actually defective.
  2. How to properly dispose of electronics:
    • Electronic waste (sometimes called
    • e-waste) is a term used to describe electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life and are discarded, donated, or recycled. Although donating and recycling electronic devices conserves natural resources, you may still choose to dispose of e-waste by contacting your local landfill and requesting a designated e-waste drop off location. 
  3. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Electronics Donation and Recycling webpage for additional information on donating and recycling electronics.

Links and Apps

  • Ecosia- search engine alternative that plants trees as you do your research.
  • R2 Recycler Directory 
  • SERI- works to create a world where electronic products are reused and recycled in a way that promotes resource preservation

Home Goods, Kitchen & Cleaning

  1. Ditch disinfectant wipes and instead opt for a rag and alternative cleaning products with healthier ingredients for you and the planet
  2. Choose package-free bar soap to reduce waste
  3. Opt for reusable food wrap or storage bags instead of plastic food storage bags

Links and Apps

Second Street Market

  • The Cooks Pantry- Carries the basic BPA free tools, gadgets and products necessary for every kitchen. 
  • Dayton Urban Green- One-stop sustainable living shop. Offers eco-friendly products for every-day living, including green cleaning products and personal care products plus gifts and Urban Homesteading supplies for food preservation, cheese-making, soap-making and more! 
  • Jon Graham Pottery- Hand-thrown and glazed, functional and decorative stoneware pottery. Includes vases, bowls, goblets, mugs and functional kitchen and dinnerware. 
  • Karma Wood- Woodworker of furniture and accessories. 
  • Kat N Pat Sewing Creations- Carries an assortment of handmade quilts, potholders, baby bibs, bookmarks, kitchen towels, blankets, embroidered t-shirts and sewn purses.
  • Fox in Socks Soapery- Artisan handmade omega-3 enriched milk and honey beauty.  Milk and honey soaps, bath bombs, sugar scrubs, and so much more!
Heritage Candles- Family candle business

Health, Beauty, & Body Care

  1. Read the ingredients list and stay away from hazardous ingredients such as polythene, triclosan and oxybenzone will show you which products and companies you should be avoiding.
  2. Support Package-Free Shops
    • This is easier than you think! In most major cities, package-free stores are popping up. These are places where customers bring their own empty containers and fill them with their desired product.
  3. Opt for a stainless steel safety razors instead of single-use plastic applicators.
  4. Other plastic products that are also easy to replace: toothbrushes, dental floss, and bottled shampoo and body wash.
  5. When you’re shopping for makeup, skincare, and hair care products, choose ones with smart packaging (such as refillable or recyclable packaging). 
  6. Ditch single-use face wipes and cotton pads and instead pick up makeup remover cloths and washable cotton rounds that you can toss into the laundry and use again and again.
  7. Incorporate DIY! Things like commercially-purchased body scrubs, face masks and even shampoos and conditioners can be swapped for DIY alternatives. Plus, doing it yourself allows you to re-purpose other products, eliminate harmful chemicals and toxins and reduces plastic and packaging waste.
  8. Say No to Tampons and Pads. Consider reusable menstrual products as they are actually safer, lower your risk of TSS and do not contain carcinogenic chemicals like glyphosate, which is found in most commercially available tampons.

Links and Apps