Amazon removes 'eco' badge from flushable wipes and Donald Trump toilet paper

Sarah Marsh
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Disposable nappies, cotton buds , pet food and novelty Donald Trump toilet paper were among the products on sale on Amazon’s new eco-friendly section of their website, prompting concerns about the sustainability of some of the products on offer.

The world’s biggest online retailer launched the new section of the website on Tuesday in the UK and Europe with more than 40,000 items on the new platform chosen for their sustainability credentials.

But environmental campaigners have raised concerns about some of the products that carry the new Climate Pledge Friendly badge alongside items such as plastic-free solid shampoo bars and organic children’s clothing.

In a search through the site by the Guardian, dog food containing turkey and chicken, flushable wipes, cotton buds and novelty Donald Trump toilet paper were all found to carry the new sustainability badge on Amazon’s platform.

Campaigners said some of the products were “environmentally unsound” and a Green party spokesperson said the new initiative appeared to be “greenwashing”.

The company has since removed sustainability badges from flushable wipes and the Donald Trump toilet paper after they were contacted by the Guardian and said it was a mistake.

Products listed under the Climate Pledge Friendly initiative have been chosen to help customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products, carrying a certificate from schemes such as Fairtrade International, the Carbon Trust and Compact by Design, Amazon’s own certification.

A company spokesperson said the new scheme was not a green guarantee and would highlight products with more trusted sustainability certifications, reducing plastic waste and greenhouse gas emissions through changes in packaging.

Experts said the company should be more discerning with its product choices, thinking of the bigger impact they have, rather than picking items that attempt to be greener through packaging.

Trewin Restorick, chief executive of the environmental charity Hubbub, said: “The eco-friendly options shouldn’t be a sideshow but integrated into their core offer and be integral to their search process.

“Their new Compact by Design self-certification is flawed as it is awarded to products which have more efficient design elements rather than fundamentally questioning the environmental credentials of the product in the first instance. This is why the site contains products which have dubious environmental credentials .”

Amazon has previously faced criticism for its use of excessive cardboard and other packing materials, and last year came under fire for introducing new-style packaging that could not be recycled.

A Green party spokesperson said: “In theory it’s great to see big businesses taking steps in the right direction on climate – but this looks more like green washing than an actual commitment to promote sustainability.”

An Amazon spokesperson said:Climate Pledge Friendly helps make it easier for customers to discover and shop for products that have one or more trusted sustainability certifications including Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council, Fairtrade International and EU Ecolabel.

This is just the beginning. We hope this program encourages more manufacturers to make more sustainable products, and will continue adding more certifications and working with brands and manufacturers to certify more products over time.”