How to Choose an Ecologically Sustainable Vacuum Cleaner
Someone asked me a question the other day about how to make sustainable purchasing decisions in every day situations. The first thing I told her is that it pays to do your research and be aware, but I also asked her to be more specific, as every situation can call for a different set of actions. She told me she was looking to get a new vacuum cleaner, but she had never heard of a ecologically friendly vacuum. To be honest neither had I. Although, what I told her changed the way she will make important purchases forever. I told her to do some research on the top brands she might be interested and to do a Google search with the keywords “BRAND NAME + corporate social responsibility” and “BRAND NAME + sustainability” and see what comes up. We actually did this together and found a few of the larger, more reputable brands have their own mission on sustainability. For instance, Dyson has an entire page dedicated to corporate social responsibility, where they discuss what makes Dyson a sustainable solution. From engineering high performance vacuums with the intention of maximizing power use, to using life cycle assessment to measure their products environmental impact on the earth, Dyson appears to be a socially and environmentally responsible purchase. Not to mention, some of the more obvious sustainability choices Dyson has made, such as ensuring none of their products use unnecessary consumables like bags and filters.
Another brand we looked up was Bissell. Bissell also has a page on their website dedicated to sustainability, where we can read the company’s mission statement for sustainability. They have their own team dedicated to the commitment of sustainable business practices, called ForEverGreen. Their sustainability practices are defined by three missions including efficiently using resources in their products and operations, responsible use of chemicals and transparent reporting, and responsible waste management through their product lifecycles. I’m not going to go into too much detail on each of these brands, but the point is, all of this information is out there and it’s not hard to find for anyone ready to look for it.
After we did the basic research on each of the brands my friend was interested in, she was still confused about which vacuum to actually buy. I told her the brand name research was just to discover which brands she was most in line with in terms of sustainable business practices. It is for her to be able to determine which brands she would consider buying, and which brands she would like to stay away from given her own personal level of sustainable practices. The next step is to find a model that is made by one of the brands you would consider purchasing from. The next step consisted of finding a website that specialized in vacuum cleaner reviews, and find the highest rated vacuums in your price range, made by one of your previously selected brands. By doing this, we instantly narrowed down her search to three different vacuums, by three different brands. I’m not going to tell you which vacuum she purchased, but I will tell you the decision ultimately came down to which brand she considered as being the most ecologically sustainable in the long run. While each vacuum she considered had pros and cons in terms of price and overall rating, the difference between the brands practices towards sustainability seemed, at least to her, to be the largest factor in making an informed decision.