Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

In search of the best zero waste stores? You’ve come to the right place. I’ve lined up 20 ethical alternatives to Amazon I know you’ll love. These are the best zero waste online stores and stores in the USA, Canada and UK. All of these stores focus on selling plastic-free items which help people reduce their own personal waste. These zero waste shops stock everything from safety razors to shampoo bars to reusable straws. No matter where you are on your plastic-free journey, there’s something for everyone. Many of these shops are small, family owned businesses that create handmade products! So much better than supporting Amazon, in my opinion.

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Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

What is a plastic free store? 

A plastic free store is a store that sells all of their items completely free from single-use plastic. They also try to ship their items plastic-free using cardboard or paper packaging. This make it a far more sustainable option than regular stores. Effort is made by these companies to ensure sustainability throughout the supply chain and many store owners will not stock products unless the highest ethical standards are met. 

There are two different types of plastic free stores: online and in person stores. If you are lucky enough to have a plastic free store locally, you definitely should go and check them out. They are super friendly and welcoming environments and you can be assured you’re doing something good for the planet. 

What do zero waste stores sell? 

This will entirely depend on which shop. Some of them sell beauty products, others sell dried goods, cleaning refills, clothes, children’s products and everything else under the sun! The most common items are items for around the home which cause a lot of waste, such as shampoo, soaps, toothbrushes and items for the kitchen. 

All of them have rigorous screening processes to make sure that only the most ethical and sustainable products can be purchased. There really is too much to mention so I suggest you head over to some of the websites listed below and check them out for yourself.

What is a zero waste shop? 

A zero waste store is another name for a plastic free store. The reason they are called zero waste is because they are aiming to reduce waste as much as possible. This will often mean that they are also plastic free, but it can also entail finding ways to support a more circular economy. Often zero waste shops will have refill systems in place and sometimes even take-back programs. I suggest you head over to some of the stores mentioned below to get an idea what some of the best zero waste stores out there are like. 

Are plastic alternatives more expensive? 

This is very much a misconception. And the simple answer is no. The problem is that when you see a price for a plastic free alternative, many times the initial outlay may be more. However, unlike single use items, these are made to last a lifetime. This means that while you may pay more initially, in the long run buying sustainable alternatives can actually save you a fortune! 

Why should we shop at zero waste stores?  

Plastic pollution is running amuck. Only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled and we live in a very disposal minded culture. Zero waste stores change this by offering products that create a more circular economy. Their products come package free, often allowing us to use containers we already have. They only stock products from the most transparent of supply chains. Zero waste stores can help us reduce waste on an individual basis, but the more that pop up, the more people can participate in the movement. That’s why it’s important to support them when we can!

What are Amazon ethical alternatives?

Amazon is a huge corporation where you can purchase just about everything you could ever dream of. If you are looking for an exact ethical duplicate you aren’t going to find it. Why? Because of the nature of Amazon’s business plan where they encourage overconsumption, consumerism and a linear economy.

There are, however, tons of wonderful marketplaces online where you can purchase all of your essentials in one place, much like Amazon and also be assured that you are supporting sustainable development and supporting the development of circular economies. All the plastic free stores I list here are ethical alternatives to Amazon.

Why is Amazon bad? 

This is a very big question which would need an entire blog post of its own to answer, however there are some fundamental issues in the way Amazon is run, which mean there are definitely better places you could be shopping. For one, Amazon discourages users from shopping at small, sustainable businesses but also encourage mass overconsumption and cause users to have a distorted view on the true value of items. Their practices force prices down, which only encourages mistreatment of workers and unethical wage packets. 

Is Amazon ethical or unethical? 

While Amazon are working hard to reduce their environmental impact, or so they say on all of the adverts, their business model is totally unethical. Not only do they benefit from people making purchases that haven’t been properly thought through, they also have been known to avoid tax, build huge data centers with huge carbon footprints, underpay their workers, all while having the profits to make a significant impact on the planet. Yet, they choose not to. I would argue they aren’t particularly ethical, but ethics is highly subjective. 

Why is Amazon not sustainable? 

The root of why Amazon is not sustainable is due to the nature of the company encouraging mass consumerism. The main problem is the sheer convenience of the website. The fact that with Amazon, you are effortlessly able to purchase anything your heart desires and have it arrive on your doorstep the next day means that people buy things without thinking.

This is how the business benefits. They make the convenience seem super attractive however, this is not only damaging to your wallet but also to the planet. Next day delivery is incredibly intensive on resources due to unoptimized delivery routes, half empty shipping boxes which leads to a huge carbon footprint! Like I say, I would need an entire blog post to answer this question but these are some of the biggest issues.

Is there a sustainable version of Amazon?

Yes! Below, I have listed some of the best alternatives to Amazon out there which are rooted in sustainable and ethical business practices. Many of them give back to environmental charities, have 100% plastic free shipping and are carbon neutral. Keep reading to find out where you should be shopping instead.  

Sustainable Haus: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

1. Sustainable Haus

  • USA based: 221 Broad St. Summit, NJ 07901
  • Shop Online or In Person 
  • Offers: Make Up, Cleaning, Personal Care and Home Goods
  • 10% off first order with code Greenifyme10
  • Specializes in upcycling fabric into beautiful products 
  • Plastic and Packaging Free 
  • Refillable products
  • Unusual Services such as Dish Rental 
  • Over 50 Products Made in Store 
  • Featured in Forbes

Sustainable Haus Mercantile is an awesome zero waste and refill store based in NJ with over 400 solutions for personal care, cleaning, makeup and home goods, of which over 50 are made in store. This zero waste store has a really unique approach and offer unusual services such as knife sharpening, zero waste classes and low cost dish rental. They believe zero waste is an important journey for everyone but also acknowledge that small changes are more important than perfection, while defining zero waste as “plastic and package free, non-toxic with the least impact possible”. 

This zero waste shop sets themselves apart from others by specializing in upcycling cotton textiles into fully functional, beautiful and compostable products such as wipes, napkins and tea towels. They make sure to only use cotton thread, unlike some other brands, so almost all of their goods are home compostable!

EcoRoots: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

2. EcoRoots

  • USA based: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Home, Kitchen, Bath and Beauty Products
  • 1% for the Planet Member 
  • Plastic Free Shipping Guaranteed 
  • Free US shipping over $45 
  • Bundles and Kits Available

Ecoroots has a wide selection of Kitchen & Home, Bath & Body, Skincare & Beauty and Haircare products available. This plastic-free shop has their own brand products and also carry products from various small, ethical businesses. They’re keen to not only minimize their environmental impact by ensuring that all of their packaging is plastic free and compostable, they also give back to environmental causes by donating 1% of all of their profits, including to Ocean Conservancy.

EarthHero: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

3. EarthHero

  • USA based: Louisville, Colorado
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Home, Beauty, Clothes, Tech, Kids Products and More 
  •  B Corp Certified 
  • 1% for the Planet 
  • Reuse Boxes for Shipping
  • Offset Carbon Footprint

Arguably, EarthHero is probably the closest direct sustainable comparison to Amazon out there. They have an incredibly large range of products available from kids products, clothes, home items and outdoor products. They are keen to reduce their impact as much as possibly by carbon offsetting, by donating 1% for the planet and ensuring all boxes are reused from previous shipping.

Zero Waste Store: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

4. Zero Waste Store

  • USA Based: Port St. Lucie, Florida
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Clothes, Home, Cleaning, Beauty and More
  • Mobile App Available 
  • 1% for the Planet 
  • Shop By Interest
  • Carbon Neutral Shipping

Zero Waste Store are on a self proclaimed mission to become the most trusted source for sustainable brands. They deeply care about the following issues: Plastic Pollution, Animal Rights, Conservation, Unethical Labor & Manufacturing, Sustainable & Ethical Ingredients, Racial Justice, Gay Rights and Human Trafficking and use these values to shape their business.

Package Free Shop: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

5. Package Free Shop

  • USA Based: New York
  • Shop Online or In Person  (physical shops closed currently due to covid-19)
  • Offers: Home, Health and Beauty Products
  • Teamed with Terracycle
  • Offset Carbon Footprint
  • Zero Waste Kits Available
  • Founded by Trash is for Tossers’ Lauren Singer

You might have seen Lauren Singer, the girl who managed to fit eight years of trash into a mason jar. Well, the Package Free Shop was set up by Lauren after she realized that there were limited united spaces where sustainable products could be sold. What started out as a three month pop up shop, has never shut! Package Free Shop aims to make the “world less trashy” and has been doing so since 2017. They believe that sustainable products should benefit both the user and the planet, and through their mission have saved millions of pieces of trash from going into landfill.

Tiny Yellow Bungalow: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

6. Tiny Yellow Bungalow

  • USA Based: Athens, Georgia
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Home, Kids, Cleaning and More
  • Discount code for 10% off: greenify
  • Handmade and Vintage Products Stocked 
  • Sustainable Lifestyle Shop and Blog
  • Plastic Free Packaging 
  • Zero Waste Shipping

Set up in 2015 by Jessie, Tiny Yellow Bungalow aims to be a one stop shop for sustainable products. It was born out of Jessie’s eco-experimental blog where she shared how she was trying to live more sustainably and has grown into a wonderful online shop. She stocks everyone from more mainstream sustainable brands to unique handmade and vintage items. Don’t forget to use the discount code greenify for 10% off!

Life Without Plastic: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

7. Life Without Plastic

  • US and Europe Branches
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Over 450 Plastic Free Essentials
  • Subscription box available 
  • Plastic Free Packaging
  • Sustainability Tips On Site

The birth of Life Without Plastic happened shortly after the birth of the founders’ son. They were acutely aware of the negative impact of plastic on theirs and their baby’s health and there weren’t enough reliable places to source sustainable items for the home. The store has grown since 2006 where they only sold glass and stainless steel baby bottles to over 450 unique products listed on their website.

Well Earth Goods: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

8. Well Earth Goods

  • USA Based: Medford, Oregon
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Home, Pets, Kids and Personal Products
  • Free Shipping in USA 
  • 100% Compostable Packaging 
  • Family Business 
  • Subscription Service Available 

Well Earth Good is a Family run business based in Oregon. This zero waste online store is passionate about sharing their love for the planet and helping people reduce their environmental impact. They stock a wide range of products for you, your family and pets, for just about any aspect in your life. This plastic free shop stocks plenty of options so you will definitely not be limited in your choices if you choose to shop with Well Earth Goods.

Earthlove: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

9. Earthlove

  • USA Based: Washington
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Books, Apparel, Consumables and More 
  • Specializes in Seasonal Subscription Boxes
  • 1% for the Planet 
  • Eco Friendly Packaging 
  • Carbon Neutral

Earth Love runs a seasonable subscription box service and also have their own market place with individual products to purchase too! This sustainable shop ships within the whole of the US and you will receive four boxes a year, with free shipping if you subscribe. They also have all of the sustainable essentials you could ever need, plus a load of informative books, gorgeous apparel and even gift cards to send to a loved one. It’s been voted the best subscription box for eco wellness!

A Drop In The Ocean: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

10. A Drop In The Ocean

  • USA Based: Washington
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Online Refill Service and Home Products
  • 1% of Sales to Ocean Conservation 
  • 10 Trees Planted for Every Purchase
  • Bundles Available 
  • Shipping Worldwide

A Drop in the Ocean is a Washington based zero waste boutique, who will deliver straight to your home if you live locally. If not, they do ship all over the country and ship free for orders over $50. They run an online refill service, which means you simply select the “New Bottle/Jar” option to let them know you are ordering for the first time or for refills select the “refill” option and they will send a return label for your empties! They really are on a mission to use their business for good and have planted over 40,000 trees (making orders up to double carbon negative!)  while also donating 1% of their sales to ocean conservation. A Drop in the Ocean is definitely a company worth checking out.

Sister Collective: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

11. Sister Collective

  • USA Based: Burlingame, California
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Home, Bath and Body Products 
  • Free shipping over $49
  • Plastic Free Packaging 
  • Female Owned

Sister Collective is a female owned business between two friends, who are making an effort to make eco-friendly swaps more accessible for people. They recognize not everyone has time to research ways to reduce their waste so have aimed to create a single place where you can trust all the items you are purchasing are ethical, natural and sustainable. They stock a wide range of home, bath and body products including all of your essentials.

Wild Minimalist: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

12. Wild Minimalist

  • USA Based: San Rafael, California
  • Shop Online or In Person (curbside pickup available)
  • Offers: Home, Personal Care, Kids products and more
  • Recyclable or Compostable Packaging 
  • Zero Waste Kits Available 
  • Free Shipping on US Orders 
  • Available Worldwide

After a three month travelling trip, cofounders Max and Lily realized that they were able to live life with so much less waste than the conventional way most people live. On their return, they were inspired to start living a sustainable lifestyle and started Wild Minimalist to help people buy their zero waste essentials without the unnecessary plastic, wasteful packaging they had often found when they ordered online. Their business grew and they now stock a large range of sustainable essentials for around the home. They also have a dedicated Mama and Child section which is super helpful for those of your navigating your way through parenthood.

The Kind Store: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

13. The Kind Store

  • UK based Company 
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Vegan, Natural and Sustainable Essentials 
  • 10% profits to Charity 
  • Ecologi Members 
  • Female Owned

The Kind Store is a Vegan owned online marketplace aiming to make it simple for you to choose to live a cruelty free and sustainable lifestyle. This zero waste shop stocks everything from books and candles to cleaning products, bath products and most importantly, chocolate! They’re a UK based company and one of the best ethical alternatives to Amazon in Europe on this list. They have a fully outlined sustainability business plan and are completely female owned!

Plastic Free Pursuit: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

14. Plastic Free Pursuit

  • USA Based: Minnesota
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Technology, Home Goods, Travel, Beauty and More
  • 100% Plastic Free Shipping 
  • Bulk and Refills Available 
  • Gift Registry Options

Plastic Free Pursuit is dedicated to becoming a one stop shop for zero waste and sustainable essentials. They started as a way to help people make the transition to eco friendly living because they truly believe that just a single swap can add up to a huge impact. Unlike some of the other shops, they are widening their range to include products such as technology, as well as the standard zero waste essentials. They also have bundles so if you are just starting out, these are worth a look.

The Refill Shoppe: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

15. The Refill Shoppe

  • USA Based: 363 E Main St, Ventura, California
  • Shop Online or In Person 
  • Offers: Over 50 Refills in Bath, Body, Home + Beauty
  • Customizable Scents
  • Award Winning Refill Store 
  • Subscription Service 
  • B Corp and 1% for the Planet
  • Plants a Tree with Every Order

Founded in 2010, The Refill Shoppe is one of the very first zero waste stores out there. They have an incredible range of over 50 different bath, body, home & beauty refills both in-store or online. This zero waste shop has a truly innovative subscription program and many of their products even have custom-scents for no extra cost. They are also focused on ensuring their profits are used for the good of the planet, they are a member of 1% for the planet and also plant a tree for every single order.

Not only are they an online store, they also have a physical store in Ventura, California so if you are local make sure you check them out. In addition to all of these amazing things, they are B Corp Certified, are committed to not testing any of their products on animals (except their dog shampoo!!) and almost all of their products are vegan.

Marilla's Mindful Supplies: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

16. Marilla’s Mindful Supplies

  • USA Based: Geneva, New York
  • Shop Online or In Person 
  • Offers: Supplements, Pantry, Cleaning, Beauty and more
  • Plastic-Free Health Food Store
  • Ocean Cleanup Partner

If you aren’t able to get to a bulk store for dried goods, Marilla’s Mindful Supplies is a good place to look. Not only do they have tons of options for your everyday essentials but you can also purchase pantry items such as lentils, coffee and dried fruits. This zero waste shop has tons of products to make your home and self care routines more sustainable too, such as cleaning products and beauty products. The shop was set up by Marilla because she was fed up of finding plastic in her beloved health food stores, which inevitably ended up piling up near the lakes. If you are like Marilla, why not check out her store.

Zerovana: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

17. Zerovana

  • USA Based: Dallas, Texas
  • Online shop only 
  • Offers:  Wide Range of Home and Personal Care Products
  • 1% of Profits to National Forest Federation 
  • 1 Tree Planet for Every Dollar Spent
  • Small Family Business
  • Plastic Free and Compostable Packaging

The founders of Zerovana, Nami and her husband Anjan, grew up in Indian and saw their families living a much simpler and cleaner life. Once they lived in the US and got their furbaby Leo, they began exploring the benefits of natural and sustainable options for their lives. Zerovana now stocks a wide range of handmade, fair trade or sustainable essentials for around the home ranging from bathroom to cleaning swaps.

Eco Collective: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

18. Eco Collective

  • USA Based
  • Online shop only 
  • Offers: Haircare, Skincare and Wellness
  • Carbon Neutral Shipping
  • Female Owned Company
  • Plastic Free Products

When it comes to sustaining the planet, you really need to start by sustaining yourself, and that means you need to make self care a priority. This is exactly what Eco Collective encourages. Out of all the zero waste stores on this list, they have the most focus on health of self, health of planet (which I am ALL for). They have a wide range of products from haircare, skincare and wellness they really are a one stop shop for yourself care routine. Plus, they focus on not just items to pamper yourself but also stock planners, cleaning supplies and sexual health products as they truly recognize the breadth of emotional wellbeing, while supporting the wellbeing of the planet too.

Etee: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

19. Etee

  • Canada based: Oshawa, Ontario
  • Online shop only 
  • Offers: Innovative Products For Personal Care and Household
  • Plastic Free Club for Discounted Prices
  • Company powered by 100% Renewable Energy
  • 100% plastic Free Shipping
  • Yearly Charitable Partnerships

Etee is an online market place focused on encouraging “Simple, daily actions. Meaningful, lasting change.” Beeswax wraps were the first product Etee developed but have done so many more since. Etee make many of their products themselves which mean they have almost total control of their supply chain and can ensure the highest ethical standards are met. One of my fav products from them is their dissolvable dish soap!

No Tox Life: Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

20. No Tox Life

  • USA Based
  • Online shop only
  • Offers: Bath, Body and Cleaning Products 
  • Plant Derived Ingredients 
  • Mother, Daughter Owned Business 
  • Plastic Free Shipping 
  • Own Formulation for Products 

No Tox Life was created by mother and daughter team Sandie and Callie who are committed to developing their own plant based, natural and super effective products, which are now sold at hundreds of independent stores across the country. While they do not have the full range of products that Amazon might have, the quality of the bath, body and cleaning products they have developed is second to none.

Zero Waste Stores: 20 Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

Which of these zero waste stores are you going to check out? Do you have any ethical alternatives to Amazon you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below!

For more tips and tricks on going zero waste, here are 60 easy tips for zero waste beginners.

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By Ariana Palmieri

Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

1 comment

  1. Thank you so much for compiling a list of shops for us!! This was very helpful. I am an Amazon shopper (no judging! ) but I still like to support small business. And every little bit we change CAN make a big difference.

    Debra

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