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The big list of ethical alternatives to Amazon (25+ stores!)

The big list of ethical alternatives to Amazon. For some, Amazon is a necessary evil. But for most, it’s a tool that aids the exploitation of people and planet.

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The big list of ethical alternatives to Amazon.

Because for some, Amazon is a necessary evil that gets them the things they need. But for most, it’s a tool that aids overconsumption and the exploitation of people and planet.

I get that Amazon Prime is easy. And that the one-stop-shop aspect makes its so convenient. But all that ease just breeds an ethical nightmare.

Do we really need to be able to have near-instant access to any whim that flits across our mind? (Our planet and the people being exploited by Jeff Bezos’ greed would certainly say no.)

Ideally, we’ll be purchasing as little as possible. Replacing one unnecessary item with another is hardly a sustainability win.

But when you have a need for something, rather than supporting Amazon as a default, use it as an absolute last resort. Let me help with this big list of ethical alternatives to Amazon.

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Need a run-down on why Amazon’s so awful? Here’s a comprehensive post.

Some of these links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you purchase something through them – at no extra cost to you. That’s just one way you can support this site!

All-purpose shopping

Ethical alternatives to Amazon are hard to find because of the site’s all-encompassing convenience. These sellers are here to fight back.

  • eBay. eBay seems to have gone out of style for a lot of people but it’s an amazing place to find new, like-new, or gently used items of any kind. eBay’s especially good if you’re not looking for something super specific and have the time/inclination to browse.
  • Etsy. Etsy is an incredible resource for supporting small businesses – particularly if you’re in a place where there aren’t many sustainably-minded small businesses. I particularly like Etsy for purchasing handmade linen clothes, sustainable jewelry, or cool vintage fabric for sewing projects.
  • Natural Collection. Natural Collection offers a curated range of all sorts of ethical and sustainable products from clothes to home goods to kid’s toys. UK-based.
  • DoneGood. DoneGood curates a list of unique goods that are made in a way that’s good for people and planet. I like that there’s a large selection of goods that have already been audited once – it makes my own research much less difficult.
  • Official Black Wall Street. While not every business ticks the ethical or sustainable box, if you’re looking to support a Black-owned business this is the site. Tons of businesses in all different categories that you can also search by location.
The big list of ethical alternatives to Amazon - Books - PollyBarks.com

Books, ebooks, & audiobooks

Kindle and Audible have a hold on the market, but there are ethical alternatives to Amazon when it comes to books. Note: AbeBooks is owned by Amazon.

  • Alibris. Alibris is an online marketplace for independent sellers of books, music, and movies. While you won’t be guaranteed to find everything you want, the selection is incredible.
  • Biblio. This site offers local bookstores global reach. It’s a 501c(3) non-profit that also seeks to provide books to communities in need. Win-win.
  • Better World Books. Better World Books not only sells books, but is a Founding B Corporation that helps fight poverty through education. Every time you buy a book from them, they donate a book to someone in need!
  • Overdrive. Ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines from libraries around the world.

Need some books to put on your reading list? Check out my zero waste book recommendations!

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Food

Avoid Amazon and its subsidiary Whole Foods when possible by supporting these companies.

  • Thrive Market. Thrive Market offers a range of organic goods at very reasonable prices. They’re not all zero waste friendly, but there is some decent selection.
  • Azure Standard. If you’re looking for organic bulk goods, this is it. Big bags, minimal plastic, and a ton of great options. I wrote a full blog post all about Azure Standard and buying bulk online if you want to know more.
  • Misfit Market. They sell produce that normally wouldn’t be sold in stores in a subscription box service and – unlike most other boxes – actually deliver to my area! If you want to get 25% off your first order (and cut me a sweet 25% off my next order), use code COOKWME-RV4FIL.
  • Market Wagon. If you’re looking to connect with local farmers (Midwest only), this is an incredible option! Just enter in your zip code and see who’s selling. I’m not sure how it is in on the farmers’ end, but for consumers it’s a great way to get farm produce without having to search too hard. Best of all, free delivery if you can make it to a local pickup spot!
  • Thrive Market. Thrive Market offers a range of organic goods at very reasonable prices. They’re not all zero waste friendly, but there is some decent selection.
  • Azure Standard. If you’re looking for organic bulk goods, this is it. Big bags, minimal plastic, and a ton of great options. I wrote a full blog post all about Azure Standard and buying bulk online if you want to know more.
  • Misfit Market. They sell produce that normally wouldn’t be sold in stores in a subscription box service and – unlike most other boxes – actually deliver to my area! If you want to get 25% off your first order (and cut me a sweet 25% off my next order), use code COOKWME-RV4FIL.
  • Market Wagon. If you’re looking to connect with local farmers (Midwest only), this is an incredible option! Just enter in your zip code and see who’s selling. I’m not sure how it is in on the farmers’ end, but for consumers it’s a great way to get farm produce without having to search too hard. Best of all, free delivery if you can make it to a local pickup spot!
The big list of ethical alternatives to Amazon - Clothing - PollyBarks.com

Clothing

I didn’t even realize people bought clothes there, but there are endless ethical alternatives to Amazon in the fashion space!

  • Pact Apparel. Is it TMI if I tell you I’m wearing their underwear as I type this? Pact offers sustainable cotton basics – perfect for the undergarments or basic tees/tanks for everyday wear.
  • thredUP. The perfect online alternative to thrift shopping. There are tons of almost-new clothes available at deep discounts. Plus, thredUP always ships with zero plastic packaging, which is a nice bonus!
  • For Days. If you need simple basics, these are them. For Days offers a closed-loop system AKA they’ll take back your shirts when they’re tattered, reuse them, and send you a new version at a discounted rate!
  • Organic Basics. I have and love some of their very comfortable bralettes. I like their style, ethical business sense, and that they have a fund that supports “grassroots activists and organizations that address our environmental crises”.
  • REI. I like that REI not only has incredibly high-quality goods, but is a consumers’ co-op (basically, owned and governed democratically by consumers). They’re also working hard to go fully-green energy, carbon-neutral, and zero waste in 2020.
  • Patagonia. Patagonia considers itself an “activist” company – yes! They give 1% of all sales to environmental groups, are a Certified B Coropration, and donated $10M they received from Trump’s tax cuts to environmental groups in 2017.
The big list of ethical alternatives to Amazon - PollyBarks.com

Home goods & cleaning supplies

While I’m a big proponent of DIY-ing what you can and using what you have, sometimes thrifting or DIY cleaners aren’t enough.

  • Mighty Nest. I’m not a huge fan of the subscription box model since it can lead to the consumption of things you don’t need. But Mighty Nest has some great products for the first-time zero waste enthusiast and the low cost of their first box is worth it. For $3 you can choose what you get in your first box, like 3 dryer balls or 5 produce bags.
  • Hippie Haven. Run by a zero waste advocate and an all-female team, Bestowed Essentials offers a large range of carefully created and selected cleaning goods.
  • TJ Maxx. I am not a big fan of the TJ Maxx model AKA tons of super random, adorable stuff that you really think you need… but you really don’t. But. Their home goods section is stocked to the brim with random, discounted items to help in your zero waste journey if you can’t source them second-hand.
The big list of ethical alternatives to Amazon - Toiletries - PollyBarks.com

Makeup & toiletries

Ethical alternatives to Amazon in the makeup & toiletries space abound.

  • Credo Beauty. The site has a massive collection of clean beauty products at all different price points. I’m not sure who’s buying makeup from Amazon, but if you are… Credo Beauty is a good alternative.
  • Lush. If I had the money to play around with, I’d definitely be all Lush, all the time. Unfortunately, it can be a bit pricey but literally every product I’ve ever tried there was absolutely lovely.
  • The Detox Market. A curated list of green beauty products (hair, skincare, makeup, etc) that focuses on pure ingredients with cruelty-free formulas. I suggest you do additional research on any of the brands listed for more specifics on their sustainability records.
  • I have a whole list of zero waste makeup brands you can check out. I tried to rank them all by budget and different options like vegan, zero waste packaging, etc.

That’s it for now! If you’ve got businesses or sites you’ve personally supported and can recommend, I’d love it if you drop them in the comments so I can add them to the list of ethical alternatives to Amazon.

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