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Environment

How Online Shopping is Better for the Environment

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The environment has become a greater concern to consumers than ever before. Pew Research found that 67% of Americans feel the government is not doing enough to protect the environment and many people are expressing a greater interest in sustainable activities, such as green shopping. One way many of them are lowering their carbon footprint is online shopping.

Online shopping has changed the way that people approach buying things. Now, from the comfort of your couch, you can purchase products ranging from groceries to heavy equipment. Depending on where you live, you can have those items delivered to your home within 24 hours. In addition to being convenient, consumers can save money on everything they buy online. For example, using Lazada coupons or entering your email when buying from a brad for the first time can save you significant money.

All of this are reasons why so many people around the world prefer to shop online for products and services, but many don’t stop to think about the environmental impact of this decision.

In this article, we will explore how e-commerce can have a positive effect on the environment.

Reducing Transportation’s Impact on the Environment

At first glance, a person may think that e-commerce actually increases a person’s carbon footprint because of the number of deliveries that are being made throughout the city. However, when you pull back the curtain, it is clear that this is often not the case. One of the reasons that ecommerce companies are lowering their carbon footprint is by reducing transportation needs.

Whether it is a brick-and-mortar store or a fulfillment warehouse, items need to be shipped from the point of manufacturing, from a dock, or from an airport. Then, UPS or FedEx trucks need to drive smaller quantities of products to retail stores or deliver these products to individual buyers. So up to this point, the environmental impact is the same.

However, people who purchase from brick-and-mortar stores will drive from their house to the store. They may drive back and forth between multiple stores, comparing prices and looking for the best deal. Conversely, individuals who purchase online do their comparative shopping at home. They are not driving around and making multiple trips before they buy.

One might argue that when a person buys from a retail store, they may also do a few other errands, thereby minimizing their overall carbon footprint. The truth is that the average person is not efficient in getting from point A to point B. Their vehicle maintenance, their driving patterns, and other factors mean that the average person will pollute more while getting less done. Conversely, professional UPS or FedEx drivers have a financial incentive to distribute their packages the most efficiently. Delivery companies invest time and resources to choose the most efficient route to deliver their goods. All of this has a positive impact on the environment.

A Good System That Needs Some Refinement

In theory, online shopping can make for more efficient and eco-friendly brands. However, in the real world, things are a little different.

For example, distribution centers are interested in delivering packages the most efficiently possible. According to research, between 12 and 60 percent of home deliveries fail the first time. This means that a driver needs to make two or three trips to deliver the same item. If the item cannot be delivered by the third trip, then the customer needs to drive to the warehouse to pick up the product.

Wanting items delivered in 24 hours is also impacting the environment. E-commerce stores can no longer bundle several orders into one delivery. The vans they send out are less full, and they travel more miles per delivery than they would if they were able to bundle deliveries together.

Conclusion

Thankfully, a major push is being made by e-commerce stores to minimize and eventually eliminate their carbon footprint. Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, wants to be net-zero carbon by 2023. Electric cars, drones, robots, and bike deliveries may make this goal realizable.

Annabelle Short is a writer and seamstress of more than 7 years. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. Annabelle is a mother and she likes to make crafts and eco-friendly DIY projects with her two kids. Annabelle is passionate about sustainable sewing and eco-friendly clothing. 

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