Finding green products is becoming easier and easier. More and more companies have finally understood that producing and selling environmentally friendly products is the future. However, there are still quite difficult to find good online shops selling green products. Every time one goes down, it seems like two new pops up.
And not all of them can be recommended due to high prices, long shipping time, fake products, etc. Believe me: I have tried to order something online, just to figure out (while the product was being shipped) that the online store did no longer exist…
It is literally “a jungle out there” – and you need to make smart decisions when trying to source green products online. This is why you probably need this article. As I expect it to be quite popular, I will make sure to update the list below once they have “gone extinct” or when better alternatives have entered the market.
Table of Contents
- New products versus second-hand
- Quick overview
- Online web shops selling (new) green products
- Great second-hand marketplaces to buy used products
- Guide: how to find a second-hand marketplace in your area
- General tips for buying eco-friendly products online
- Your suggestion(s)?
New products versus second-hand
I thought it would be natural to split this article into two categories:
Shops that sell new, green products. A good example: sunglasses made out of bamboo. Often simple consumer products that have either been produced in a sustainable way and/or in a material that does not harm the environment.
Buying stuff that has been used by other people is also eco-friendly. Reason for that is obvious: you buy something that is not in use anymore. And if you did not purchase it second-hand, you would have to buy it in a shop.
If you want to read about all the web shops in depth: no problem. Just scroll down. But in order to give a quick overview to those who just want to browse through a variety of different green webshops, I thought I would create this quick table:
|Name||Products||Price level [1-5$]||Visit|
|Amazon||Everything you can think of.||$||Click here|
|Patagonia||Outdoor clothing.||$$$||Click here|
|Buygreen||Products to make your home more eco-friendly.||$$||Click here|
|Greenhome||“Premium” green home products.||$$$$||Click here|
Also, I made a table to gather all the websites where you can buy second-hand items:
|Craigslist||No||Mainly in the USA.||Click here|
|Facebook local groups||Yes||Yes||Click here|
If you want more information about the web shops listed above, please scroll down.
Online web shops selling (new) green products
Here are a few picks from online stores:
1. Amazon: the everything store
My favorite place to buy anything – also green, eco-friendly products. You might not know this, but Amazon is, in fact, a marketplace for all businesses around the world. In other words, what you find on smaller, more niche-driven online shops will probably also be found on Amazon. You can simply go to their website, type in any green product you would want to buy and have at least 10 different types that will be shipped to your location in “no-time”.
– As previously mentioned, you can find a wide range of all types of sustainable products on Amazon.
– Great user interface.
– Global shipping. Some countries do even have their own Amazon store (UK, Germany, Australia, etc.). However, you are still welcome to purchase from the big Amazon.com shop, which is recommended. After all, they got the best product selection of environmentally friendly products.
– Great customer support. I have tried it, and it works.
– Got no direct company initiatives that support the environment. However, some of the sellers on Amazon have written things like “we plant a tree for every product sold” or so. Those phrases are, luckily, quite common.
Main product range:
This online shop is actually quite popular. With more than 3 million visitors monthly, it has become the number 1 brand to explore for people that want to buy high-quality, eco-friendly outdoor wear. But Patagonia is more than a clothing brand – they have strong values and a mission.
Probably one of the most successful companies if you want to use “environmentally friendliness” as the main criteria when judging someone. They are quite unique.
– Have supported green grassroots initiatives for more than 40 years.
– Asks their customers to think before they buy. “If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!”
– Gives one percent of their revenue to environmental groups.
– Are very transparent about their production and whole supply chain. Constantly works towards reducing their carbon footprint while shipping products. Also making sure that all Patagonia products are produced under what they on their homepage refer to as “safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions”.
– Free shipping.
– Website can be a bit slow. Tried several browsers and on mobile, all of them took quite a while to load.
– Clothing sold by Patagonia is definitely in the higher end of the price level despite being a self-produced brand. They do not succeed in delivering cheap, eco-friendly clothing.
Main product range:
Outdoor clothing & food.
Buygreen has a very clear business model: gather all green products for any occasion in one place. You could probably refer to it as an “Amazon for sustainable products”. They have a wide range of products for your office, garden, bedroom, kitchen..yeah. You name it. Buygreen even have a big selection of eco-friendly toys that you can give to the kids.
– Very wide product range. A lot of products from famous manufacturers.
– Review each product based on source material, manufacturing, usage and disposal before listing it on their website. This is done in order to make sure that all products sold through their website will be good for the environment.
– OK prices. Not cheap (you can still find cheaper on Amazon), but still OK.
– Only ships to US, Canada and Australia.
– A lot of categories, but not too many products listed.
Main product range:
All consumer products that can be made sustainable.
Greenhome was probably the first web shop specializing at selling eco-friendly products online. Since the very beginning in 1999, the online shop has grown into being a well-known business in the USA. Their website does not only contain a webshop dedicated to green products, but also useful information about how you can make your home more environmentally friendly. Quite handy.
– Established in 1999. These guys know what they are doing.
– Wide product range. You can find “anything” to make your home greener.
– Unfortunately, the website design looks like it was made in 1999 and not updated since.
– They only ship to customers in the USA.
– I ran some price-checks to compare them with Amazon and some of the prices are quite steep.
– Cannot see that they are giving back to any charity or organization working towards a better world.
Main product range:
Products to your home. Eco-friendly furniture, kitchen supplies, etc.
Great second-hand marketplaces to buy used products
Buy used products here:
Unless this is your first time on the Internet, you have probably heard about Craigslist. Especially if you are an American. People use Craigslist for a lot of different reasons, but selling second-hand items is probably the single most popular one. This is a great choice for whoever lives in the USA.
Most of these websites are targeted to connect people that live in the same area. People picking up items at the owner’s house is the most common way of trading. If you start to ship such products across the country (or the globe), it starts to become more complicated than it has to be.
– You can absolutely do a bargain. Prices are very often very cheap.
– Great product range as it is one of the most visited sites in the USA.
– You can be scammed. Remember that anyone can make a user on Craigslist and start to list items. Do not purchase from people you do not trust.
– 99 % of the traffic to Craigslist comes from the USA.
Main product range:
Facebook “Buy & Sell groups”
Facebook Groups is actually a good way of buying things. The biggest social media platform in the world is also used as a marketplace. If you go to the search field in Facebook and type in “Buy and Sell in California”, I am sure that you will find a group that is relevant for people living in California. There is probably an active group in your area as well.
– Despite being a consumer-to-consumer marketplace, you can actually run a quick background check on the person selling the item to see if he or she seems “legit”.
– It`s free.
– You can also make requests by writing in the group, e.g.: “Do someone have a toaster nearby Manhattan, New York that they do not use at the moment?”
– You can still be scammed. Many scammers spend months building up fake Facebook profiles in order to gain thrust from the people they try to get cash from.
– As a buyer, you always have to appear with full name and picture. Some people might find that to be scary.
Main product range:
Everything, apart from cigarettes and alcohol [not allowed by Facebook guidelines].
Guide: how to find a second-hand marketplace in your area
Very quick guide to how I found great platforms where second-hand items are been bought and sold in my area. If you go into Google and type “buy second-hand items + your location”, you will hopefully find a lot of relevant hits. Unless the official language in your area is English, you need to localize that search phrase. For instance, I was living in Amsterdam for a while and wanted to buy a used bicycle. A classmate of mine had to help me in doing research in Dutch in order to find the correct website.
If you do not find anything through Google, you should try to search on Facebook.
General tips for buying eco-friendly products online
There are some things you should know before buying things online.
1) Don’t always trust the seller.
Just because the product description is marked “eco-friendly” or “environmentally friendly” does not mean it’s true. Unfortunately, a lot of retailers use those words to mislead eco-conscious consumers (like me and you) to make purchases we would not have done. This cynical marketing practice got a name: greenwashing.
2) Only buy from certified online shops.
And by “certified”, I mean well-established shops that give full disclosure in terms of where the money goes, what they do for the environment and, more importantly, who own the web shop. Credit card scam online is a billion dollar business and growing annually. If that means you buy all your products on Amazon: so be it. That is a good choice.
3) Second-hand deals: product first, money later.
Do not believe some random person on Facebook or Cragislist claiming that he or she “will send the product once he/she received the money”. Unfortunately, you cannot trust people online. Despite having what looks like a great Facebook page with pictures dated back to 2010, you cannot be sure that the person won’t be trying to scam you.
Have you used an online shop that we might have missed? A shop that provides an excellent customer experience and at the same time sells green products/services? If so, we would be very interested in hearing from you.
We are always looking to expand our list of shops in order to make it as complete as possible. And if you got feedback on some of the stores we already have listed, feel free to mention that in the comment section below.