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Shopping online is convenient, and it’s an accessible option for people who live outside large cities or without access to nearby sustainable stores. While Amazon has certainly made millions of lives easier over the years, it’s unfortunately not the most ethical option when it comes to online marketplaces (learn more here).
Thankfully though, there are many wonderful alternatives! These online marketplace websites invest in small businesses, support independent artisans and makers, and showcase a commitment to ethical, sustainable business practices. Whether you need cleaning supplies, pantry staples, or some nontoxic skincare products to get you through this season, they have you covered—no matter where you live.
And for your niche needs like hardware, electronics, or gardening gear, get in touch with local businesses and thrift shops—they’ll have what you need, without the carbon emissions!
1. Thrive Market
Best For | Food & drink
Ships To | Contiguous USA
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Sustainable & organic products, gives back, carbon-neutral shipping & plastic-neutral
Thrive Market is dedicated to community. This online marketplace offers memberships with a mission, starting at just $5/month. A membership grants you access to over 6,000 sustainable and organic products (including wine!) at a fraction of the retail cost. With a curated selection that can be filtered in any number of ways based on dietary and lifestyle needs, Thrive is the perfect place to shop for pantry staples. We love the fast and free carbon-neutral shipping on orders over $49, recyclable packaging, the zero-waste warehouses, and that each membership sponsors an additional membership for a low-income family or first responder. Check out our review to learn more about Thrive!
2. Grove Collaborative
Best For | Natural household & personal care products
Ships To | Contiguous US
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Nontoxic products, CarbonNeutral® Certified & plastic-neutral
Now more than ever, we’re committed to keeping a clean, germ-free home as much as possible—and Grove Collaborative makes that easy and affordable. This certified B Corp offers flexible subscriptions that deliver eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and nontoxic household and personal care products to your home. Plus, each shipment’s carbon footprint is offset to minimize environmental impact and Grove is plastic-neutral today, with a goal to be fully plastic-free by 2025. Our founder swapped all her recurring monthly shipments from Amazon to Grove a few years ago for easy delivery of organic household goods and toiletries and recommends the site for quality alternatives. You can sign up for a subscription (which comes with free shipping!) or shop a la carte.
Best For | Clean beauty, skincare, & fragrance
Ships To | USA
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Clean brands, sustainable packaging guidelines, gives back to various causes, carries 90% women-led brands
Credo makes it easy to embrace self-care at home with its 2,000+ clean, nontoxic, and cruelty-free beauty picks. All of the products featured, from mascara to foundation, are formulated without ingredients considered dangerous, harmful, or dirty. Plus, the platform carries many of the natural and organic makeup brands we love, like ILIA and Vapour. Credo gives back a portion of every purchase. It’s never been simpler to shop for clean beauty online—all in one place.
4. Uncommon Goods
Best For | Unique & personalized gifts, home & kitchen goods, jewelry, experiences
Ships To | Worldwide
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | One-of-a-kind products & experiences, eco-friendly packaging, gives back
Uncommon Goods is a certified B Corporation offering unique and thoughtful items for every occasion—including experiences! The platform boasts a range of creative products, from constellation maps to self-care kits to online mixology classes. Most items come from independent artisans, jewelry makers, potters, and painters. With environmentally responsible packaging, a Better to Give program donating over $2.6M around the world, and fair wages for employees, we love shopping at Uncommon Goods for almost everything.
For the newest releases, check out Bookshop which supports independent booksellers. This B Corp gives 10 percent of sales to an earnings pool that’s evenly divided between its partners—you can even pick a specific local bookstore to support with your orders! Bookshop gives away over 80 percent of its profit margin to stores, vendors, and authors, making it our go-to over other retailers. If you’re hoping to thrift your books, we also suggest Better World Books—another B Corp—offering bookworms, students, and children alike access to gently used books at affordable price points.
6. Package Free
Best For | Reusable bath & body goods, home & kitchen, bulk buying
Ships To | Worldwide
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Zero & low-waste practices, gives back to various causes
You could probably tell by its name, but Package Free aims to make the world a lot less “trashy.” As a low-waste space, the company collaborates with eco-friendly brands to offer everything from mouthwash tablets and reusable ear swabs to stainless steel food trays and silicone sandwich bags. It ships the products using paper tape or wrapping, and upcycled or recycled boxes, which are 100 percent recyclable and compostable. To save money and curb CO2 emissions, you can bulk-buy items like bamboo toothbrushes and mason jars in packs of two to 12. Bundles are also available! Our editor personally vouches for Package Free’s subscription option for household essentials like laundry detergent, razor refills, and shampoo bars.
Best For | Custom, vintage, & handmade goods, furniture, clothing, jewelry, decor
Ships To | Worldwide (dependent on seller)
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Powered by renewable energy, offsets 100% carbon emissions, gives back via Etsy Uplift Initiative
During times of economic uncertainty, it’s important to invest in small businesses wherever possible, many of whom can be found on Etsy. This worldwide B Corp sells everything from paper goods to reclaimed gold jewelry, directly from artisans and entrepreneurs. And Etsy has a serious commitment to sustainability; all operations including the marketplace are powered by renewable energy. The virtual marketplace is also the first major online shopping destination to offset 100 percent of carbon emissions from shipping. Shop small and support local makers—it’s more important (and sustainable!) than ever.
8. The Little Market
Best For | Baskets, bowls, hampers, & decor
Ships To | Worldwide
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Nonprofit, supports artisans in underserved communities, customizable options
The Little Market launched as a nonprofit fair trade shop, anchored in the fundamental belief that every person has the right to safe working environments and fair wages. Since 2013, the team has worked with over 70 artisan groups in more than two dozen countries. The brand has also provided 1.25M+ hours of dignified work for underserved communities, including survivors of sex trafficking, refugees, and people with disabilities. Now, you can find homeware, hand-poured candles, handwoven laundry baskets, and everything in between to bring an artisan look to your home, where each product has its own story.
9. BLK + GRN
Best For | Black-owned natural products
Ships To | USA & Canada
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Supports Black artisans, sustainable products, eco-friendly packaging
The team behind BLK + GRN has seen firsthand how a product’s harmful ingredients can have damaging effects on members of the Black community. Founded by Dr. Kristian, the natural lifestyle enthusiast wanted to give a voice to Black owners and artisans, and provide a space to highlight their all natural and nontoxic goods. Carefully curated and quality-tested by Black health experts, the products range from hair care and home goods to multivitamins and makeup. (And it’s shipped in eco-friendly packaging!) If it’s not sustainably made, plant-based, or cruelty-free, you definitely won’t see it on BLK + GRN.
10. Earth Hero
Best For | Baby & kids
Ships To | USA, Puerto Rico, & Canada
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Sustainable & safe products, gives back to environmental causes
Earth Hero’s mission is to empower you to make conscious choices. This certified B Corp finds curated brands through its five-step sourcing process, ensuring that every product is as sustainable and safe as possible. From zero-waste kits to sustainable denim to baby essentials (including strollers and toys!), there are thousands of thoughtful goods here to consider. Earth Hero also offsets the carbon footprint of your order, and is a partner of 1% For The Planet, giving back to environmental causes. Consciously update your lifestyle with just one order.
— UK-Focused Marketplaces —
Best For | Plastic-free gifts & gifting essentials
Ships To | Worldwide
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Zero-waste, gives back to various causes, refill programs
Inspired by her own plastic-free journey, founder Beth Noy wanted to make a more sustainable lifestyle possible for others. She launched the UK-based Plastic Freedom shop in 2018, and today, this one-stop zero-waste shop curates collections for beauty, clothing, home & dining and, our personal favorite, gifts. Whether you’re looking for plastic-free wrapping and adhesives, gift sets, or (refillable!) individual items, this marketplace has it all. With every order, Plastic Freedom gives back, including planting over 67,000 trees to date!
Best For | UK books, eBooks, & vinyl
Ships To | Worldwide; currently UK only due to COVID-19
Why It’s Better Than Amazon | Supports UK bookstores
For over a decade, the team members behind Hive have been putting their own money—and values—where their mouths are. This UK-based online bookstore offers more than one million books, vinyl records, gift sets, and eBooks to consumers, with free UK delivery on all orders whenever needed. Consumers are then able to choose which independent bookshop to support with their purchase. If you’d like to support a bookstore directly, Hive also has a directory of hundreds you can scope out across the UK.