Where to buy zero waste wholesale products?
Knowing where to buy zero waste products wholesale in the UK, EU and US (USA) can have its challenges. But there are lots of great ways to find the best sustainable wholesale products and the highest-selling zero waste products for your store. You just need to know where to look.
However, as an ethical business, you also want to find plastic-free wholesale products that are low-impact and responsibly made. Ones that contribute to a worthy cause. So how can we distinguish between a product that is sourced ethically and one that isn’t?
Well, we’ve collated a guide that gives you tips about seeking zero waste wholesale products, advice on where to shop, and how to spot greenwashing.
How to find zero waste wholesale products
Before we tell you exactly where to buy zero waste wholesale products, let’s talk about what you need to look for. Here are some top tips from the Jungle Culture team on how to find low-impact wholesale products.
1. Source local wholesale products (if possible)
If you can source locally, this is great as it means you can have more of a relationship with your supplier. Find out if there is a manufacturer or supplier in your hometown or region. Perhaps you can visit their workshop or warehouse and have a browse before committing, and start a dialogue. This will result in a smaller carbon footprint in terms of delivery!
2. Look for a wholesaler who uses plastic-free packaging
If you place a bulk order for earth friendly bamboo straws and your delivery turns up shrouded in plastic, you might doubt your wholesaler’s authenticity. And with good cause! All zero waste companies strive to keep their entire business plastic-free and low-impact. Before you place an order, enquire about their packaging. Is it recyclable? Biodegradable?
3. Ask questions
Leading on from this - whether you shop locally or from an online supplier, don’t shy away from asking any other questions. You want to know that the products were sourced and crafted ethically as well as in an environmentally-friendly fashion.
Ask about where the materials come from - are they grown organically and using sustainable methods? Enquire about the production methods - who is creating the products?
4. Learn the backstory
Great products usually have a fascinating story behind them, which your chosen brand will be eager to share. Find out what it is and share that on your website. The chances are that your own customers will want to know the backstory and culture of your products too.
5. Test the products
Before you start selling eco-friendly products or using them in your business, make sure you experiment with them. It is worth collecting some samples from zero waste wholesale products companies. Then, you can use these for yourself. Whether that’s coconut bowls or women's safety razors - play around and try to compare several products from competing businesses.
6. Seek out start-ups
You’ll find that some of the wholesale zero waste products come from companies who have been around for years. But, the sustainable market is booming which means there are lots of start-ups cropping up all over the place.
Working with a start-up can be beneficial. You might find that the company is more flexible with your budget - particularly if you too are a start-up or smaller business.
Where to find zero waste wholesale products
Now you know what to look for and some considerations to bear in mind. Now, let’s find out where you can purchase zero waste products wholesale.
Etsy is a really useful tool for researching sustainable wholesale products that look good and sell well. Using Etsy’s search function you can filter by whether a product is handmade, the material used, and if the product ships from your country.
Furthermore, it’s also easy to see the sales potential of products on Etsy by visiting the shop that sells the product. Here you can see the amount of sales each seller receives for a particular item.
Secondly, reviews are also an important tool which allows you to understand the quality of the product before making a purchase.
As a platform, Etsy is very wholesale friendly. In fact, messaging sellers to ask for a wholesale brochure is not against Etsy’s policies as they encourage the growth of small businesses.
Etsy can also be a really great platform for finding unique ethical products for shops and e-commerce businesses. Lots of small, sustainable and local manufacturers sell on Etsy and would probably love to hear from a budding eco entrepreneur like yourself!
Pinterest is primarily a visual platform for sharing beautiful content. That makes it a fantastic place for gathering ideas and finding plastic-free wholesale products that look incredible!
Whereas Instagram’s algorithm favours larger brands, Pinterest shows only what its own users define as visually pleasing. This makes it easier to discover small and up-and-coming sustainable brands.
It can be difficult to gauge the sale’s potential for a product found on Pinterest. However, it is relatively easy to find unique and special brands and then organise them into neat and tidy collections.
Pinterest can also be a great source of useful blog articles. There are lots of other eco friendly stores, shops and online retailers who have written handy guides that explain how to set up a zero waste store and how to find products for your zero waste store.
Local markets and local zero waste stores
Nothing beats getting out into the real world to look with your eyes.
Weekend markets and your local zero waste stores may carry products that are both ethical and interesting. Spend some time browsing products and buy some samples to test before you start selling.
Most eco friendly product manufacturers will request an MOQ (Minimum order quantity) from potential clients. This is typically between £150-250. However, suppliers of zero waste products are normally quite friendly and if you ask politely for a sample then they will normally oblige for a small fee.
Some zero waste suppliers, including Jungle Culture do not request MOQs. It can be really important to find brands like this when you first open a store to reduce the amount you need to spend on products. It's also a great opportunity to test the products yourself! Some products, like shaving soaps and safety razors for example should be tested to ensure they are high-quality, whereas other products such as canvas shopping bags will probably be suitable without the need for testing.
Online zero waste stores
If you live somewhere remote or can’t find what you’re looking for, you can purchase zero waste products for wholesale from other online sellers. This is also handy if you run a dropshipping business. You can search hashtags on Instagram, scour eco friendly blogs for leads and run a Google search to find companies.
For example, Jungle Culture and our sister company Jungle Straws. We provide zero waste products on wholesale, ranging from sustainable bamboo cutlery to organic coconut bowls to natural soaps.
However, when shopping for wholesale zero waste products online, you need to be even more cautious. And that leads us to our next point...
How to check whether a product is ethically-sourced?
In the age of mass production and the internet, it can often be difficult to find truly ethical products. Many companies will state that their products are ‘organic’ and ‘ethical’, but have no idea where they are made or by whom.
But as a zero waste store owner, how can you tell the difference between zero waste wholesale products that are ethically-sourced and those that aren’t?
Let’s have a look at a case study… We’ll pretend that we are looking for an ethically produced bamboo cutlery set to sell in your zero waste store.
So, you look on Etsy, Pinterest, Google etc. and find some firm favourites. They look great in photos and the brands that make them say they are plastic-free, low-impact and ethically-sourced. Perfect.
Now, let’s open a new tab and go to www.alibaba.com and search bamboo cutlery set. See if you can find a similar looking set on Alibaba.
Many brands will claim that a product is ethically-sourced. But, in actuality they will buy the product directly from Alibaba and add their own custom branding, without knowing anything about the product’s origin. This is called private labelling or white labelling.
This is not to say that all products bought from Alibaba are bad and all products made outside of Alibaba are good. But it does allow you to speak to the factory directly about any concerns you may have and you may even be able to buy directly from the factory for a cheaper price!
Talk to us
We hope that this guide has given you some ideas on how to find eco-friendly wholesale products. If you have any questions about ethical sourcing or how to find truly low-impact products, email us or comment below. We will endeavour to help with any queries you have!
For more information on zero waste wholesale products, visit our distribution page.