Covered on the New York Times Bits blog earlier today, Amazon has launched a new site that only carries products that have a low impact on the environment. Called Vine.com, the retailer stocks products that have such qualities as being reusable, organic or made from recycled products. Products could also be efficient in terms of energy or water usage as well as powered by a source of renewable energy. For instance, the Bedol water-powered clock forgoes batteries or electricity to display the current time. After filling the water reservoir, electrodes convert ions into a current that can power the clock for up to three months. In addition, a memory chip keeps track of the time when the user needs to refill the water in the device.
Interestingly, Amazon’s brand presence can’t be found anywhere on Vine.com. It’s also impossible to log into Vine.com using a preexisting Amazon username and password. The site is part of the Quidsi network which operates other retail sites like pet shop Wag.com, baby shop Diapers.com, health shop Soap.com and toy shop YoYo.com.
Amazon purchased the Quidsi network during 2010 for just over half a billion dollars. That purchase was more than a year after Amazon purchased the popular footwear retailer Zappos. Other retailer acquisitions completed by Amazon include Shopbop and Woot.
There are a wide range of environmentally friendly products on the new retail site including household cleaning items, baby products, health supplements, housewares, tech gadgets, lawn care equipment, sports equipment and grocery items. Vine.com site leader Josh Dorfman stated “This is a site that is not necessarily about saving the planet, though we feel the products are useful in that regard. It’s really saying to mom, ‘If you care about raising safe and healthy kids and you feel green products without chemicals can help along the way, we’ve figured out ways to help you do that.’”
Regarding the environmental impact of running a sizable retail site with large fulfillment warehouses, Dorfman said “It’s a fair point that no matter how you’re going to engage in commerce, there’s going to be an environmental impact. We’re not promising to be the greenest company right away, and we’re owning up to the fact that it’s not the way we operate across the entire company.”
Vine management has also reached out to all vendors that supply products for the site to make sure all products meet certain requirements before anything is listed for sale on Vine.com.
In order to appeal to people that want to support their immediate community, Vine.com has a section where the user can look for products being made within 100 miles of their city. By isolating the product search by city, shoppers can help out local businesses. As of right now, Vine.com offers twelve choices of location including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Raleigh, Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. Similar to other Quidsi properties, Vine.com offers free one to two day delivery on all purchases over $49 and charges a $4.99 flat rate fee for shipping on orders less than $49.