Chances are, you order a lot of things from Amazon. A lot of people do. In fact, more than 197 million people shop with the Internet giant each month—and those numbers have only risen since the coronavirus pandemic began (in May the company announced a 26 percent increase in its first-quarter revenue). But there are plenty of reasons to make fewer purchases with Amazon, including the fact that the company notoriously utilizes unfair labor practices and exploits employees and drivers. Fortunately, there are other online platforms that allow you to purchase groceries and necessities without a commute—and one of them is doing it sustainably and with your health in mind.
Launched in 2016, Public Goods was created out of a desire to simplify shopping—and to solve the problem that Amazon was creating: oversaturated markets full of earth-trashing, overpriced goods that underwhelm consumers. Founder and CEO Morgan Hirsch had moved to New York after his family business in Canada went bankrupt (“I moved to New York, which was really easy because the bank took all my stuff,” he jokes on the Public Goods site). One morning while looking around at the branded products in the bathroom of his apartment, Hirsch realized how much he hated relying on low-end products chosen from shelves at the store.
“What if you could push a button, and all of your basic toiletries would get delivered to you on a subscription basis?” he asked himself.
And thus, the platform for Public Goods was realized. The company makes and sells healthy, affordable, high-quality products that are shipped directly to you. Costs are kept down because there are no distributors or retailers involved with Public Goods—so each product is quite inexpensive compared to similar brand-name products. Additionally, buying choices are synthesized, since you don’t have to choose from 1,000 different types of deodorant—there’s only one. In fact, there’s just one type of product per need: one body wash, one type of toilet paper, one type of lotion, one kind of kitchen towel, one type of hand sanitizer . . . you get it.
Public Goods also emphasizes using the most eco-friendly innovations whenever possible—such as minimal packaging (no packing peanuts or bubble wrap here), sugar cane bottles, tree-free paper, and toxin-free ingredients. The brand partners with ethical vendors and focuses on making longer-lasting products with high-end, responsibly sourced ingredients that naturally create less waste and pollution. The process is designed to be incredibly simple. And the products, packaging, website, and every aspect of the experience is aesthetically pleasing. Amazon can’t say as much.
Public Goods sells four major categories: vitamins and supplements, healthy food, home essentials, and personal care. In each of these categories, you will find products such as reusable beeswax-coated cotton food storage wraps ($14), compostable trash bags ($5), almond butter ($9), tortilla chips ($4), bamboo panty liners ($3), and pure argan oil ($9.25).
To purchase Public Goods products, you must sign up for an annual membership. Fortunately, when you sign up, you automatically receive a free, two-week trial membership (which you can cancel with an email to customer service). If you decide to stick with your account, a yearly membership fee is only $59 and gives you access to shop all of Public Goods’ products. Important note: That’s half the price of an Amazon Prime membership (which runs a cool $119).
If you decide to cancel your Public Goods membership at any time after your two-week free trial, you will be refunded the pro-rated amount left on your year. But after your first shipment, we’d bet that you’ll think twice before canceling.
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