Find Eco-Friendly Gifts at the Amazon Green Store

I was excited to discover one day that Amazon.com had a Green store. Being an avid environmentalist, I wanted to know what kinds of products one could buy and if it would make buying "green" for Christmas or any other time easier. I didn't have time to explore that day, so I went back later and . . . couldn't find it.

Furoshiki is a traditional way of wrapping gifts in Japan using natural fabric.
Furoshiki is a traditional way of wrapping gifts in Japan using natural fabric. | Source

There was no link on the landing page nor does it show up in any of the dropdown menus. There is a simple way to get there, but you have to be deliberately looking for it.

Here's how:

  • In Amazon's search box, key in "eco-friendly" and click search.
  • Find the green world icon (pictured right) that shows up on the right side, near the top of the results page.
  • Just beneath it is a sentence asking if you are looking for green alternatives and a link to the "Amazon Green page." Click the link.
  • I have also added a link on this page below the icon on the right.

Exploring Amazon Green

In addition to ads and product categories, there are features on the Amazon Green landing page that help environmentally conscious buyers choose good products:

  • Green buying guides and gift cards

  • Amazon's green history and discussion boards

  • A "best sellers" section and a trade-in section, where you can trade your old stuff for an Amazon.com gift card.


Right now what seems to be selling best is a 4-tier mini greenhouse, a 3-piece bamboo stir-fry set, and an electric snow thrower that looks sort of like a lawn mower.

Green Buying Guides

This column is located in the left sidebar of the main Amazon Green page. The guides range from how to be a more environmentally conscious driver, to composting, having a green wedding, or setting up your house to be more green. Here are some sample tips from the various guides:

  • Keep your car's air filter clean. Dirty filters decrease mileage by almost two miles per gallon.

  • Get rid of toxic cleaners. Baking soda and white vinegar will clean almost every surface in your home and they cost much less. Use baking soda like you would cleanser.

Energy-Efficient Product Label
Energy-Efficient Product Label | Source
  • Look for Energy Star labelled office equipment to save electricity. Also plug your electronics into a power strip and turn the power strip off when you've finished for the day.

  • Choose the right light bulb for your fixtures. Incandescents are being phased out. Your choices soon will be between CFL, halogen, or LED lighting, so you might as well switch now.

  • For kids rooms, look for furniture made from sustainable wood/s with little or no adhesives. Furniture made with pressed or laminated woods give off gasses (VOCs) that are toxic to kids.

Source

Green Gift Card Link

Although the green gift card can actually be used for any Amazon product, it is a reminder to whoever you give it to that it's smart to buy green. Clicking on the gift card link will take you to a generic page where you enter the amount of the card, who it's for, a personal message, and whatever other data Amazon needs to finish the purchase. You can even change to a non-green gift card there, if you like. A gift card is a gift card is a gift card, I guess.

This packaging is being molded from straw.
This packaging is being molded from straw. | Source

Amazon and the Environment

This section shows Amazon's commitment to being eco-friendly and helping others do so too. They ship their products using 100% recyclable containers and packaging, and they have a program that encourages Amazon employees to find and eliminate waste in their respective fulfillment centers.

They also have a project going to help their suppliers develop better packaging methods that make products easier to open (and more eco-friendly). Amazon offers a "Frustration-Free" certification, for which they will test suppliers' packaging in the Amazon lab and give feedback, free of charge. Be sure to explore this section to find out what else Amazon is doing to be more green.

Green Discussion Board

There is a linked list of nearly 100 active discussions on different aspects of being green on the main page (center bottom). The discussions cover topics like toxin free rain barrels, plastic vs. bio-degradable trash liners, wall insulation, spring cleaning, GoodGuide ratings, etc.

Buyer's Experience with Shipping

I read through one discussion about Amazon's shipping methods, which I found interesting. Some buyers were complaining about receiving multiples of the same product in separate boxes, instead of all being shipped in one.

Others pointed out that all the boxes were 100% recyclable, and that they probably came from different warehouses. If those warehouses had first shipped the product to a central warehouse to be packaged in one box for the customer, it would have increased the shipment's total carbon footprint. I liked that these contributors were really thinking about what they were saying.

Moonrays 91515 Turtles on a Log Solar-Powered Outdoor LED Light
Moonrays 91515 Turtles on a Log Solar-Powered Outdoor LED Light

The shells on these solar powered turtles light up at night with a warm glow, welcoming you home and saving electricity as well.

 

Amazon Green Products & Categories

The categories of products on Amazon Green's landing page cover books, baby products, toys, home and garden, home improvement, outdoor fun (sports), automotive, even organic groceries.

Each category link takes you to a page with sub-categories of the types of products it covers, with links under each of them to find individual brands and prices.

I'm a water conservation enthusiast, so I clicked on the home improvement icon first. I got sub-categories such as energy saving light bulbs, Water Sense fixtures, programmable thermostats, battery chargers, Energy Star certified ceiling fans, and other fixtures and equipment that help save money on utility bills.

I then clicked on Water Sense fixtures and got 1,782 results of individual products like an American Standard 3 function water-saving shower head, a Kohler Cimarron Comfort 1.28 gpf toilet, faucets, aerators, and more. I clicked on "Sort by" and chose "Avg. customer review," so I could read about the experiences others have had with these products.

Using the reviews of others always helps me choose. I separate in my mind complaints about shipping or experiences of Amazon from complaints about the product, itself. I look to see whether the reviewer actually used the product, or just received it. I like best those thoughtful reviews, both positive and negative, that come from actual experience with the product.

Personally, I have experience with Niagara products and know some of the people who work there, so I was hoping to see their brand listed. Nothing showed up though. They must not use Amazon as one of their distributors. However, Kohler was there for toilets and they are also an excellent brand.

For you, though, let's say you're only mildly interested in household products, but are curious about green baby products - looking for Christmas gifts for someone with young children. You click on that link and get sub-categories like clothing, bedding, feeding, bathing, nursery, and diapering.

Can you imagine "green" diapers? Wondering what that could be, you click and find: A Nature Babycare package of 176 eco-friendly diapers, Bummis (what a name) bio-soft liners and an organic cotton diaper kit. Seventh Generation sells chlorine free diapers there and CuteyBaby has special diapers for boys. Well.

Amazon Green's Other Eco-Friendly Stores

Your curiosity makes you wonder what types of green baby products other stores sell or maybe you prefer to support smaller stores with your purchases. There are three types of links on Amazon Green that will help you discover smaller stores with cool new products.

One is the link just under a product's price that shows where it comes from. In the case of Eco Friendly Diaper Sacks, the link reads "Sold by Green 'n' Pack." That link will take you to additional products sold by the same supplier on Amazon - in this case trash bags, dog-poop bags, cat pan liners, and zipper sandwich bags . . . all bio-degradable.

Which of the following have you clicked on most often?

See results without voting

The second type of link to watch for is underneath the product features and description section. It's called "Product Ads from External Websites". This section shows the same type of product sold by offsite vendors. Clicking on one of these links will take you directly to that product in the other vendor's store (in a new window or tab). In this case there are disposable diaper bags from five different vendors. Each store sells a variety of green products for babies that might not be advertised on Amazon.

The third type of link is in a section just below that called, " . . . Sponsored Links." This doesn't show pictures, but is the more typical kind of ad with a bolded link to the store, followed by a written description of their products. One of the links on our Green 'n' Pac diaper bag page is for "EcoFriendly Deals" by winwinliving which says, "Offering up to 90% off the best green products and services." That might be worth checking out.

The Enjoyment of Shopping Online

If you like shopping online or are just learning how to shop for eco-friendly products, starting with Amazon Green is a fun way to do it. Be sure to take a look at all of the features in their product windows. Go ahead and follow links to see where they go, keeping open the pages you like best, while following other leads in a different window. Then you can go back to the ones you like when you are ready to purchase something.

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Comments 2 comments

Maggie.L profile image

Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK

Very useful information here. Myself and my family are always looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly. I'd never heard of Amazon Green before I read this. Thanks for making myself and others aware of it.


Sustainable Sue profile image

Sustainable Sue 2 years ago from Altadena CA, USA Author

You're welcome Maggie. They still don't promote it very heavily, but I assume they will as people start to be aware of and utilize it.

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