Top Alternatives to Amazon for Eco Conscious Christmas Gifts

Top Alternatives to Amazon for Eco Conscious Christmas Gifts
Photo by ANIRUDH / Unsplash

Amazon is an iconic name and logo we all know and recognise, with it being the world's biggest retailer. However, it has become a one-stop shop and is dominating smaller businesses. Amazon started selling books in 1995 before creating the well-known marketplace in 2000. Techcrunch suggested that Amazon add one new book every five minutes in 2014, and in 2017, Amazon was reported to be the largest book retailer in the world. Data collected in 2016 found that 55% of people in the U.S. now start their online shopping trips on Amazon. This forces brands to use Amazon; otherwise, they will miss out on the platform's potential sales, strengthening Amazon's market dominance.

Amazon is notorious for avoiding tax which has a long history. The Ethical Consumer started a boycott of Amazon in 2012 because of its tax avoidance strategies. They explained that the embargo began in 2011 because the world's biggest online retailer, Amazon, generated UK sales of £2.9bn yet paid only £1.8m in corporation tax. This further practice continues, with The Guardian reporting that Amazon paid just £1m in tax despite a 60% rise in online sales in 2022. The Ethical Consumer in 2022 estimated that in 2021 up to half a billion pounds could have been lost to the UK exchequer from the corporation tax avoidance of just one company, Amazon. 

Amazon also has a history of poor staff welfare around the world. In the UK, one worker, quoted in The Guardian, said she has to pick an average of 360 items an hour, or around 3,800 a day. This translates as one item every 6.7 seconds.

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Veo

Veo is one alternative to Amazon, which describes itself as the world's most sustainable online shopping destination. Veo has thousands of products listed under categories such as men, women, children, food and home. Each product has an ethics drop-down menu which looks at if the product is made fairly, suitable for vegans, made with care, free from toxins, made in an energy-efficient manner and cruelty-free. According to The Ethical Consumer, Veo is also a certified B Corporation and the top ethical online shopping website.

Diagram taken from a listed item which shows the listed criteria Veo showcase . Photograph: Veo

Plastic Freedom

Plastic Freedom is a UK-based online retailer that sells skincare, haircare, gifts and sex toys. She started her business using £300 of her money on toothbrushes and her favourite brands. Since then, her company has expanded with products regularly added to the site. Recently the brand opened its first shop in the heart of London. The site features small logos next to the products they stock, which shows if they are vegan or made in the UK. All orders arrive plastic-free, and many of the products they sell can be returned and refilled. 

Three categories of items available from Plastic Freedom. Photograph: Plastic Freedom

Protect the Planet

Protect the Planet is a smaller online retailer with the most bespoke gifts from all the sites listed here. Their site's homepage features categories to refine your search to sustainable, organic or recycled products, for example. Their recycled range sells products from companies reusing old firehoses and circuit boards, preventing them from going to waste. All orders arrived in reused, recyclable or biodegradable packaging.

Icons that can be used to filter your search on Protect the Planet's website. Photograph: Protect the Planet

Pasoluna

Pasoluna is the smallest website on this guide, with limited categories such as living, kitchen & dining, bath and body and gifts. Pasoluna's HQ is based in West Yorkshire and is powered with renewable energy from Octopus Energy. They sell some plastic products; however, they are made from recycled plastics that can, in turn, be recycled again at the end of their life.

Four products that Pasoluna sell. Photograph: Pasoluna

Peace with the Wild

Peace with the Wild is our final online retailer with the most extensive refill section stocking vegan sweets (a family favourite in our household) alongside dried fruits, herbs and spices. Peace with the wild stock products in various categories such as skincare, haircare, kitchen, bathroom and on-the-go. Their family business stocks over 230 brands shipping from North Lincolnshire. Most of the brands they stock as independent businesses. All orders arrive in cardboard boxes, and refills come in paper bags.

Promotional image promoting refills. Photograph: Peace with the Wild.