Shopping doesn’t have to be unsustainable.
Now, perhaps more than ever, it is important to support small businesses – even when heading to our favourite online marketplace of choice.
It can be tempting to log on and head straight to one of the big eCommerce platforms, such as eBay or Amazon – particularly with the latter allowing for Amazon Prime memberships, meaning next day delivery for free – no questions asked.
But if you’re keen on being a little more eco-friendly or carbon-neutral, stepping away from these eComm giants is a good place to start.
So, with this in mind, we look at the best ethical alternatives to Amazon for the ultimate sustainable online shopping destination.
Table of Contents
- Why is Eco-Friendly Shopping Important?
- Top Reasons Why We Need to Shop Ethically
- Ethical Alternatives to Amazon: Our Top Picks
- Ethical Alternatives to Amazon: FAQs
- Ethical Alternatives to Amazon – Wrap Up
- Pin Ethical Amazon Alternatives
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Why is Eco-Friendly Shopping Important?
It’s no secret that our planet is in need of more sustainable solutions in order for it to survive. This covers everything from moving away from fossil fuels, to monitoring our carbon footprint, being hot on our recycling, (hopefully) permanently doing away with single-use plastic, adopting a more plant-based diet, and – of course – sustainable shopping.
Did you know that the fashion industry alone is responsible for as much as 10% of annual global carbon emissions? This is because of its mass reliance on material sourcing, supply chain delivery, and water usage, and therefore, all of which contribute to the industry’s considerable carbon footprint.
It’s no secret that corporate fashion is unethical in more ways than just environmentally. This is just another reason why we need to ditch consumerism on a corporate scale and shop locally – even when scouring the online marketplace for products.
Top Reasons Why We Need to Shop Ethically
Unethical shopping markets are known for their blasé attitude towards waste. Especially the low-cost and low-quality “fast fashion” sites, such as Shein.
These products are cheaply made from low-quality fabric, and as a result, they often contain harmful chemicals (such as dyes), and do not last very long. While many of us are happy to upcycle clothing, or take unwanted items to clothing banks or charity shops, many discarded items end up in landfills.
The same goes for non-recyclable packaging. This is why it’s crucial we shop with brands/platforms that have a zero-waste policy.
Supports Small Businesses
It’s hardly a secret that the global economy isn’t in its best shape.
Small businesses are the pillars of each and every one of our communities. Not only is the quality considerably better with locally-produced items, there isn’t an absence of ethics that you will find with mass-consumer brands. Also, small businesses are typically much kinder to the environment.
Putting money into the local economy ensures that hard-working local traders are able to survive and thrive, and our own hard-earned money isn’t going into the vast pockets of greedy corporate giants.
Lessens Carbon Emissions
Mass consumerism plays a big role in chemical and pesticide-use in farming, mass plastic production (and waste), and manufacturing items using non-recyclable or non-biodegradable materials. Also, global distribution of these products (as well as the materials) is certainly racking up an air mile or two.
Most local businesses like to use locally-sourced materials, which also helps boost the local economy, and is kinder to the environment.
Ethical Alternatives to Amazon: Our Top Picks
There’s no denying it – we all love to indulge in a spot of online shopping (it’s a proven dopamine fix!), so unsubscribe from that Prime membership and get ready to do your bit by using these ethical alternatives to Amazon to satisfy that dopamine craving!
“All-natural, eco-friendly gifts for the whole family.”
It’s hard to pinpoint our favourite thing about EarthHero, but if pushed to, we’d have to say it’s that they plant five trees with every order. Yup. Every order.
EarthHero is the perfect place to shop when looking for gifts for your loved ones (or yourself!), with areas including audio & tech, beauty & care, clothing & accessories, baby & kids, and much more.
Also, in terms of ethics – EarthHero is absolutely on the ball. Just some of the values they support and include on their site are:
- Women-owned brands
- Plastic-free products
- Vegan products
- Safe & fair labour
- Organic materials & ingredients
And much more.
“Garmentory is a curated marketplace for the artist, the trendsetter, and you.”
As the name suggests, Garmentory is the go-to sustainable online marketplace for lovers of fashion.
Garmentory believes the only thing that should be fast about fashion is how quickly it gets to you – and we couldn’t agree more. With over 3000 contemporary and eco-friendly brands to choose from, you’ll be more than ready to turn your back on Amazon and other fast fashion online boutiques.
Garmentory cares about the environment, as well as delivering high-quality fashion items (with options ranging from new to pre-loved), and believes in being small and sustainable, but still being able to offer a huge range of great-quality items.
“100% vegan, 0% boring.”
We don’t know about you, but here at Voyaging Herbivore, we LOVE good quality, super sustainable vegan chow!
GreenBay allows you to browse online for hundreds of vegan products (they also cover gifts, household items, personal care products, and more) for you to choose from and have delivered the very next day (via their carbon neutral delivery partners).
Everything on GreenBay’s online marketplace is 100% vegan – meaning they’re good for the planet, good for our animal friends, and good for you!
“We believe that a vegan diet and healthy lifestyle should be simple, delicious and wallet-friendly.”
Ideal for supplements, protein powders, vitamins & minerals, as well as food, My Vegan is dedicated to healthy living that doesn’t cost the Earth – figuratively and literally!
Specialising in a vast range of fully sustainable and 100% vegan foods, supplements, and other plant-based health and wellbeing items, My Vegan offers carbon neutral deliveries, is plastic neutral, and is fully accredited by The Soil Association, Vegan Society, and Vegetarian society.
A great place to start your plant-based nutritional journey.
Rainbow Life helps you live your best (ethical) life and covers any shopping department you could ever need (including: home & garden, well-being, bathroom, jewelry, health & beauty, pets, and much more).
Also, in terms of ethics – Rainbow Life is very inclusive, and make sure to feature sellers from the following values:
- Zero waste
- Empowering women
As you may know, the rainbow is the universal symbol of hope, and it creates a bridge between all people – ensuring everyone is valued and heard, and our Earth is well-looked-after.
“Create your own ripple of change.”
Whether you’re looking for gifts & hampers, food & drink, clothes & accessories, or bath & beauty products, Social Supermarket has it all.
In terms of sustainability, Social Supermarket endeavours to use 90% recycled cardboard for their gift boxes, as well as making hampers that are reusable, using fully biodegradable cushioning fill, packaging peanuts that are made from potato starch (ergo, they’re fully compostable), and aims to minimise plastic usage as much as possible.
They also strive to work exclusively with partners who are local/independent suppliers and of whom also prioritise sustainability. We salute that!
A small, London-based online retailer, Vivnaturelle strives to provide products that are free from harmful chemicals, cruelty-free, and sustainable. Vivnaturelle brings together smaller retailer to provide an all-in-one shopping experience. They partner with brands that have biodegradable, zero-waste, or fully recyclable packaging.
On their site you’ll find:
- Face Care
- Bath and Body
- Home and Wellness
- Hot Drinks
- Gift Hampers
Not everything on the site is vegan, but Vivnaturelle does label all products with categories that they fit into. This includes vegan, organic, plastic-free, paraben-free, recyclable, and fragrance-free among other categories.
Plus, shipping is free when you spend over £30 – take that Amazon!
Sign up for a chance to win eco & vegan freebies!
Ethical Alternatives to Amazon: FAQs
What is the best Amazon alternative?
Other (more sustainable) options include:
- Thrive Market
- Grove Collaborative
- Made Trade
- Uncommon Goods
- Package Free
- The Little Market
- BLK + GRN
Is there an eco-friendly Amazon?
While Amazon is thankfully working to become a more sustainable online marketplace, they still have a long way to go.
Therefore, in terms of a more carbon neutral, eco-friendly solution, we recommend getting involved with the brands mentioned in the main section of this article, if you are serious about being more environmentally responsible when shopping online.
Is Kobo more ethical than Amazon?
Because Kobo focuses on tech products, which are very difficult to create in a fully sustainable manner, Kobo isn’t considered to be much more of an eco-friendly option to that of Amazon.
That said, Kobo does, however, offer free eBooks and eReaders, which Amazon does not.
Can you shop ethically on Amazon?
As Amazon is an eCommerce platform, it undoubtedly does feature sellers that exercise fair, ethical, and sustainable practices.
However, Amazon is a corporate giant of a company, so these sellers (and the buyer) still play a role in funding the platform, which has unfair labour practices, among other issues.
Is Amazon ethical or unethical?
While Amazon claims to be taking a stance in being an ethical company to buy from, work for, and trade with – other reports dispute this.
As well as being a notorious tax avoider, Amazon is also regularly sued for discrimination, maltreatment, and workplace abuse. It also received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for environmental reporting in 2019.
Ethical Alternatives to Amazon – Wrap Up
Amazon still has lightyears to go before it can accurately declare itself as fully ethical and sustainable, so when it comes to finding ethical alternatives to Amazon, we hope this list has more than demonstrated the ample eco-friendly options available.