Amazon.com offers an ever-increasing selection of natural and organic products online. These often come with free shipping and you can get some great deals. That said, should you?
There’s pros and cons of shopping the mega-site for your green product needs.
- They offer many products, lots of which may not be available locally.
- Shipping is often free.
- The prices are competitive, especially since most items are sold in bulk.
- It can be the only way to get some natural and organic products for your family.
- It encourages Amazon.com and its suppliers to produce more healthy and environmentally friendly products.
- It gives some small, green companies a platform to be seen and sell their goods.
- It can provide a way to get healthy treats for kids for special occasions.
- Sales can offer steep discounts.
- It takes money from local goods and businesses.
- Shipping uses wasteful resources like transportation costs.
- It often encourages the purchase of processed foods. It’s generally better to buy organic whole fruit than more expensive, heavily packaged, processed “organic fruit twists,” for instance.
- Packaging is often wasteful. For instance, overly large boxes are used to ship, with excessive plastic bubbles and packing paper used to fill the gaps inside.
- Some products are still unecessary. For instance, instead of buying a “natural” cleaning product, you could make your own for pennies and save the cost, packaging and everything.
- It drives down the need for these products in local stores, which can lead to fewer being offered for local communities.
- It supports a mammoth company whose values you may not agree with.
- Many products in the natural section (such as laundry detergents) are not truly environmentally friendly or “natural.”
So what’s the answer? That depends on what you value as a green consumer. For a family on a very tight budget, buying at Amazon.com mean the difference between being able to afford organic or not for some products. That can certainly make it worth it! On the other hand, others might choose to spend those few extra dollars to support local businesses and suppliers, considering it a worthy investment in their communities.
The bottom line may be to keep all of these in mind when buying online — at Amazon.com or anywhere.
- Can I buy this locally?
- Do I really need this product?
- Is there a greener source?
- Is this a more healthy choice for my family than my other options?
In my family’s case, I do shop for a few organic products at Amazon.com. For instance, I purchase Zoe organic olive oil in bulk through subscribe and save. Subscribe and save (S&S) ensures free shipping and an additional 15% discount because I set my account to renew automatically every few months (the customer decides how often). I have my account set to deliver another set of two every two months. I’m able to do most of our cooking with organic olive oil this way (and with a family of six, I do a lot of cooking!). I love the product, the packaging (it comes in a decorative tin I use for other purposes when it’s empty), and the company. It’s an olive oil I can’t find near my home in Southern Minnesota, for a price I can’t beat.
As much as possible, I shop locally, grow or make my own, and avoid unnecessary purchases. That said, I’m very glad that Amazon.com offers some products that help meet my natural and organic needs.
Here’s a list of the organic deals Amazon is offering in February.