I rate products based on three criteria: 1) their quality and function (how well they do what they say they do, and also how long they last); 2) their impact on human health and also the environment in one’s home; and 3) their impact on the environment and on the workers who manufacture the products. The two criteria that I prioritize in analyzing products are 1) the impact on human health and 2) product quality. The third criteria (impact on the environment) is factored in only when it does not conflict with the first two criteria (which in a few instances it does). In my blog posts, I make sure to specify how any product I am reviewing relates to these three criteria.
When reviewing products, I look primarily at they impact one’s own health once brought into the home, and I balance this with considering how well the product functions (i.e. does what it says it is meant to do). The reason for this is that some natural deodorants might be very good for your personal health, but if their only ingredient is “coconut oil” it also means they won’t work at all and will be a waste of money! I use the example of deodorant here because a natural deodorant that works is one of the more difficult products to find.
The other thing I factor in is how good the products are for the environment – both in terms of their impact on the earth, and their impact on the artisans and workers who are exposed to various chemicals and substances while making the product. However, sometimes what is good for the environment and what is good for your own personal health and the environment in your home conflict. Purchasing a used sofa from a thrift store might be better for the environment than purchasing a new sofa because it means that no new materials were used to create this sofa. However, depending on the year this sofa was made, it is likely the foam in this sofa contains brominated flame retardants, which are even more likely to get into the dust in your home due to the sofa’s increasing age and wear (flame retardant treated older sofas, as the cushions begin to break down, tend to release more retardant chemicals into your home than newer sofas).