• 11.14.11

GoodGuide Enables Ethical Shopping For The Lazy

By automatically examining your online purchases and then suggesting safer, healthier ones, the company is creating what it calls a “ for ethical shopping.”

We’re big fans of GoodGuide, a smartphone app and website that offers easy-to-digest information about the environmental and ethical implications of the products we use every day. Now GoodGuide is making it simple for even the laziest among us to make better shopping decisions with the Purchase Analyzer, a service that pulls user shopping information from sites like,, and, matches these purchases against personal preferences, and suggests better alternative products (and where to find them at the lowest price).


The sign-up process for the service, which GoodGuide founder Dara O’Rourke describes as “a sort-of for online shopping,” is easy enough. Users create a GoodGuide account, set up a filter to make purchase decisions based on issues they care about (i.e ingredient safety, energy efficiency, recycled materials), and then sync their accounts from different shopping sites so that GoodGuide can rate their purchases.

A search through our Amazon purchases, for example, yields one offending product: Johnson Wax scrubbing bubbles. GoodGuide suggests a number of more environmentally sound products, including Martha Stewart Clean Bathroom Cleaner and Mr. Clean With Febreze. The suggested products are cheaper than the offender, too.

Of course, many of the products that GoodGuide analyzes–personal care products, food, apparel–are often bought in person. For that, GoodGuide has a bar code scanner on its smartphone app. And now that GoodGuide has a purchase analyzer on top of that, there’s really no excuse for feigning ignorance when buying toxic products.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.