How to Shop Sustainably on Amazon

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Amazon is a convenient way to shop for necessities, but it’s not always the most sustainable option. If you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact while still enjoying the convenience of online shopping, check out these tips for how to shop sustainably on Amazon.

Filter for Sustainable Products

Amazon offers a variety of products with sustainable features, such as eco-friendly packaging or organic materials.

You can use search terms and filtering options on the site to find these products and make more environmentally friendly choices.

Read more: Sustainable Dental Products: Better for You and the Planet

Look for the Climate Pledge

Amazon has committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. This sets their efforts ten years ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement. They plan to achieve this goal by finding new ways to decarbonize the economy and launching programs like the Climate Pledge program.

When shopping on Amazon, look for products that are part of the Climate Pledge program to support Amazon’s sustainability efforts. Search results and product pages will display a badge, as seen in the screenshot shown here:

mockup with Climate Pledge badge on an product listing to identify how to shop sustainably on Amazon
Image: Amazon

These products are certified by third-party organizations to reflect responsibly manufactured, efficiently designed, or even pre-owned products that reduce waste in various ways.

Reduce Your Delivery Impact

One of the easiest ways to shop sustainably on Amazon is to reduce the number of deliveries you receive. Consider consolidating your orders into fewer packages, or opt for a slower delivery option to reduce your carbon footprint.

Buy in bulk

Consider buying in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging and shipping required.

Choose slower shipping

Opt for slower shipping options to reduce carbon emissions associated with expedited shipping.

You’ll often see promotional incentives for combined shipping at checkout, like Amazon’s No-Rush Shipping program. This allows Amazon to prioritize and rearrange delivery times in the most efficient way they can.

In return, they’ll give you discounts or rewards, frequently in the form of $1 digital credits on your Prime Video balance. These can add up after multiple orders and be used for movie rentals or even to purchase entire seasons of streaming TV shows.

Bonus points if you give your delivery driver a good laugh with these “un-welcome” mats.

Recycle or Compost Your Boxes

Amazon packages often come in large, sturdy boxes that can be reused or recycled. And yes, the tape can be recycled, too!

Instead of throwing them away, consider using them for storage, using them to contain the mess when repotting houseplants, or donating them to a local charity. If you can’t reuse the boxes, recycle them properly.

The boxes and tape are also compostable! Corrugated packaging takes a long time to break down, so you’ll want to follow along with guides for composting Amazon boxes at home.

You can also look out for Frustration-Free Packaging designed for shipping to customers without additional Amazon Packaging.

Stacked Amazon boxes at a home's front door with welcome mat and plants
Image: Amazon

Avoid making returns

As a general practice, avoid making returns when shopping online, as this can contribute to unnecessary shipping and packaging waste. You can’t always predict when a pair of jeans won’t fit, but you can more closely measure furniture and double-check model numbers to avoid ordering incorrect products in the first place.

Amazon offers free ways to return products without packing and labels. Dropping items off at Whole Foods, an Amazon Locker, or participating Kohl’s and UPS Stores can be more convenient and reduces the need for these extra materials.

Basically, you walk into the store with a return QR code on your phone, they scan it and collect your item, and that’s it.

It’s Time to Shop Sustainably on Amazon

Shopping online has become necessary for many, and some products are difficult to find outside the site. So if you’ve felt guilty about playing a part in this waste, give yourself a little credit when you employ these sustainable shopping tips the next time you order on Amazon Prime.

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