Sustainability and the Circular economy - Evaluation criteria

Could the criteria for the Choice product evaluation include a measure(s) of its impact on climate change and its contribution to a circular economy?
How can the measure reflect a sustainable choice?

How is the product recycled? Does it go to landfill or is there an option to reuse/recycle?
Does the manufacturer take ownership for recycling?


Hi @GeoffR, great questions. We can all benefit from knowing more. Welcome to the community.

There is often general product advice in the Choice guides and reviews as to better options for the environment.

Possibly for Choice to do more the reviewers might need to go back to the suppliers or manufacturers. It might depend on how much information the manufacturer is prepared to share to get a more complete understanding. Green washing excepted. Even for a business that may take back used items, EG HP had a return for old printers, how much is actually recycled may be difficult to verify.


Hi Geoff

Welcome to the forum with your great question.

We have been talking on threads about repair, reuse & recycling, and I believe that taking this into account in evaluations has been requested before (but I couldn’t find it quickly).

I think it would be difficult for Choice to measure every products’ impact on the climate change, but certainly I think they could take into account whether the product can be repaired and or recycled.


Thanks for the suggestion @GeoffR, I’ll be sure to raise it with my colleagues.


An article regarding the need to transition back to longer life products instead of disposable rubbish.

The UN set out the Sustainable Development Goals “to achieve a better and more sustainable future.”

Perhaps the Nationals will counter with “Sustainable Development Coals”?

I took the core message to be our resources are finite with one commentator in the ABC report offering,

"As a physical concept, [sustainability] is impossible. Life itself is a physically consumptive process.

"The only way we can actually preserve things for the future and look after the environment is to change how we live, to use fewer resources, to value things in another way."

The solution is way more complex than stuff lasting longer. There are environmental costs in creating products, and in recycling or remanufacturing.

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I found those claims to be very confusing. The first says there is nothing we can do the second says we must take a particular path to do it.

The first claim ignores the fact that stocks of resources can be made to last much longer by:

  • Reducing net physical consumption considerably by effective recycling.
  • Reducing population
  • Reducing per capita consumption
  • Utilising less economic reserves of materials.

Which is where the second claim seemed to be heading.

Perhaps what they were trying to say is that our efforts at recycling are pitiful, reducing population will take too long and depends on bringing the poor high reproducing regions up to our level of wealth, which makes reducing per capita consumption even harder and all this will cut into corporate profits too much to be contemplated.

We then get to the real gem:

“That means that if we want to preserve the current paradise of limitless economic growth,” he says, “it has to be completely decoupled from the use of material resources.”

And under the current system of global consumer capitalism, he warns, that’s never going to happen.

The decoupling mentioned means to decouple economic growth from growth in resource extraction, to be able to keep up magic pudding of capitalism that economic growth is essential for stability, to keep up adequate wage growth and maintain or improve standard of living but without digging more and more on a finite earth. Nobody knows how to do this.

One possibility is to mine the Moon, Mars, and passing asteroids. At what cost, remains a challenge? Someone said the universe is infinite.