With the UN Climate Summit currently in the news we can't help but think about the impact regular shopping can have on the environment.
Everything we do impacts the environment some how but what we do to offset our impact has to count for something. So, let's talk about regular shopping versus online shopping.
When we say regular shopping we mean the old fashioned way- physically going to stores to purchase things. There's a good chance you use a vehicle to transport yourself to the various shops, compare items in different stores (which may require a bit more driving), then drive home. If you forget anything you'll find yourself making another trip in your vehicle (very common!).
Some say that regular shopping keeps their costs down because they are frequently aware of their purchases. We'd be surprised to hear if people were factoring in the cost of transportation when thinking about this. Bonus points if you do think about your impact and choose public transit or cycling!
Really, we think the justification is split equally between people who say they're saving money by shopping the regular way and those that save by shopping online. When shopping the regular way transportation is a factor, when shopping online shipping can be a factor. The key word here is 'can'. For many retail websites shipping is discounted or even free (Note: our next blog post will feature tips on how to save money by shopping online). So, shipping charges aren't always a problem.
Getting back to the green conversation- you're definitely right if you're thinking that the packages you order online have to get to you somehow. And that somehow is usually airplanes and trucks. While completing a study at the University of Washington engineers found that, "Delivery service trucks produced 20 to 75 percent less carbon dioxide than the corresponding personal vehicles driven to and from a grocery store."
Similar studies have been conducted all over the world, Per Square Mile (www.persquaremile.com) highlights interesting stats from a comprehensive study organized in the U.K. They say, "If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, their results were unequivocal: Shop online. If you drove to the store, you’d have to buy 24 items to make the trip equal to the carbon footprint of just one item ordered online. If you took the bus, you’d have to buy eight." That puts things into perspective.
Some articles talk about reducing carbon footprint with grocery delivery specifically (Amazon Fresh, Google Shopping Express, Fresh Direct, PeaPod, Spud, etc.). When a fleet of trucks is delivering groceries to many homes, it cuts down on all those people driving to and from grocery stores, much like the online shopping example given above. It adds up when you start to think about it. Delivery companies are very conscious about their environmental impact and costs these days, so they're taking measures to cut back on both. Most delivery companies have sustainability reports on their websites detailing what they've done to contribute to the fight against climate change- UPS, FedEx, Purolator, Canada Post.
Next time you think about buying something, stop and consider whether or not it would be better to purchase it online. Save time, carbon footprint, and even money (think about the gas you're saving and deals you can find online). And when you're considering this also think about the delivery companies that have a mandate to return to your home or office two or three times to avoid missed deliveries. Instead of having them make those extra carbon-emission filled trips, use a Got-it Box so everyone can guarantee a first time delivery!
You, Delivery Companies, and Got-it Box working together to make things greener!