It’s hard to go even a week without hearing news about climate change and its effects on life as we know it. It’s also hard to go a week without hearing about sustainable, eco-friendly products that have been introduced to help combat climate change.
Not only do these products play their part in helping to preserve our future, they’re also in high demand from buyers who understand how important they are. For this reason, selling environmentally friendly products can be a win-win: helping the world while running a profitable business.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the top sustainable products you can start selling today, in niches such as tech, pets, fashion, and personal care.
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1. Sustainable apparel
“Fast fashion” is a buzzword that haunts the most environmentally responsible fashionistas. The fashion industry has been known to use unethical and unsustainable practices to quickly produce cheap, low-quality clothing.
But “slow fashion” is here to combat that. You can source your entire supply chain with more mindful materials and practices that go farther than just using organic cotton. For example, you can source products locally, or use vegan alternatives like replacement leather.
As a certified B corp, clothing brand Pact uses organic, carbon neutral, and fair trade practices to produce its products.
2. Earth-friendly home goods
Look around you: there are plenty of opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint in your home, including items like:
- Reusable paper towels
- Upcycled toilet paper
- Bamboo cutlery and dishes
- Biodegradable utensils
- Stainless steel straws
- Laundry detergent sheets
- Food waste reducers like composters
Made Trade focuses on decking out homes with items like these, using production practices and methods such as recycled and upcycled, fair trade, handcrafted, locally made, and vegan. It’s also been Climate Neutral Certified.
3. Tech products and accessories
Sustainable tech and accessories are the way of the future. If you have a killer new product idea, it might be worth the effort to invest in all the research and development to get it up and running.
But if you’d like a faster route, you can try white labeling or dropshipping pre-manufactured items like rechargeable batteries, compostable phone cases, wooden speakers, or cork desk mats.
Ethical tech company Nimble focuses on just that, offering products made with recycled aluminum and plastics and organic hemp. The company also pays shipping for customers to send their old electronics to Nimble for recycling.
4. Clean personal care items
Personal care goes beyond what products we’re using and extends into the items that are going on and in our bodies. For example, lotions are absorbed by the skin, so it makes for consumers to ask questions about what exactly is inside those products.
Clean personal care items are a one-two punch when it comes to preserving the Earth while preserving ourselves. There’s a ton of demand for products that avoid harsh chemicals and byproducts that are known to cause health issues.
Personal care brand Meow Meow Tweet covers all the bases in its mission statement:
5. Eco-friendly beauty products
The beauty world goes hand in hand with the world of personal care, and beauty brands have long been having the conversation about ethics and sustainability, whether that involves using natural materials like coconut oil, creating reusable makeup remover pads, or packing items in recycled plastic.
Axiology is on a mission to end plastic waste in the beauty industry, focusing exclusively on lip care products like lipsticks and balms. It implements and promote practices like plastic-free products, multi-use products, refillable products, and conscious recycling.
6. Eco-friendly foods
Food is one of the few guaranteed, permanent products that every single person is going to buy forever. This means there’s a huge market in making a food brand with sustainable products, looking after the planet as well as the people eating it. These tactics might include:
- Upcycling or recycling food materials
- Recycled plastic or plastic-free packaging
- Focusing on seasonal items
- Preparing food with sustainable equipment
Spudsy is a great example of a food brand working to reduce food waste by using upcycled ingredients: in this case, sweet potatoes. The brand creates puffs and fries out of some of the 150 million pounds of sweet potatoes that end up in landfills every year.
7. Ethical pet products
The pet care industry is just as guilty of unsustainable practices as the plethora of human-focused industries. From pet food to accessories and toys, there are several opportunities to tap into the ethical, sustainable pet market.
In addition to the adorable name (the sound of a puppy’s howl), pet company Awoo uses low-impact materials that are shipped in environmentally friendly packaging, moving every day toward 100% sustainable practices.
The brand also partners with Muddy Paws Rescue, a non-profit that uses a fostering system to re-home dogs. This is a great example of using partnerships to work toward goals that align with your beliefs and ethics.
8. Products for kids
In 2022, the retail toy industry racked up $29.2 billion in sales. But unfortunately, many of the toys sold end up in a landfill. Even worse, some contain harmful ingredients like toxic glues and paints. That’s why toys are a huge opportunity to reduce plastic waste, as well as reduce the use of harmful materials.
Tender Leaf is a toy company that uses FSC certified plywood to handcraft its wooden toys. Additionally, the brand implements other ethical and sustainable practices like:
- Using reclaimed wood
- Replanting trees
- Hiring locally with equal opportunity practices
- Eliminating single-use plastic through the use of recycled cardboard and paper packaging
9. Earth-friendly fitness gear
When the pandemic forced gyms to close, the at-home fitness trend exploded. But even after things became normal, many fitness enthusiasts are sticking with their home workout routines.
With sustainability top of mind for so many, it's no surprise that consumers are looking for earth-friendly fitness gear. Think yoga mats made from recycled materials, sportswear crafted from plant-based fabrics, and sneakers made to last.
Brands like Norm are stepping up to the plate, offering eco-friendly products for active living, such as sneakers made from 90% recycled materials and t-shirts made from organic and recycled cotton. The company considers sustainability across the entire lifecycle of its offerings, taking back well-loved sneakers to recycle them into new items.
Do your part in your entrepreneurship journey
If you want to run a successful ecommerce business but also want to feel like you’re doing your part to reduce our carbon footprint, you have plenty of options. There are loads of products out there that are made sustainably and responsibly, while also being in popular demand with certain groups of customers.
More and more businesses are taking ethics into their hands without compromising their entrepreneurial spirit. All that’s left is to take the next step and find the products that feel right for you.
Eco-friendly products FAQ
What are eco-friendly products?
Eco-friendly products are items manufactured, packaged, and delivered following strict standards. These products carry an “ecolabel” mark on their packaging to communicate that they meet the sustainability criteria. Ethical loungewear, refillable water bottles, and organic cotton clothing are a few examples of eco-friendly products.
How popular are eco-friendly products?
Pick any product and it probably has an eco-friendly alternative. Many studies show that consumers are actively seeking out green products as they shop. And the shift is happening across all industries, from accessories and clothing to gadgets and smart appliances.
Where can I sell eco-friendly products?
A Shopify store is the best place to sell eco-friendly products. Here’s why: The store allows you to own the audience that you build and control the look and feel of your brand. But you can also take a multichannel approach, where you sell simultaneously on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon while running your online store.
Is Shopify eco-friendly?
Shopify is carbon-neutral and funds programs to offset its impact and that of its merchants on the environment, including the Shopify Sustainability Fund, which donates $5 million annually to support sustainability and entrepreneurship.
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