Amazon, the company that catapulted founder Jeff Bezos to billionaire status (and to the edge of space), has long been touted as environmentally unfriendly; the company emits the same level of carbon emissions as the country of Norway, according to a report released by Amazon in 2019.
Its impact on the environment, and on the lives of its warehouse workers, means that many conscious consumers have switched to alternative companies that are more ethical, environmentally friendly, and aligned with their personal values.
The good news about switching from Amazon is that there are plenty of options, thanks to the myriad of ethical alternatives available to consumers and customers.
But it’s also important to acknowledge that switching from Amazon is a privilege due to all sorts of factors including affordability and accessibility.
Many people use Amazon for its delivery speed, variety of products, accessibility in rural communities, cheap pricing, and wide range of products; that’s why it’s still a step towards progress if you’re able to switch away from Amazon for some of your purchases, if not all of them.
By the way, some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Reasons To Consider Amazon Alternatives:
There are a lot of reasons to consider minimizing or eliminating your support of Amazon. For the sake of simplicity, here’s a quick rundown:
- Amazon has a significant negative impact on the environment, despite its attempts to minimize (or greenwash) its carbon footprint.
- Amazon contributes to overconsumption, which harms both laborers and the environment.
- Amazon has historically treated its employees and contractors poorly (and knows it).
- Amazon doesn’t play nice with employees who want to unionize.
- Amazon collects data about businesses that sell on its site and then uses that data (and its monopoly powers) to create and promote its own competitors.
- Amazon’s vast scale and capital have allowed it to dramatically lower prices (maybe even at a loss). This predatory pricing puts competitors out of business — and may be an antitrust issue.
- Amazon is full of more low-quality junk than ever.
- Amazon collects a lot of data about you.
- When you shop with Amazon, you’re missing out on the opportunity to support a local or independent business.
- There are a lot of great products and services that simply aren’t available on Amazon — but are sold by independent sellers (like our Goodnewspaper, for example).
The Best Alternatives to Amazon For Shopping
Package Free is an online marketplace committed to helping consumers (you and me!) find the most sustainable versions of the items they use daily. You can say goodbye to single-use plastic and hello to high-quality, long-lasting products.
What this retailer sells: Sustainable home, beauty, and kitchen products
How this retailer does good: In addition to helping consumers reduce waste in their own lives, Package Free’s shipping materials are 100% completely plastic-free — and the company works with its vendors to ensure all B2B shipments are too. Package Free is also vigorous in curating only the most-sustainable products for its site.
The retailer practices what it preaches in its office and storefront, donates to like-minded organizations, and is committed to creating content that educates and supports people. It’s clear that Package Free is thoughtful about every aspect of business, from its return policy to subscriptions.
Thrive Market is a bit like an online, ethical version of Costco. You can become a Member for roughly $5-$12/month (depending on if you pay annually or monthly) and easily do all your shopping through its site.
Our team has found that the two most helpful things about Thrive Market are:
1. You don’t have to think as hard about your shopping decisions. You can trust that a majority of Thrive Market’s offerings are going to be aligned with your interests.
2. It eliminates a lot of grocery trips. Many of us started shopping online for a lot of our home and kitchen needs during the pandemic — but Thrive Market takes things to the next level. Rather than having a bunch of random one-off packages arriving at your house all week long, everything you need shows up in one Thrive Market shipment.
What this retailer sells: Thoughtfully sourced food, beauty products, cleaning supplies, wine, and more. (The kind of stuff you’d find at a grocery store — just no perishables.)
How this retailer does good: Thrive Market works to ethically source all of its products, ensures that 90% of waste in its warehouses is recycled, composted, or reused, and offers carbon-neutral shipping in sustainable packaging. The company is also a certified B Corp.
Other notes: Thrive Market offers a full refund if you cancel within 30 days.
There’s a long history of harmful ingredients creating damaging effects for people of color. BLK + GRN set out to change this by creating a marketplace “to normalize access to non-toxic products targeted to Black women” and “to fund Black women entrepreneurs who create non-toxic personal care products.”
BLK + GRN ensures that none of the products listed on its site include harmful ingredients like parabens, petroleum, coal tar, heavy metals, or any of the others on its "Toxic Twenty" list.
According to BLK + GRN, “all Black artisans are carefully chosen by Black health experts who know what an all-natural product truly looks like.” This retailer is providing a service to Black Americans looking for products that do-good — and for all Americans to support Black entrepreneurs and businesses.
When you shop the curated products from BLK + GRN, you're supporting Black-owned businesses and ensuring that your home is filled with products that are plant-based, sustainably made, ethically made, and cruelty-free.
What this retailer sells: All-natural bath, body, skin, and beauty products
How this retailer does good: This Black-owned business supports other Black-owned businesses. All products on BLK + GRN’s site go through a rigorous vetting process.
→ Check out our other recommendations on how and where to find Black-owned businesses to support.
We’ve been huge fans of Made Trade since the company was founded in 2018. Made Trade makes it incredibly easy to ethically and sustainably shop for home goods, furniture, gifts, and clothes.
All products sold on Made Trade are vetted for sustainability and equity — plus they meet at least two of Made Trade's eight core values: Fair Trade, Handcrafted, Made in USA, BIPOC-Owned, Sustainable Materials, Recycled or Upcycled, Vegan, or Woman-Owned
Made Trade also makes it easy to search for products aligned with any of those specific values.
What this retailer sells: Ethical and sustainable home decor
How this retailer does good: In addition to a thoughtful vetting process, Made Trade is woman-owned, family-owned, and Climate Neutral certified.
Bookshop is hands-down the best way to ethically buy books online. Its website is easy to use, it makes discovering your next great book simple, and most importantly, every purchase supports an independent bookstore of your choosing.
According to Bookshop, “Amazon sells over 60% of all books in the US and is growing. That shift threatens the future of bookstores and will hurt readers, authors, and publishers who rely on a diverse, healthy ecosystem for books.” Founders created Bookshop to allow book lovers to shop online and do good at the same time.
What this retailer sells: Books!
How this retailer does good: Bookshop helps independent bookstores thrive. Plus, it’s a B Corp and Climate Neutral certified.
→ Looking for more online bookstores that aren't Amazon? Explore our guide.
Libro.fm is like the ethical version of Audible (which is owned by Amazon). Like Audible, Libro.fm has an easy-to-use app, a $15 monthly membership cost, and operates on a “credits” model.
But unlike Audible, every time you download an audiobook, you directly support the independent bookstore of your choosing (instead of a trillion dollar corporation).
If you love audiobooks, you have to check out its free audiobook offering.
What this retailer sells: Audiobooks!
How this retailer does good: Libro.fm is fantastic at pointing readers (whoops — listeners!) to audiobooks from diverse and underrepresented authors. Plus, they’re a Social Purpose Corporation, committed to serving readers and bookstores above all else.
→ Looking for more Audible alternatives for audiobooks? Explore our guide.
If you used Amazon to mostly shop for home essentials like cleaning supplies, it’ll be easy to switch over to Grove Collaborative. Its site exclusively offers products that meet all four of its core values: uncompromisingly healthy, beautifully effective, ethically produced, and cruelty-free.
The Grove Collaborative site (and app) makes it easy to order products and get regular refills shipped at an appropriate cadence. The company will never sneakily charge you for a new shipment without letting you know (three times) first.
What this retailer sells: Cleaning supplies, personal care products, pantry staples, and more
How this retailer does good: All of Grove’s shipments are carbon neutral and its products are plastic neutral. It’s also a certified B Corp.
Uncommon Goods is passionate about discovering creative and unique goods from all over the world. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, this is the place to start.
The company also makes it easy to shop for eco-friendly products, goods from Black makers, or women-owned businesses.
What this retailer sells: Mostly gifts, but also great for home goods, kitchenware, and jewelry
How this retailer does good: Uncommon Goods is a founding B Corp (meaning it’s been an ethical business for a long time) and donates $1 for every purchase you make. In addition to its products always serving a purpose and solving a problem, its offerings have always been leather, feather, and fur-free.
One of Etsy’s taglines is “Buy directly from someone who puts their heart and soul into making something special.” This is what makes Etsy great. Rather than giving your money to big corporations, every Etsy purchase is an opportunity to support an individual creator or entrepreneur. It’s also a perfect place to find the next cool thing that’s not yet available anywhere else.
What this retailer sells: Unique gifts, craft supplies, handmade items, and custom products
How this retailer does good: Etsy uses 100% renewable energy for the power used by its data centers, global offices, and its remote employees — plus the company offsets carbon emissions on all shipping and packaging. Plus, Etsy just helps creatives and makers make money doing what they love.
Other notes: We’ve been really impressed with how Etsy has shown up for global crises. Check out our feature article on a Ukrainian Etsy seller who used her boosted Etsy income to make a difference in her community.
It’s also important to mention that Etsy has been in hot water with many creators recently (see the Etsy strike in early 2022) — but it's still a good starting place to find artists you love and hopefully support them on their own websites too.
EarthHero’s goal is to make sustainable shopping simple — and it lives up to that mission. Every product on EarthHero’s site goes through its “proprietary 5-Step Sourcing Methodology.”
The online shop has a great selection of gifts, home goods, and kitchen supplies, but it goes above and beyond with thoughtfully curated products in tech, pets, sports, and travel categories.
What this retailer sells: All-things sustainable and ethical
How this retailer does good: EarthHero is a certified B Corp, a member of 1% for the Planet, and allows you to shop by values like Vegan, Plastic-free, LGBTQ+ Empowering, Made in the USA, Black-owned, and more.
Every year, the world throws away a significant amount of perfectly good products. It doesn’t have to be this way — and eBay plays a huge role in helping reduce this. As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
When you choose to buy a used product (whether it’s tech, clothing, furniture, or whatever else) on eBay, you’re extending the life of that product and ensuring nothing new needs to be manufactured. Selling things you’re no longer using offers the same benefits. (We listed eBay as one of our favorite “online thrift stores.”)
Switching from buying new products on Amazon to buying used products from eBay can have a significant positive impact. (Plus, you’ve gotta love the dopamine rush of winning a bidding war.)
What this retailer sells: Basically everything
How this retailer does good: In addition to making it easy to buy second-hand products and extend the life of products you no longer use, eBay also supports two initiatives that give back.
eBay for Charity allows sellers to donate all or part of their proceeds to a charity they care about. It also makes it easy for buyers to shop with sellers aligned with their values.
The eBay Foundation supports nonprofits that “address and remove barriers to entrepreneurship for people who identify with historically excluded groups.” The foundation has granted more than $76 million since 1998.
When we’re talking about “clean” beauty and home products, the word “clean” doesn’t carry a lot of meaning. There are no set standards for what ingredients do or don’t deserve to carry the label. That is, until Credo came along.
Credo created The Dirty List and The Credo Clean Standard to define products that don’t use ingredients that are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, allergies, environmental harm, and toxics.
Its online site only sells products that align with these standards — so it’s an easy way to cut down on the amount of time you do researching the products you buy.
What this retailer sells: Clean beauty products
How this retailer does good: A portion of every purchase on Credo is donated to the nonprofit The Lipstick Angels.
While most of the marketplaces on this list are purpose-driven for-profit companies, The Little Market is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The organization’s primary mission is to support women’s economic autonomy — and this is done by selling fair-trade products from artisans and makers around the world.
The Little Market is currently sourcing from 70 artisan groups in over 25 countries.
What this retailer sells: Home organization, decor, kitchenware, and candles
How this retailer does good: Its core values include: empowering women, paying fairly & promptly, prioritizing marginalized individuals, promoting a safe and dignified workplace, ensuring cultural maintenance, cultivating environmental consciousness, and advocating for human rights & social justice. The Little Market has partnered to raise more than $100,000 for organizations like Homeboy Industries, Africa Outreach Project, and Human Rights Watch.
Ten Thousand Villages celebrates craft and culture by bringing the work of global makers to the online marketplace. As a Fair Trade company, it pays all its artisans a living wage in safe work conditions. The company’s name comes from inviting shoppers to join in its work to empower makers in (now, way more than) ten thousand villages.
What this retailer sells: Artisan-made gifts and accessories
How this retailer does good: Ten Thousand Villages focuses on long-term relationships with all its artisans — and approaches all its work through a Fair Trade lens.
Describing itself as “the world’s largest impact marketplace,” NOVICA sells products handmade by talented artisans from around the world.
Every purchase helps artisans support families, uplift communities, and overcome adversity.
With investments and grants from the IFC and National Geographic — and more than 20 years of experience — NOVICA isn’t going anywhere.
What this retailer sells: Artisan-made gifts