How to shop more sustainably on Amazon

Amazon logo
(Image credit: Amazon)

As residents of planet earth, we all need to do our part to help our home thrive. This means adopting a more eco-friendly attitude in all aspects of our lives, be it as consumers, manufacturers, or sellers. Amazon shoppers looking to go green will be pleased to know that there are many ways to make their shopping experience more sustainable. Here's what you can do to purchase products sustainably on Amazon.

Your guide to shopping more sustainably on Amazon

Amazon logo

(Image credit: Amazon)

Before plunging into the details, here are a couple of facts about Amazon that'll help you understand their outlook on sustainability. A few years ago, the e-commerce goliath joined other popular franchises such as Microsoft, Best Buy, and Verizon in signing the Climate Pledge. In line with the aims of the non-profit organization, Amazon aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2040. Billions of dollars worth of investments have already gone into this initiative, giving birth to projects like the Climate Pledge Friendly program, green operations and logistics decisions, and the use of renewable energy across many Amazon buildings and warehouses.

There's the AmazonSmile shop, where a percentage of the proceeds are donated to environmental organizations. Meanwhile, the Amazon Aware store sells various household and lifestyle products that have been certified by third parties for their use of organic, recycled, and bio-based materials. For sellers, entities like Amazon Launchpad exist to help them implement sustainability across their brands.

If you own one of the best Alexa-enabled speakers and live in the U.S., Amazon has made it even more accessible to contribute to an eco-friendly cause. All you need to do is say "Alexa, grow a tree” and you can donate a dollar towards the One Tree Planted initiative. All your contributions are used to plant trees, converting every $1 into one tree planted on your behalf, combatting climate change and pollution one tree at a time.

Clearly, Amazon is committed to offsetting the negative environmental impacts of its business operations. The tech giant has taken many steps towards achieving a more sustainable existence and enables you, the consumer, to also participate in the same cause. Now, let's look at the many options available to you to shop more sustainably on Amazon.

Climate Pledge Friendly

Amazon Climate Pledge Friendly

(Image credit: Amazon)

This is one of the first things to do when shopping in a more sustainable way on Amazon. All you have to do is look for the little green Climate Pledge Friendly badge under the product listing. No matter what you're buying, if it has been certified as environmentally friendly under The Climate Pledge requirements, Amazon will print that little green logo under the item's name.

1. Go to amazon.com/climatepledgefriendly.

2. Search for the product of your choice.

3. Look for a listing with the green Climate Pledge Friendly badge.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

4. Click on the Climate Pledge Friendly product listing.

5. Add the product to your cart and check out.

Shop Climate Pledge Friendly at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Shop Climate Pledge Friendly at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Easily identify sustainable, environmentally products that have been verified by Amazon. You can do so by spotting the Climate Pledge Friendly product badge under Amazon product listings.

Amazon Aware

Amazon Aware

(Image credit: Amazon)

Another excellent option for a greener buying experience is Amazon Aware. All you have to do is go to the Amazon Aware online store. There are plenty of household and lifestyle items on offer, including bed sheets, clothes, and beauty products. All the things you see under the Amazon Aware store are Climate Pledge Friendly certified in addition to being carbon neutral.

Amazon Aware products are made of organic, natural ingredients. Many of these options are recycled or constructed with recycled materials. Here's how you can purchase your desired products from Amazon Aware.

1. Go to amazon.com/amazonaware.

2. Go through the product departments.

3. Browse through the items on sale and select whatever you need.

4. Add the items you want to your cart and check out.

Shop at Amazon Aware (opens in new tab)

Shop at Amazon Aware (opens in new tab)

Amazon Aware is a dedicated store within the Amazon platform. All items on sale are Climate Pledge Friendly and carbon neutral. Pick and peruse at ease knowing that they are made of organic and recycled materials.

AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile

(Image credit: Amazon)

AmazonSmile is a charitable version of the Amazon store itself. You get access to all of Amazon as it is, with the key difference being that a small portion of your money goes to a non-profit organization. Best of all, you get to choose a charitable entity of your choice so that some of the proceeds from your shopping go to that specific organization. Here's how you can use AmazonSmile to get whatever you need while contributing to a good cause.

1. Go to smile.amazon.com.

2. Sign in to your regular Amazon account using the same email ID and password.

3. Pick a charity of your choice that promotes sustainability.

4. Browse, choose, and buy products as you would normally.

Shop at AmazonSmile (opens in new tab)

Shop at AmazonSmile (opens in new tab)

AmazonSmile is the full-blown Amazon experience with a silver lining. You can choose a charitable organization of your choice so that a little bit of money from every single purchase you make is donated to it.

Amazon Renewed

Amazon Renewed

(Image credit: Amazon)

Going green can mean many things. Instead of purchasing new products, you can get used ones that have been refurbished so that the materials do not go to waste. Buying refurbished or renewed goods is a sustainable way of living as you prolong the lifespan of an item instead of dumping it in the trash. This is especially true when it comes to renewed electronics as your purchase reduces electronic waste. If you have your doubts, remember that the best refurbished phones are in such excellent condition, you won't even notice the difference between old and new. 

Amazon ensures that each Amazon Renewed product meets stringent requirements and doesn't take anything away from your user experience. As a bonus point, refurbished electronics are much cheaper than brand new ones, saving you some cash while also helping to preserve the environment. For your mental assurance, all Amazon Renewed electrical gadgets come with a 90-day Amazon Renewed Guarantee. Here's how you can buy Amazon Renewed electronics.

1. Go to amazon.com/renewed.

2. Look for whatever electronic item you need to buy.

3. Add the electronics of your choice to your cart and check out.

Shop at Amazon Renewed (opens in new tab)

Shop at Amazon Renewed (opens in new tab)

Save the planet and some pocket money while shopping for refurbished items. Amazon Renewed offers refurbished electronic products in every category. You get a 90-day guarantee for reassurance.

Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse

(Image credit: Amazon)

When looking for preloved items that aren't electronic, the best place on Amazon is the Amazon Warehouse store. Starting from pet supplies to baby products, from kitchen items to video games, Amazon Warehouse has it all. The items on sale under this category include pre-owned, used, and open-box products.

For your safety, Amazon inspects all Amazon Warehouse goods for quality assurance. If you aren't satisfied with your purchase despite Amazon's 20-point quality inspection, know that you are covered by a 30-day return policy. Let's look at how you go about shopping from Amazon Warehouse.

1. Go to amazon.com/amazonwarehouse.

2. Browse through the product categories.

3. Select the products you need by adding them to your cart.

4. Check out once you have all you need.

Shop at Amazon Warehouse (opens in new tab)

Shop at Amazon Warehouse (opens in new tab)

Buy pre-loved items to reduce unnecessary wastage. Amazon Warehouse stocks high-quality used goods under almost every category. You get a 30-day return policy for safety.

Amazon Trade-in

Amazon Trade-in

(Image credit: Amazon)

If you're the sort of person who doesn't want to purchase used or refurbished products, there is another option. Shopping sustainably on Amazon doesn't always lead to preloved or renewed items. Under the Amazon Trade-in program, you can trade-in your own used electronics for Amazon gift cards and/or promotional discounts. The Amazon Trade-in procedure varies depending on what it is that you want to trade-in.

After you have selected your device under the Amazon Trade-in section on the Amazon website, you'll have to answer some questions about your device. The answers to your questions determine the value you will get and how fast you will get it. For instance, certain items qualify for instant payment, while others may not yield you any monetary gain until you've sent them in for appraisal.

What's really great is that shipping your used electronic gadgets to Amazon doesn't cost you anything. Even if the item is worth nothing, Amazon will ship it back to you free of charge. All you have to do is print the shipping label and send it in. Here's how you can initiate the Amazon Trade-in process.

1. Go to amazon.com/tradein.

2. Select the device category that matches your item.

3. Read and follow the Amazon Trade-in instructions for your specific device.

Trade-in at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Trade-in at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Be environmentally responsible by trading-in your used electrical devices and gadgets on Amazon. The Amazon Trade-in program helps you repurpose your old possessions while making a few extra bucks. If you're lucky, Amazon might give you promo offers too.

Namerah Saud Fatmi
Contributing Writer

Namerah Saud Fatmi is a contributing writer for Android Central. She has a passion for all things tech & gaming and has been an honorary Goodreads librarian since 2011. When she isn't writing, she can be found chasing stray cats and dogs in the streets of Dhaka or slaying dragons in the land of Skyrim. You can reach her on Twitter @NamerahS.