SMART (Save Money and Reduce Toxics) Purchasing


Research the type of products you need to effectively perform the job and that are best suited for the job.

  • Only purchase the amount of product you need.
  • Before you commit to buying a large container of a product, purchase a smaller container first so you can use it and make sure it meets your needs.
  • If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!

Choose products that contains the fewest toxic or hazardous ingredients. The easiest way to do this is to check for signal words and statements on product labels:

  • Signal words: poison, danger, warning, caution. A product with the signal word caution on its label is less hazardous than a product with the signal word warning, danger or poison.
  • Signal statements: harmful if swallowed; keep out of reach of children; causes burns.
  • Also look for: care/use/cleanup/storage directions, first aid instructions.


Tips for purchasing less-toxic household products:

  • Look for products that list all their ingredients on the label. Generally, fewer ingredients are better.
  • Use a multi-purpose cleaner rather than buying many specialty cleaners.
  • Choose products that are made from plant-based materials like citrus, seed, vegetables, herbs or pine oils.
  • Choose products that have low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are toxic chemicals released into the air.
  • Choose chlorine-free products.
  • Choose water-based glues, adhesives and paints.

Many people are switching to homemade cleaners to reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals. Inexpensive ingredients like baking soda, vinegar and soap often clean just as well as store-bought products.

For more information on smart purchasing visit our resource page.

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