- On January 7, 2016
Yes, online shopping is a way to go green. E-commerce reduces the impact of shopping by using one-third less energy than conventional shopping, but if you want to be green you should skip the express airmail.
It is interesting to note that manufacturers more than doubled the number of eco-friendly product launches in 2008 in comparison to 2007. In a Cone survey, eight out of ten responded that they planned to spend at least as much on green products as they did in the past.
A study by Carnegie Mellon Green Design Institute stated that not only does online shopping use less energy but its carbon footprint is also approximately one-third smaller than regular purchases.
The scientists said that the largest environmental impact of normal shopping is the customer driving his/her car to the store, on an average of 14 miles roundtrip for a typical purchase of three items. You and your car, carrying 40 pounds of goods on a 20-mile trip use one gallon of gas. Let’s assume that a truck, which accounts for two-thirds of this country’s shipping, is hauling 30 tons of cargo (the legal limit) on a 1,000-mile trip…your package will account for approximately 0.1 gallons. So, a UPS or FEDEX truck delivering lots of packages uses less energy per unit on the average.
Both companies are working to make their routes and fleets more efficient because this will also save them money. You can find sustainable versions of almost anything on the internet if you know where to look.
A few online stores to consider in your green shopping effort are:
- Etsy – puts you in direct touch with artisans who handcraft items from custom signs to furniture to fashion, thereby avoiding the energy use that is an aspect of mass production.
- Branch – home and garden items ranging from toys for the children, bamboo toothbrushes, natural fiber sheets to sleek décor.
- Viva Terra – You needn’t give up style in your commitment to the environment. This online marketer offers sustainably-crafted products like recycled glass plates, carved wooden baskets, and peaceful rock fountains, for example.
- Olive Barn – organic seeds for growing herbs, greens, vegetables, and flowers; Moo Poo compost tea; rice hull pots. Don’t undo your environmental commitment by using plastic pots, chemicals or pesticides in your eco-friendly garden. Gardening is green.
- World of Good – 20,000+ goods, each with a positive impact. This company is animal-friendly, supports local economies, uses environmentally friendly materials, and you can shop for everything from clothes and jewelry to home décor.
There are hundreds of apps for your smartphone to help you choose green shopping, eating, travel, and fun. Shopping online is convenient and saves time. If stores offer an option to ship via USPS, this is a great eco-friendly option. Also, note that the Post Office supplies (including stamps) are made from recycled materials and are recyclable.
A word for the brick-and-mortar vendors—goods produced locally or clothes you may return if they don’t fit, support stores owned and operated by locals, who incidentally pay local taxes. If you prefer old-fashioned shopping and want to go green, leave the car at home and walk to your destination!