In this modern age, the environment has become an increasing concern to consumers across the globe, with individuals expressing more substantial interest in sustainable practices - including sustainable shopping. One way many individuals are trying to become greener and lower their carbon footprint is to try out online shopping.
Online shopping has modified the way shoppers approach purchasing items. Presently, from the comfort of your own home, you are able to buy products from food to bike parts to camping gear or anything else you can think of off the top of your head! Depending on your location, you can have these items at your fingertips within less than 24 hours. As well as being convenient, customers can save precious cash on everything they purchase using online services. Plus, coupons and promotions are always cropping up online, helping consumers save even more money.
So, how sustainable is online shopping compared to traditional shopping, really? Let's break things down further.
Let's consider the transportation of goods. Consumers who purchase from a retail shop could also run a few other errands, thus reducing their overall carbon footprint. However, the average individual is not very efficient in their journey of getting from A to B. Their car vehicle maintenance, driving patterns, and other factors mean that people usually pollute more while getting less done in the long run.
However, professional drivers from delivery companies like FedEx and UPS have financial incentives to transport their packages more efficiently. Delivery businesses invest a lot of resources and time to determine the most efficient routes for delivery, thus having a less negative impact on our environment.
An efficient system that requires some improvement
Online shopping can certainly operate alongside efficient and eco-friendly companies, although there are some factors to take into consideration.
For example, we must consider how efficiently packages are getting delivered. Many home deliveries actually fail the first time, meaning that drivers are required to make an extra few trips to deliver this very same package. If the parcel cannot be delivered successfully on the third trip, the consumer has to drive to a warehouse location to pick up the package themselves.
Furthermore, consumers demanding 24-hour delivery also negatively impact our environment. E-commerce companies can no longer put multiple orders into a singular delivery. The transport vehicles they distribute are emptier and travel a more considerable distance per delivery than they would have if they could bundle together multiple orders.
Sending items back
We have to consider that consumers are able to try on clothing items in a physical store, allowing them to check if the item fits, feels good, and looks good. This is certainly not the case when customers participate in online shopping. Consumers can only see images of garments on models or other products, thus resulting in more returned items.
When people return items, this increases our overall carbon footprint and negatively impacts our environment. Furthermore, when consumers return goods that are damaged, many shops actually dispose of these products, which end up in toxic landfill sites. After all, when retailers consider the cost of logistics and transportation, they find it easier to discard returned items.
Eco-friendly tips for online retailers
However, online shopping doesn't have to be so wasteful in this way. As a customer, you can practice sustainable online shopping by looking out for companies that provide eco-friendly shipping options, sustainable packaging, detailed product descriptions, and no free returns. These features show how companies are trying to reduce their negative environmental impact through online shopping.
Aside from shipping and deliveries, online retailers can take eco-conscious approaches to conserve energy in their outlets, stores, and warehouses. This includes turning off packaging and shipping equipment as well as lightbulbs to save that all-important energy.
Firstly, we can learn that online shopping has the potential to become a lot more sustainable than traditional shopping techniques.
However, it appears there is still progress to be made in this area. After all, vast amounts of packaging returns, and failed deliveries need to be considered in terms of their negative environmental impact.
Finally, any individual can make a difference to our planet even by changing simple approaches to shopping. While shopping techniques may not seem so significant, they have the power to affect our world profoundly!