Ethical shopping on a budget

From packaging to shopping sustainably, we offer some tips to choosing ethical without breaking the bank.

Does sustainability factor into your purchasing, and if so what are your tips to save money?


By “ethical” shopping, we consider more than product.
eg - use the manual checkout to keep someone employed, and take the reusable bags with us.
But no, we do not look for “ethical products” to help our budget.
We simply do not buy things that we do not need (mostly have cut down anyway).
Sweets, biscuits, soft-drinks etc.
And we keep an eye on vegetable prices, and buy a little extra when the price drops.
I think what is “unethical” is the soaring costs of things like lettuce.
We simply will not participate in such ?rackets. It isn’t costing the grower more, so why should ?profiteering be passed on to consumers?


There are a number of reasons given by various commentators that say costs have risen and that combined with weather and other matters results in the price rise.

Some of the costs that have risen are fertiliser and labour. In the case of labour this was due to regulations coming in that set minimum basic rates of pay for farm workers. From the point of view of ethical buying we might say that that rise in cost, and so price, was a result of reduction in the unethical behaviour of paying workers a pittance.

I might also observe that it is common to find complaints when external forces (such as weather) cause notable rises in prices but you never hear complaints when there is a glut and farmers are almost giving stuff away. If you accept the cheap veges when conditions are good how is it you don’t accept the rise when conditions are not?


Agree all points.
But when on a pension that doesn’t even cover your rent (what’s ethical about that?) then you have to shop around.
I was on a dairy farm (cream dairy, Nanango - no water, very little grass) until age 10.
Have worked on orchards too, before getting into off-farm vocation.
I understand and really do feel for the farmers and growers.
They are exploited by the big Supermarkets through black-mailing and threats of product rejection
I saw this drive a potato grower to the wall in Mundubbera, Qld (Edgels refused his crop).
But apart from ethics breakdowns I still think the spike in some veges is a bit over the top, and I can only spread my dollars so far. When gluts occur (Avocados come to mind) Supermarkets should absorb some of the losses by honouring contracts, within limits.
Thanks for the good points you made.


I don’t know why it is such a big deal. We could live without it for awhile.

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I have a perfectly usable Microsoft Tablet which I bought with Win 10 about 18 months ago. It meets the list of technical requirements for Win 11, eg, storage, 64 bit and appropriate cpu power level, etc. But, now MS have made the requirements more stringent, ie, specific brands and models of CPU. Unbelievably, Microsoft’s own tablets have CPUs that are NOT included! It doesn’t make sense to me, Microsoft create a software upgrade that won’t even run on their own hardware, (even models currently on the market) but will run on the hardware of their competitor tablets!

I expected to get years of use from my tablet, I don’t need super power, just the convenience of a portable device, but that also means a supported operating system.

To make matter worse, I don’t know how one can actually communicate with Microsoft, by which I mean an exchange of correspondence?


Why do you need Win 11?


I’m having some device issues myself, so I feel your pain here. Maybe try calling the Sydney-based service store and see if they can offer a solution?

I don’t, per sa!

But, Microsoft want to replace Win 10 with Win 11. Hence their other software eg, Office 365, will be based and upgraded to perform on its latest O/S.

The O/S isn’t something the average users has any specific interest in, eg, from my perspective I’d be happy to still use Win XP. MS did away with that, not based on ordinary users needs.

But, as the topic of this thread is Ethical purchasing decisions, I’m pointing out that my initial decision has been usurped by an MS decision, that seems to fly in the face of perfectly usable hardware being made redundant by software O/S decisions. Hence, am questioning the ethical position of MS, and what can be done about it?


The current date that Windows 10 will no longer be supported is 14 October 2025…so there isn’t any urgency to change. So in relation to be ethical, you have at least 3 years (potentially more) to use your Microsoft Tablet. If you plan to use your tablet after Windows 10 is not longer supported, it will still work but may pose risks (any vulnerabilities may be exploited by others). Windows 11 may also be broadened for use on a wider spec of devices that currently occurs. If this occurs, I expect that there will be disclaimers and explicit risks trying to persuade a user not to do such but upgrade their devices.

Support should mean that any newer versions of say Office 365 will work on both operating platforms. However, some functionality may be limited as it won’t exploit the full functionality of Windows 11. Will it matter, for almost all users, possibly not as most users don’t use the full functionality of Office 365.

There is also potential that the support date could change, if large users (government, big business etc) make a lot of noise.


A workaround that may help. Download Win 11 to a USB installation device. Upgrade the Win 10 from the USB and many/most device limitations are avoided including TPM 2.0 requirement as well as many CPU requirements. Once upgraded to Win 11, updates to Win 11 occur normally.

Another option is to replace Windows with Linux.

Office 365 should not be an issue, it has become software as a service designed to work across many OSes including Android, macOS, iOS, Linux as well as Windows without any limitation on usability in those environments.


You said before that you don’t need super power just the convenience of the tablet so I am confused about what the problem is. I am fairly sure that upgraded and new apps will run on Win 10 so what does it matter if they are aimed at Win 11?

I don’t follow the details of OS wars and upgrades any more, what reason have MS given for changing the specs? You seem to be assuming there is no good reason for it.

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Win XP had become a security and code nightmare. Ordinary users may not have realised they needed change but just because they didn’t understand doesn’t mean it wasn’t needed. While Win 11 is different in some ways to Win 10, a user can happily continue with a fully supported Win 10 product until it is sunsetted after 2025.


@grahroll @phb @syncretic

It is interesting how all 3 of you have got into technical Problem solving, almost verging on supporting Microsoft. While ignoring the actual topic about Ethical product design, product life, sustainable use, etc. There maybe work arounds. But underlying this thread is many manufacturers, retailers, etc, which could do far better on the ethical, sustainable front, but get away with it. Choice, Australia’s lead consumer group, recognises that, and is beginning a conversation that might trigger change. I wonder why members here are following that lead, such as highlighting examples were such companies can do a lot better?


Well worth raising.
We have several legacy Windows devices limited to win 8.1 due to hardware limitations. Our everyday needs are now met by the Apple-verse, after learning from previous mobiles and handhelds the devices supplied with solutions from MS and Android by Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, Sony etc lost support while still useable in every other way!

Apple’s current IOS 15.5 supports the iPhone 6S and iPad mini 4 both released in September 2015. I’m not recommending Apple products over any other. It’s a useful benchmark for comparing what other products might be offering. Apple’s tightly controlled products may make this easier to achieve. There are also corresponding downsides depending on how one sees life as we know it.


I understood your query regarding the throw away culture. You stated “I’m pointing out that my initial decision has been usurped by an MS decision”. Your product is not defunct, it may not support the latest but it does support a current and supported version of Windows. Ethical usage includes using available knowledge to avoid early retirement of products, a workaround is such a use of knowledge. Using workarounds does not mean the reason that caused it to be used, is supported by those who provide it.

I also provided a workaround that wasn’t MS in case you didn’t want to use MS. I also responded to your take on the usability of Office being based on having to use a particular MS operating system, Office 365 is not platform specific these days.

Upgrades to tech or products means that some products become less useful or not useful at all with time (that time may be sooner or later depending on innovation). As an example just because a person has a car that runs on petrol, no reason exists that in the future the World needs to continue to use petrol or to produce petrol for a user. We currently use petrol that has no lead, that required change by purchasers of new vehicles to then use unleaded petrol. Change occurs and we need to adapt.

Backward compatibility in regards to IT is not always possible or even desirable as it can lead to hardware (and software) vulnerabilities that cannot be patched. You made a point that Win 10 on your tablet product could not be upgraded to Win 11, I just offered a way that may suit you. CPU issues occur with software changes as the old hardware cannot always support the instructions incorporated into the newer software, some changes can be provided for by firmware updates but not all.

I can say that to buy a product that cannot be upgraded easily is perhaps not a good ethical choice by the purchaser. They are locked into the state of the device as it existed on the day they made the purchase, subsequent innovations may mean their locked choice then becomes a brick/paperweight sooner rather than later. Does this mean a manufacturer has to provide less secure innovation to keep ageing products in use by users, I don’t think it does. I think it means the purchaser/user must weigh up the purchase with the knowledge of what their choice means.

I am not an apologist for MS, I have concerns with some of their practices. I do think they offer most times, decent periods of support for products. If you own Win XP or a non subscription version of older Offices, you can continue to use them. Risk of use and usability become the user’s risk entirely.

If users are concerned with eWaste for old devices, users should make every effort to repurpose or recycle the items responsibly. Buy products that meet efforts to reduce the use of harmful metals, plastics, and other materials is another way to ensure ethical shopping.

If you want to provide written feedback to MS, they certainly provide a way. The Feedback Hub incorporated into Win 10 and 11 allows you to provide your opinion on changes, products, and ethical choices about MS services and products. They encourage it, and yet many either abuse them or do not use the service to offer alternatives or possible improvements. If someone wants to have an impact on new products, join the insider program and participate in improving what MS produces.

As a further thought on the matter of the need to upgrade, MS do offer through a partner, a trade in service (or if of no value a recycle service) for some devices:

Microsoft Trade In & Recycling Program - Microsoft Store


I think that many of the Android market need to provide a longer update time. There is a also lot of aftermarket innovation in regard to Android OSes but it takes some tech knowledge to use these aftermarket ROMs. I think a more easily implemented process needs development. A possibility is that the manufacturers procure these ROMs, check them for safety, them slip them to the users of their products using their secure update channels. Bloat that many manufacturers add to their ROMs is unneedful, I don’t mind they put their imaging to a product but why change the underlying OS to product distinguishing changes that offer no benefit to a user other than lock them into a upgrade service that only works for a short period after purchase and then the product is left to become an insecure device, instead of being able to have the OS as unaltered from the generic but ungraded far longer than currently.


It depends on whether you see ethics being concerned with doing real harm (or having the potential to do so) or not. I was trying to determine if you were, or could, suffer real harm and if so does MS have a good and sufficient reason for exposing you to it. The lesser of two weevils principle may apply.

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My view on computer systems is that software companies supplying systems software should keep updates available to users even after the version has been superceded by a newer one and the old version is no longer available.
New features, no. Performance enhancements, no.
But security patches, yes. Fixes to major bugs that could cause failure, yes.

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MS generally does this with Windows. There are likely to be three or so major versions supported at once. The history is here for those who want details.

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