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Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Amazon to Know

ethical shopping amazon

Looking for eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to Amazon? The good news is you don’t need to look too far. I’ve got nine online sustainable marketplaces for you to try today for almost all of your needs.

In May 2021 it was reported that Amazon had a sales income of €44bn in Europe in 2020, yet paid no corporation tax. Despite Amazon recording their highest income yet Amazon’s European unit apparently made a €1.2bn loss and therefore paid no tax. This was at the same time as many bricks and mortar shops were forced to permanently close down,

And to rub salt in the wound, the Guardian reports that the unit was granted €56m in tax credits. These credits can be used by Amazon to offset any future tax bills should they turn a profit. The company has €2.7bn worth of carried forward losses stored up, which can be used against any tax payable on future profits. This means it will be quite some time before Amazon pays any tax.

Of course, it’s not just tax avoidance. Amazon has been linked to human rights abuses. Their business model is based on over-consumption. And the company’s carbon footprint has been calculated as being larger than that of Switzerland.

The Best Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Amazon

The best sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives to Amazon

The good news is that there are lots of great eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to Amazon out there. These ethical online stores cater to a wide variety of ethics, budgets, and product requirements. Let’s look at nine of the best out there now.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running. Some brands have also paid a fee to be included in this roundup. This is denoted by **.

&Keep

Dorset-based &Keep* sells a wide range of carefully curated, eco-friendly, reusable, and sustainable products. If you are looking for plastic-free products in particular, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the majority of &Keep’s products are plastic-free. Where there is plastic, &Keep like to ensure it’s the BPA-free kind and kept to an absolute minimum.

What’s more, all of &Keep’s products are cruelty-free and not tested on animals. And for extra eco points, all of their packaging is always completely plastic-free and uses recycled materials.  &Keep also regularly donate to environmental causes and charitable organisations that work far beyond their reach.

Sign up to their newsletter and receive 10% off your first order.

Content

Content beauty's ethical product

Content* sells a thoughtfully sourced selection of natural and organic beauty brands. Their collection of beauty products avoids many controversial skincare ingredients. These ingredients Content avoids are listed here, as there are simply too many to mention in this space! What’s more, none of the brands they stock test their products on animals, nor do they instruct anyone to do so on their behalf.  It’s reassuring to know that you are in safe hands when you buy from Content, and that they’ve done all the hard work for you.

And it’s not just beauty products that Content sells. You’ll also find departments selling ethical clothing, vintage clothing, recycled and handcrafted jewellery, fairtrade and vegan shoes, books, and zero waste living products. It’s a veritable one-stop shop!

Sign up to Content’s weekly newsletter and get 15% off your first order when you spend over £40. 

Big Green Smile

From make-up and beauty products to natural cleaners and baby care, Big Green Smile* is one of the biggest online retailers of natural, organic cruelty-free, and eco-friendly products in the UK. I stop by Big Green Smile particularly when I’m looking to buy bulk products, such as washing up liquid or soap. I find the prices really reasonable and they often run great promotions.

Bookshop.org

If it’s books that you are after then Bookshop.org* is the place to go as an ethical and eco-friendly alternative to Amazon. Bookshop.org is an online bookshop that, unlike Amazon, has a mission to financially support local, independent bookshops.

You can shop your local bookshop, or shop from a specific local bookshop to support, and they’ll receive the full profit from your order. If you don’t have a specific store in mind that you’d like to support, then your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookshops. In fact, Bookshop.org give away over 75% of their profit margin to stores, publications, and authors.

What’s more, they’re a certified B-Corp. This means that Bookshop.org meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

EcoWareMarket

sustainable alternatives to Amazon

EcoWareMarket** is a new online marketplace that connects consumers with eco-friendly suppliers, manufacturers, brands, and artists from across the UK and Europe.

Featuring a growing inventory of UK or EU-made eco-friendly clothing and accessories, stationery, toys, hygiene and beauty products, kitchenware, and more, it’s a great place to look for your daily essentials. You can also find unique items here, like toys made from residual sugar cane waste.

As it is a marketplace, you can connect directly with suppliers, making it easier to find the products you are looking for. As EcoWareMarket is new, do keep a lookout for its growing product range.

Sign up to the EcoWareMarket mailing list, and take 10% off your first order.

Ethical Superstore

Ethical Superstore*, one of the original stalwarts of the ethical and eco-friendly shopping scene, sells a massive range of eco products. From fair trade, organic, vegan, and eco-friendly products in practically every category you could ever imagine – from clothing, to toys, to food, to cleaning products and more. The sheer range of ethical products makes them a really strong sustainable and eco-friendly Amazon alternative.

What’s reassuring is that each item sold at Ethical Superstore adheres to at least one of Ethical Superstore’s seven key ethics. These are:

  • fair trade
  • organic
  • eco-friendly
  • supports education, health & wellness
  • is locally produced
  • or supports charitable causes.

It would be easy to be overwhelmed by choice. Thankfully Ethical Superstore allows you to shop by product ethics. Here you can filter products by a huge number of ethics to find the products that suit you.

I use them for buying household staples and am always impressed by their use of recycled and repurposed packaging.

Good Club

Good Club zero-waste delivery service

Do you use Amazon to do your store cupboard food shop? Then try Good Club* as an ethical alternative. I have used their services a couple of times now to buy ethical and organic store cupboard staples. I am always really impressed with their reasonable pricing, and their delivery service. Here your order is delivered in reusable boxes, which you empty and then place outside your house. The boxes are then collected the next day for reuse. You don’t even need to be at home.

And even better, Good Club also offers a zero-waste food delivery service. Here you can stock up on dried bulk items such as pasta, rice, oats, and more. These come in canisters that you decant into your own jars and then return to Good Club for reuse. Genius!

New customers use the discount code AW10 to enjoy free delivery and £10 off your first order. 

Oxfam Online

The eco-friendliest option is always to shop second-hand. Thankfully Oxfam Online* makes shopping second-hand easy. Here you can pick up a multitude of items – from ladies, gents, and kid’s clothing and accessories – to books, music, collectibles, and more.

Oxfam online makes a great sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to Amazon. This is because as well as their massive secondhand inventory, you can also shop their Sourced by Oxfam range online. This is a collection of eco-friendly cleaning products, fairtrade food items, ethical gifts and more, that help you live more sustainably. All profits also support Oxfam’s work helping to end poverty.

Wearth

Eco-friendly alternatives to Amazon

Wearth* is an online marketplace partnering with eco-friendly and ethical UK brands. They sell a huge range of eco-friendly products, such as zero-waste products, ethical fashion products, sustainable toiletries, and more. If you are facing decision fatigue, then you can shop from each department by your values. Simply tick the boxes that match your values, such as plastic-free, refillable, made in the UK, vegan-friendly, and more. You are then only served eco-products that match your ethics.

Read more on my write-up of Wearth.

Came across any other great sustainable alternatives to Amazon that you would recommend? Do let me know!

Home, Home and Garden

The Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly Toilet Roll

plastic-free toilet paper uk

Looking for the ultimate guide to sustainable and eco-friendly toilet roll? Let me talk you through the options available in the UK right now. From plastic-free brands to recycled toilet paper brands, and more. And for those of you who love a spreadsheet, then you’re in for a treat!

In 2019 I wrote a guide to the best plastic-free toilet paper. I wasn’t sure how interested Moral Fibres readers would be in this topic, but boy, was it a hot one. It turned out that people were very invested in toilet paper. I then found out last year that people are incredibly invested in toilet paper when people starting hoarding toilet paper and fighting over it in shops. I don’t know about you, but at this stage of the pandemic, last March feels like a lifetime ago. So, for old times sake, let’s bring back the loo roll chat.

What has changed since 2019 is the proliferation of eco-friendly toilet roll companies. I swear, in the last 12 months, every time I browse Instagram or Facebook, I’m served an advert by yet another eco-friendly toilet paper brand.

The choices can be overwhelming, so let’s see if I can help you navigate the toilet roll maze, by looking at the various eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical factors to consider.

guide to eco-friendly toilet roll in the UK, from the plastic-free brands to the recycled paper brands

What Is The Most Eco-Friendly Toilet Roll?

When it comes to the most eco-friendly toilet roll, as with any item, the most eco-friendly option is always the reusable option. Family cloth* as it’s cringingly known as. Single-use products always have a higher environmental impact. However, family cloth isn’t always the most appealing swap. My family certainly aren’t on board with the idea, so we stick with disposable toilet roll. You do what works for you, and continue to remember that oil and gas companies created the concept of the individual carbon footprint to make you think that climate change is your fault, and not the fault of the oil and gas industry.

If family cloth isn’t for you, then it turns out it’s incredibly tricky to say for sure what is the most eco-friendly toilet roll available right now. Some brands use virgin bamboo, and ship their products from China, yet are plastic-free. Meanwhile, some brands use recycled paper and make their products in the UK, yet wrap their toilet roll in plastic. Some brands wrap their toilet paper in individual wrappers, adding to their carbon footprint. Other brands don’t but bleach their toilet paper with chlorine to make it whiter. In short, there is a lot to consider. There’s also the matter of budget – some brands cost almost 3 times as much as others for the same amount of toilet paper.

To help you navigate this tricky toilet paper decision-making, I’ve scoured shops and the internet for as many eco-friendly toilet rolls I could find. I’ve then scored their eco-credentials. In fact, I’ve put together the ultimate spreadsheet, allowing you to quickly compare brands and chose a toilet roll that fits with your values and potentially your budget. I love a good spreadsheet, so hopefully, you’ll love this one too.

Guide to plastic-free eco-friendly toilet paper

It’s quite tricky making tables accessible. Therefore if you are reading this on a smartphone or tablet, then it’s probably best to turn your device on it’s side to view this table properly.

I’ve tried to factor in as many eco-purchasing decision-making factors as possible. However, the larger the table becomes, the less accessible it gets, so I have stopped here.

The Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Roll Brands

The brands I assessed for this chart were as follows.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

Please note, I based pricing on the largest pack I could find, so there may be discrepancies in the price per 100 sheets if you buy a smaller quantity.

What Eco-Friendly Factors Should I Prioritise?

If family cloth isn’t for you, then you might be wondering what eco-friendly factors that you should prioritise when it comes to buying eco-friendly toilet paper.

This question was tricky in 2019, and it’s still tricky now. It’s all down to your own personal ethical values and priorities.

Personally, here what I prioritise:

Materials

I still think that the most eco-friendly toilet roll is one that is made from recycled materials, rather than using virgin materials (no matter how fast-growing these materials are). Producing items from recycled materials does tend to be a less environmentally damaging activity.

I also worry that the rise in popularity of bamboo could see bamboo crops being cultivated on land where its cultivation displaces food crops or places pressure on regional water supplies.

Manufacturing Location

I favour toilet paper made in the UK or EU. This is because, depending on where you read, shipping products by boat is either terrible in terms of carbon emissions or incredibly efficient in terms of carbon emissions.  Whatever side of the argument you take, then, either way, shipping a product all the way around the world to simply use once to wipe our bums and then flush down the toilet, to me seems to be such an incredible waste of resources.  

There are also huge unregulated issues with human rights when it comes to shipping and the people who work in the shipping industry.  These include abuse, slavery, and unsafe working conditions which are beyond the control and scope of toilet roll producers.

Packaging  

I would always pick a brand of toilet paper wrapped in plastic that was made in the UK from recycled paper, over a plastic-free alternative that was shipped from the other side of the world. The good news is that paper packaging, which used to be the norm on toilet paper, is finally coming back. It’s great to see brands like Sainsbury’s offering paper-wrapped toilet paper.

I also avoid the brands that wrap their toilet paper in individual wrappers because.  This paper usage feels completely unnecessary as many other brands are able to package their toilet paper without wrapping their toilet rolls individually, without any problem.

Cost & Accessibility

Cost is also a huge issue. Advising people to spend £40+ on 5 or 6 months’ worth of toilet paper is hardly intersectional. Not everyone has the financial ability to bulk buy eco-friendly toilet roll. And that’s before we’ve even thought about the logistics of storing 48 toilet rolls. Being able to pick up a four-pack or nine-pack of toilet paper locally can be a really important factor that can’t be overlooked in this discussion.

In short, you do what’s best for you.