AliExpress or Action, which is ‘worse’ (read: less sustainable)?

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AliExpress or Action, what is 'worse' (read less sustainable)

Want to score cheap gadgets? To do this, go to Action or AliExpress. But what is actually ‘worse’? By this we mean: what is less sustainable? At Action you may shop ‘locally’, but that also comes from somewhere. We asked ChatGPT. This is the article that came out – without any editorial input from us.

When you’re shopping for affordable gadgets, household items or decoration, two big names that pop up are undoubtedly AliExpress and Action. But have you ever thought about the sustainability of these shopping platforms? Which of the two has a greater impact on the planet? Below we dive deep into the facts and figures to help you make an informed choice.

Transport and logistics

You love those low prices, but what is the price the planet pays for those cheap goods? At AliExpress, a Chinese online marketplace, most products come from China or other distant countries. This means that your purchase will probably come to you by plane or ship, resulting in significant CO2 emissions. Although Action also imports products from abroad, the chain is more locally focused with many distribution centers in Europe. This makes the logistics process slightly shorter and potentially less polluting.

The difference becomes even clearer when you look at the scale. AliExpress ships products individually to customers around the world, while Action ships goods in bulk to its stores. This means that more packaging materials and transportation are required for AliExpress orders. Not only transport, but also the individual packaging of products can have a huge negative impact on the sustainability of the entire system.

Product quality and lifespan

You may think: a cheap product is a cheap product, regardless of where it comes from. But that’s not entirely true. The quality of products varies greatly, and this has a direct impact on their durability. A product that breaks down quickly is more likely to end up in the waste dump. While it’s difficult to generalize, many consumers have noticed that products from AliExpress can have a shorter lifespan than those from more traditional stores like Action.

The quality control at Action seems to be slightly better overall. This has to do with European regulations and standards that products must meet. This is different with AliExpress; not all products meet European or American quality standards. This means you may have to purchase replacement products more often, ultimately creating more waste and emissions from production and shipping.

Transparency and responsibility

A final, but very important point is transparency. As a consumer you have the right to know how sustainable a company really is. In the case of Action, you can more easily find out where products come from and how they are made, thanks to European regulations that encourage business transparency. In addition, Action has introduced sustainability initiatives in some countries, including recycling programs.

AliExpress is a lot less transparent. The enormous scale and diversity of sellers makes it difficult to find out exactly where a product comes from, who made it and under what circumstances. This makes it difficult to truly assess the sustainability of your purchase.


While both platforms have their own sustainability issues, Action seems to be a better choice on several fronts. The shorter transport routes, better quality control and greater transparency make it a more responsible option for the conscious consumer. However, it remains important to be aware of your consumption patterns, regardless of where you shop. Sustainability starts with conscious choices, and now that you are better informed, you can make them.

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