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Consumer Choices

What are Sustainable Consumer Choices?  Sustainable purchasing looks at how goods and services required to meet basic needs and improve quality of life can be delivered in ways that reduce the burden on the Earth's carrying capacity. 

| Education | Energy | Goods | Consumption | Services | Agriculture and Natural Resources |


  • Living Sustainably:  It's Your Choice
    Publication by Oregon State Extension

  • National Network for Sustainable Living Education
    Natural resource and Cooperative Extension professionals created NNSLE in 2004 to investigate, educate, and model sustainable living practices to individuals, families, institutions, businesses, camps, and schools.

  • Sustainability Tools for Extension (database)
    A collection of sustainability teaching tools available online on the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

  • National Network for Sustainable Living Education
    Natural resource and Cooperative Extension professionals created NNSLE in 2004 to investigate, educate, and model sustainable living practices to individuals, families, institutions, businesses, camps, and schools.

  • Fostering Sustainable Behavior: Community Based Social Marketing
    This site consists of five resources for those working to foster sustainable behaviors, such as those involved in conservation, energy efficiency, transportation, waste reduction, and water efficiency. The site includes the complete contents of the book, Fostering Sustainable Behavior, as well as searchable databases of articles, case studies, and turnkey strategies. It also includes discussion forums for sharing information and asking questions of others. It is aimed at those who are working to encourage others to make sustainable lifestyle choices.

  • Fostering Sustainable Behavior: Community Based Social Marketing Discussion Forum
    Discussion forum to learn and share information about encouraging people to engage in sustainable behavior. The site is run by Doug McKenzie-Mohr, Ph.D. - Environmental Psychologist

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  • “Buy Local” Initiatives
    Buy Local Initiatives can represent a sustainable economic development strategy for communities big and small. Increasing local purchasing is seen as a means to foster community self-sufficiency while supporting local businesses and reducing travel and emissions associated with long-distance travel for retail purchases and services.

  • Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network
    The Northwest Wisconsin Regional Food Network is a grassroots group of local farmers, volunteers and agency staff working together to create a regional food system that connects consumers back to the land and provides locally produced, fresh and nutritious foods to all segments of our community while preserving the region's environment and sustaining the local economy for years to come.

  • Cradle to Cradle
    William McDonough speaks about his view of sustainability and some of his thoughts are in his publication Cradle to Cradle. This book speaks to the flow of materials in a consumer environment.

  • Barbara's Guide for Penny Pinchers
    Wisconsin Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton's online guide for families looking to stretch their hard-earned dollars.

  • Planning an Event – Consider Serving Local Food.
    A publication on serving local foods at conferences and workshops has been developed and is now available on the UW-Extension The Learning Store Publications web site.

  • The Good Stuff Guide
    This 31 page PDF from the World Watch Institute contains many of the tips, facts, and links to start making more informed purchases that benefit health and environment.

  • Responsible Purchasing Network
    The Responsible Purchasing Network produces Purchasing Guides for a range of products and services, including: Bottled Water, Carbon Offsets, Cleaners, Computers, Copy Paper, Fleets, Food Services, Green Power, Light-Duty Tires and Wheel Weights, Lighting, Office Electronics, Paint, and Toner Cartridges.

  • Minnesota Materials Management
    The Materials Management Division of the State of Minnesota helps agencies purchase environmentally preferable products that: contain fewer toxic materials, minimize waste, contain recycled content, conserve energy and water, contain plant-based materials. This web site provides information on purchasing, executive orders, preferable goods and services, case studies and provides links to environmental purchasing.

  • The Story of Stuff
    The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.

  • Water Sense New Homes
    This EPA web site discusses WaterSense-labeled new homes, which third-party, independently certified to save water both inside and out. Homes that earn the WaterSense label feature WaterSense-labeled plumbing fixtures, efficient hot water delivery, water smart landscape design, and many other features to ensure that the home will save water for years to come. When compared to a typical home, a WaterSense-labeled new home can help a family of four save 50,000 gallons of water per year and as much as $600 per year on utility costs.

  • Green Building Products Guide
    A directory of green building products and where to purchase them. Topics covered include: which green building products are available, what makes the product green, how to compare products, where to purchase products, who manufactures products, what the certification means, glossary of terms and how to choose among green claims.

  • Made with Renewable Energy: How and Why Companies are Labeling Consumer Products
    A March 2012 report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that gathered information from 20 companies and highlights the use of the Green-e logo.

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  • Collaborative Consumption Hub
    Collaborative Consumption is the reinvention of “old market” behaviors - renting, lending, swapping, bartering, gifting – through technology.

  • The Center for a New American Dream
    The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans to reduce and shift their consumption to improve quality of life, protect the environment, and promote social justice. The web site contains a webinar on how to create a tool library in the community, information on Family, Food and Climate, the downloadable Guide to Sharing, recommended books and an on-line video on the High Price of Materialism. The programs include of Redefining the Dream, Beyond Consumerism and Collaborative Communities.

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  • Wisconsin’s Travel Green Program
    Travel Green Wisconsin is a voluntary self-certifying sustainable tourism program. To earn certification, applicants must first supply the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative with a Baseline Environmental Performance Assessment. The baseline collects information about the amount of energy, fuel, water, and solid waste that the business consumed during the last calendar year.

  • The Home Energy Saver
    The Home Energy Saver is designed to help consumers identify the best ways to save energy in the home, and find the resources to make the savings happen.

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