It’s easier than ever before to shop for ethical, zero waste and eco-friendly products online. Supermarkets and high street shops are being frustratingly slow on the uptake. But many online businesses are opening up with zero waste alternatives. When most of our shopping is done online now anyway, it makes sense to switch to online shops that do good. Here’s a collection of the best ethical and eco-friendly UK online shops that I’ve discovered.
The Ethical Superstore is the first place I head to when I want to buy something as chances are they will stock it. And it will be ethical! From clothes, to groceries, to children’s toys, they really do have nearly everything. Not everything is zero waste but each product will have at least one ethical credential such as vegan or organic. You can search for items based on which criteria matter to you.
Peace with the Wild
Peace with the Wild is my favourite online shop at the moment, I’ve been buying a lot from them recently! My basket included plastic-free hair tyes, shaving cream (which came with a free metal safety razor), fluoride toothpaste tablets, bamboo toothbrushes and organic soap. They sell plastic-free and eco-friendly products with the aim to promote a sustainable lifestyle. They’ve also just launched their own skincare range.
Plastic Freedom is the first online shop I found (well was recommended to me) that is exclusively focused on selling plastic-free products (hence the name!). It’s a new business that’s going from strength to strength and growing its stock all the time. Definitely one to check out. They are always sharing offers in their emails, so it’s worth signing up to their newsletter.
Boobalou offer a lot of unusual poducts I’ve not seen anywhere else such as reusable bin liners and mason jar adaptors. They offer lots of practical options to help you reuse and reduce. Some of their products such as their bamboo toothbrushes are much cheaper than other online stores.
Lush is the high-street go to for ethical, eco-friendly and zerowaste beauty products. And they have an online shop! I’ve tried other shampoo and conditioner bars but they don’t seem to get along with my hair. But Lush’s options make my hair soft and shiny.
They also now offer plastic-free makeup which I’ve just bought to try out. Fingers crossed it works! I’ve not seen any other waste free makeup apart from some that do refills. As long as you make sure you buy the solid products from Lush, it will be plastic-free. However, Lush do encourage you to return any plastic bottles to them for reuse which is a bonus!
Sorry guys, as the name Earthwise Girls suggests, this one focuses on eco-friendly products for women. They offer a lot of sanitary product options from moon cups, to organic tampons to reusable pads. But they do sell some other things too such as water bottles, and travel items.
Some of the above shops stock Georganics products but here you can get them all directly. They mainly offer tooth hygiene related products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. It’s all plastic free. They even sell an electric toothbrush that can be recycled.
In my experience, Rapanui is the best place for affordable, sustainable, ethical and zero-waste fashion in the UK. No plastic microfibres here! They mainly sell t-shirts but you can also find knitwear and shirts on their site. Most of their t-shirt designs are in partnership with charities and profits go towards supporting them. You can even design your own t-shirt!
Rapanui promote circular economy fashion (way to get me excited!) and request that you return your Rapanui clothes to them when they wear out so they can be turned into new clothes. In my opinion, this has to be the future of fashion.
World of Books
The most ethical and eco-friendly book will always be one that is secondhand. World of Books is the place for secondhand books (and it means avoiding Amazon). I can’t believe it took me this long to discover this shop!
By going secondhand, you’re saving trees and preventing books from being recycled or ending up in landfill. Free delivery and affordable prices (some books are as cheap as £2.49) there’s really no reason not to turn to World of Books for your books (and DVDs and CDs if you still buy those).
Just to clarify, I’m not actively boycotting Amazon even though I disapprove of the company. I try to limit my use of Amazon whenever I can but it can be a struggle, especially when I’m on a budget. I also own a kindle e-reader which makes Amazon difficult to avoid.
It’s important to be aware that online shopping has its own impacts on the environment. To reduce this try not to buy just one item at a time. Stock up on things you will need in the near future so you’re making the most of one delivery. Only buy things you actually need. For example, do you really need travel cutlery when you have normal cutlery at home? I’ve suggested UK based shops because many of them offer products that have been manufactured in the UK. This helps reduce emissions from importing goods.
When it comes to shopping for sustainability, the worst thing you can do is throw away something you are already using simply to replace it with an eco-friendly alternative. That is not sustainable, the most green option will always be the one you’re already using!
I’m slowly swapping to eco-friendly products as I use up the ones I have. But I’m sticking with my plastic hairbrush, plastic tupperware and takeaway containers until they break. I’m currently using old jars and takeaway containers to store my shampoo and soap bars. Try to adapt and reuse what you already have before looking elsewhere.
Do you already shop at any ethical and eco-friendly shops? What’s your favourite?
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