Where to buy zero waste wholesale products?
Zero waste wholesale products can be hard to source for online and physical retailers in the UK, EU and US. But there are lots of great ways to find the best sustainable wholesale products and the highest selling zero waste products for your store.
But as an ethical business you also want to find plastic-free wholesale products that are low-impact or contribute to a worthy cause. So how can we distinguish between a product that is sourced ethically and one that isn’t?
How to find low-impact wholesale products.
Etsy – Etsy can be a really useful tool for researching eco-friendly wholesale products that look good and sell well. Using Etsy’s search tool you can filter by whether a product is handmade, the material used and if the product is shipped from your country.
It is 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.
Reviews are also an important tool which allow you to understand the quality of the product before making a purchase.
As a platform Etsy is very wholesale friendly and 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. Lot’s of small, sustainable and local manufacturers sell on Etsy and would probably love to hear from a budding eco entrepreneur like yourself!
Pinterest – Pinterest is primarily a visual platform for gathering ideas which makes it a fantastic place to find plastic-free wholesale products that look incredible!
Whereas Instagram’s algorithm favours larger brands, Pinterest shows only what it’s users define as visually pleasing, which makes it easier to discover small and up-and-coming sustainable brands.
It can be difficult to gauge the sale’s potential of 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 other zero waste stores – Nothing beats getting out into the real world to look with your eyes.
Weekend markets and your local zerowaste 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. Then you will know first-hand how well the products work!
Most eco friendly products 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 zerowaste 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.
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 zerowaste store owner, how can you tell the difference between a product that is ethically-sourced and one that isn’t?
Let’s have a look at a case study… Let’s pretend that I am looking for an ethically produced bamboo cutlery set to sell in my zerowaste store.
So, I look on Etsy, Pinterest, Amazon, Google etc. and I have 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 origin of the product. This is called private 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.
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, comment below and we will endeavour to help!
For more information on zero waste wholesale products, visit our distribution page.