My top 5 Amazon Ethical Buys

… And no that’s not an oxymoron. I know a lot of you will think Amazon’s ethical credentials are pretty low, what with all the monopolising practically every industry and controversies over the treatment of its workforce, but unfortunately Amazon is a fact of modern life and it would be difficult not to shop there. I’d love to know your thoughts on this – have you boycotted or do you avoid shopping from Amazon?

In the meantime, since I do use Amazon every now and again, it’s good to know what sort of ethical products you can buy there and of course there’s a lot as practically every company wants to sell through them. I’m looking mainly at the ethics of reducing plastic, reducing waste, and finding sustainable alternatives to lessen the environmental impact. I hope this guide is helpful!

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Ecoegg Laundry Egg: the ethical way to wash your clothes

So this is a pretty cool find. You can use it in your wash for all types of fabric and it completely replaces the need for washing powder. It uses natural cleaning pellets which don’t contain the harsh chemicals you find in normal detergents. Better still, it lasts 720 washes which is the equivalent of 3 years’ washing for the average family of four!

Bamboo Toothbrushes: reduce plastic with these bamboo toothbrushes

Plastic toothbrushes are one of the worst marine pollutants and are always being found washed up on beaches or in smaller pieces in the stomachs of marine life. There is an easy solution – replace your normal toothbrush with a bamboo one, which is 100% biodegradeable! This particular set contains 4 so one for each of the average family, and they are all different colours so you don’t confuse your toothbrush with anyone else’s. The bristles are BPA free and the packaging is made from biodegradeable recycled materials.

KeepCup: get your morning coffee in this re-useable cup

I’ve had my KeepCup for about 5 years now and it’s still going strong. Initially I used to get annoyed looks for baristas when I presented it and gave my coffee order but now they’re a bit more used to it. I take it all over with me and it fits in my handbags after use (do carry tissues so you can dry it out if you don’t have anywhere to wash it.) The UK gets through 7 million coffee cups per day and we throw away around 2.5 billion per year but less than 1% are actually recycled. The plastic polythylene used to make paper coffee cups waterproof breaks down into micro plastics, which end up in the stomachs of marine life. And let’s not forget that disposable cups are made from virgin paper pulp so trees are felled to produce a piece of pointless plastic-paper that is used to drink a single latte. If you do one thing to reduce your environmental impact, let it be buying and using a re-useable coffee cup!

Cheeky Panda Bamboo Toilet Roll: toilet roll made from sustainable material

One thing we can forget about when trying to be more ethical consumers is toilet roll; paper made to be wasted. The Cheeky Panda style of toilet roll uses 100% bamboo, which is natural, biodegrdeable and sustainable. I’ve noticed no difference in quality in using bamboo bog roll. Cheeky Panda also do bamboo tissues. Why is bamboo more sustainable? It grows faster than trees, produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon. It regrows when cut and requires no fertilisers. (Psst: also, it’s vegan as there’s no gelatin-glue for the cardboard inner tube.)

Pilot B2P – pens made from plastic bottles: don’t just recycle your plastic bottles, buy everyday items made from those recycled bottles!

The UK consumes around 13 billion plastic bottles per year and more than 3 billion are not recycled. Obviously I would encourage you to invest in your own drinks bottle, which are all quite cheap, but on top of that it’s good to buy things made from recycled plastic as it puts to good use the plastic waste we’re still disposing of. Greenpeace suggest 9 ways to reduce you household plastic use. 

 

What are your top ethical buys?

 

 

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17 responses

  1. Those bamboo toothbrushes look great! Do you know how they hold up to bacteria? I’m assuming it would be safe, considering bamboo is used in cutting boards as well. Thanks for the list! I’m excited to try out some of these items.

    • Some bamboo toothbrushes actually have plastic bristles because if natural fibres are left damp bacteria can breed. Not sure if this particular one does or not. Also good idea to dry the bamboo handles rather than let a dripping damp toothbrush sit in a cup. To be fair, most of us do not keep our toothbrushes hygienic anyway…. 😕

      • Search for “buy plastic free” or “shop plastic free” to find websites. Big Box stores and mega online retailers like Amazon are why smaller shops don’t exist anymore. The smaller shops could not compete because people chose price over ethics.

      • If you boycott amazon, by the same principle you have to boycott all major high street retailers as well and only shop in small independents. This will never have mass appeal because people are too busy. Best we can all do is make small changes where practical.

      • Is not the point of posts like this to encourage each other to do better by sharing information and discussing possible methods?
        My reply shared information that could help others take steps towards more ethical consumerism (an oxymoron as it is), and also acknowledged a sad reality that will limit many in not only what they are willing to do, but may actually do.
        Apparently my desire to keep my reply short led to a misunderstanding. Allow me to amend my error below with an across the pond past and present comparison I hope will help clear things up (since I’m across the pond from you, and I know this side’s history much better). By sharing this, I hope you can see we share the same bigger picture, while knowing smaller steps are easier to take towards such.
        In the not too distant similar yet of that time past, humans also dealt with concepts along the lines of what you wrote in your blog post, “…a fact of modern life and it would be difficult not to…”, such as with these three things: DDT; ecosystem deterioration from “disposable” containers; and pre (U.S.) Great Depression monopolies. Making a fuss about such rarely if ever had much “mass appeal” until folks that wanted to make change found others like them, spread information got even more folks on board, and in small ways worked towards big changes. They were busy too. Sure, the cost of living was a heck of a lot easier to pay for with wages back then, until they weren’t.
        Still, the cycles come back around. Now we have Glyphosate (Monsanto); ecosystem deterioration from greenwashing (i.e. plastic, carbon credits, further pushing ethical responsibility to consumers); and the now shared on both sides of the pond impossible not to know reality that 147 international conglomerates both directly and indirectly affect everything. Worse, those 147 are really controlled by 4. [https://www.forbes.com/sites/brendancoffey/2011/10/26/the-four-companies-that-control-the-147-companies-that-own-everything/#35cd75d4685b] That’s big picture stuff–possibly even nightmare inducing, as the past issues were for folks back then too.
        My initial reply was not a demand for big picture change now. I merely
        shared information that could help others take steps towards more ethical consumerism (an oxymoron as it is), and also acknowledged a sad reality that will limit many in not only what they are willing to do, but may actually do.
        Some day, these bad times may also pass. Hopefully because like before, some folks will share, encourage, and discuss with other folks which will lead to small steps to make big ones overall or eventually.

      • Hey. I get what you’re saying and I agree. Of course it’s important to share information and the internet is great for that.

        I’m not going to criticise anyone who’s shopping habits are not as ethical as they would like them to be because they can’t afford the more ethical option.

      • I agree that price point is often a weighty matter, I know from experience the number of times I’ve sighed inwardly because I’ve made a less ethical choice due to funds available. It’s definitely easier to find smaller steps like buy metal straws this year, start a kitchen garden the year after, buy canning supplies and learn how to use them the third year.

      • I guess what I mean is that perhaps it’s more effective to encourage people to make small changes in their consumer habits in the way that is most convenient. Bog roll, toothbrushes, and products for washing laundry are all essential, so if we can switch to more sustainable materials with less harmful environmental impacts then the easierst way to get large amounts of people to adopt that is likely to be through the biggest retailers not the small independents that are usually more expensive. Sometimes adopting one ethical practice implicates us in a different unethical practise. In cases where uggent action is needed, e.g. Plastics, there’s an argument for accepting an unethical monopoly, though I’m not completely sold on it.

      • Touching on your trade off point, we keep using already owned plastic, but the leap towards refusing all plastic packaging has been impossible due to the negative trade off (i.e. fuel use/time/etc.) If a co-op ever opens near here, I’ll be so happy.

  2. and certain coffee shops (I know Costa is one) will take money off your coffee order when you bring your own cup. I think for Costa is 25p but every little helps. That laundry egg is amazing, I’m definitely checking that out.

  3. sell used stuff

    I agree that price point is often a weighty matter, I know from experience the number of times I’ve sighed inwardly because I’ve made a less ethical choice due to funds available. It’s definitely easier to find smaller steps like buy metal straws this year, start a kitchen garden the year after, buy canning supplies and learn how to use them the third year.

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