Sustainability has become a priority for more shoppers and brands, but it can be a bit tricky to understand. On a broad scale, sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs—or, phrased another way, getting necessities in a way that has less negative impact on the environment.
When it comes to shopping, many retailers aim to be more sustainable by reducing their carbon emissions, using eco-friendly manufacturing processes, creating products that last longer, reducing use of single-use plastics, and more. All of these actions can add up to significant change, and we as shoppers can show our approval by choosing sustainable brands when possible.
Here, the best places to shop sustainbly.
As you might have guessed from its name, Package Free helps make sustainable living a little easier by getting rid of unnecessary packaging on everyday essentials. Their products are zero-waste, helping to eliminate the amount of trash that ends up in landfills each year.
What can you buy from Package Free? The online marketplace sells all kinds of essentials, from reusable straws to deodorant to toilet brushes. They have all sorts of kitchen goods, like food storage containers, as well as an impressive collection of children’s items, including toys, baby bottles, and even recycled crayons.
Plus, Package Free offers a variety of “Zero Waste Kits” to get you started on the road to sustainability—for instance, the lunch kit comes with a stainless steel food container, silicone sandwich bag, organic napkin, and reusable bamboo cutlery set.
Wisdom Supply Co.
You can make your office more sustainable with the help of Wisdom Supply Co., which offers plastic-free solutions for school and work. There are so many office essentials that are made from plastic and end up in landfills—folders, binders, notebooks, and pens, just to name a few—and Wisdom Supply Co. offers sustainable, plastic-free alternatives.
For instance, the Zero-Waste Binder Kit includes a recyclable cover that’s made at a wind-powered factory, as well as recyclable pocket folders, and an inner ring mechanism that can simply be removed and used again with another cover. Cool, right? The brand also offers all types of folders, planners, pencils, markers, and even white board supplies, all of which are more sustainable choices than their plastic counterparts.
Household cleaning supplies are frequently sold in single-use plastic containers, but Grove Collaborative is helping to change that. The online marketplace sells a wide range of eco-friendly cleaning and household products, and they also prioritize sustainability—in fact, they were the first plastic-neutral retailer in the world, meaning that for every ounce of plastic you receive from Grove, they divert the same amount of plastic from the ocean via a partnership with Plastic Bank.
Grove has their own line of eco-friendly cleaning supplies, many of which come in concentrate forms with reusable mixing bottles. It also sells a variety of popular eco-friendly brands, such as Mrs. Meyers, as well as numerous other household essentials. You can get personal care and beauty products, kids and pet essentials, and more, and Grove also offers flexible subscriptions, automatically delivering your favorite items on a recurring basis.
If you’re always on the go, Cadence is a sustainable—and convenient—solution to transporting all your personal care essentials. Its capsules are hexagon-shaped containers that are perfect for storing anything from face wash to supplements or even jewelry, as they’re leakproof and TSA-compliant. Plus, the containers snap together magnetically, keeping them all together in your bag, and they’re dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Each capsule holds 15 milliliters and is made from 50 percent recycled plastic, and you can choose a magnetic label for every container. In addition to reducing the need for single-use travel-sized products, Cadence embraces sustainability by reusing scrap material created in its manufacturing process, as well as by using recyclable packaging.
There are so many amazing sustainable companies out there, but it can be challenging to find them on your own. That’s where EarthHero comes in. This online retailer curates products from a huge range of sustainable brands, screening every company to ensure products meet a sustainable criteria. This allows you to shop from many great companies all in one place.
EarthHero offers a wide array of products, including clothing, accessories, baby supplies, home decor, travel gear, tech gear, pet supplies, beauty products, and much more. There’s a whole section of zero-waste products that you can shop. All orders are delivered via carbon neutral shipping, which means that the amount of planet-heating emissions that are emitting while delivering your products are offset by projects like planting trees.
One of the easiest ways to shop for food sustainably is with Thrive Market. A 100 percent carbon-neutral company, Thrive does everything possible to minimize its environmental footprint, including using 100 percent recyclable packaging, sourcing its products ethically, and recycling or reusing 90 percent of material that enters its facilities.
What do they sell? Pretty much anything you might buy at the grocery store. You can get meat, poultry, and seafood, as well as snacks, grains, spices, condiments, baking supplies, and even wine! Thrive also offers supplements, personal care products, and household supplies. You do need to buy a membership to shop on the site, but the products are priced 25 to 50 percent lower than what you might find from other retailers, saving you money in the long run.
Itemerie is a great place to find sustainable home goods, including tableware, glassware, linens, decor, and fragrances. They sell high-quality artisan-made products that are ethical and responsibly made, and the website makes shopping transparent thanks to a unique “badge” system. At the bottom of every product description, you’ll find badges that indicate if the item is handmade, vegan, recycled, plant-based, zero-waste, and/or made in North America.
In addition to home goods, Itemerie also carries a selection of personal care products, including beauty supplies and soap, and even has a small collection of jewelry and handbags. Plus, at checkout, the company offers the option to plant a tree to offset the carbon footprint of your order—just another way to embrace sustainability.
Whether you’re shopping for sustainable clothing or cruelty-free accessories, ourCommonplace will surely have something that catches your eye. Another ethical and sustainable marketplace, ourCommonplace allows you to shop by certain values—sustainable, ethical, cruelty-free, woman-owned, and BIPOC-owned, to name a few—and the site has everything from clothing and accessories to home goods and wellness products.
Oh, and if you think sustainable fashion isn’t stylish, think again! OurCommonplace has incredibly chic and on-trend fashion items that will not only look good but also stand the test of time. The retailer also employs carbon neutral shipping at no extra cost to you.
It’s easier than ever to stock up on pantry essentials with Hive, a marketplace for sustainable food. The site offers all manner of non-perishable items—such as canned goods, cereal, baking supplies, condiments, rice, soups, spices, and more—as well as personal care products and household cleaning supplies.
All the brands sold on the Hive website have to meet five key criteria: A low-carbon footprint, recyclable packaging, ingredient integrity, commitment to social good, and deliciousness/effectiveness. You’ll find brands you know and love—we see you Bob’s Red Mill—and discover new favorites, too. Plus, there’s no membership required to shop via Hive, and every order is carbon neutral.