From food delivery services to online shopping shipments, the “delivery industry” has experienced a considerable bump as COVID-19 anxiety mounts. As a conscious consumer, however, you may have thought about the impact commercial delivery services have on the environment. When we do the simple math, it appears that this will have a negative impact on the environment, but is that true?
A 2013 study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows an unexpected result. This study showed that online shopping could create a smaller carbon footprint compared to in-person shopping. If online retailers chose to optimize their supply chains and packaging, their services could actually benefit the environment more than brick-and-mortar stores, the study concluded. However, the “speed and “packaging” associated with delivery can create problems when you think about sustainable shopping.
More and more people feel rushed to get their orders in 1 or 2 days. Nearly 30% of online shoppers have the intention to change retailers if an e-commerce website does not offer rush shipping. But we have to remember that whenever we choose rush shipping, we might lose 25 trees, as well as emit ~490 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Packaging from Online orders
9,300 stores were expected to close in 2019 and 1.2 million workers in the retail industry have lost their job in the last decade. The main reason will be mostly because of the progression of e-commerce.
The growth of e-commerce cut out middlemen which reduced emissions from transportation. On the other hand, it is a normal practice for vendors to pack products carefully to minimize the damage that occurs during delivery. Although this is done to reduce customer complaints and increase customer satisfaction, it requires companies to use an excessive amount of plastic wrappers and cardboard boxes.
In 2016, 70 billion parcels were delivered globally. Given that the plastic waste generated from the packaging was over 140 million tonnes in 2015, it is clear that vendors are overusing the material needed for packaging.
Unfortunately, when packaging becomes bigger, it may require more special modes of transportation (which means more energy consumption) to deliver the parcels. This leads to a direct increase in carbon dioxide and affects the environment.
One more way to do “green shopping”
Oxygenate came up with the Tooth Bites Community plan to reduce the amount of energy used for transportation. We can ship 120 days of Tooth Bites at once, which can lessen the shipment by 4 times when compared to buying 1 package of Tooth Bites. Recently, we switched our kraft packaging to a dissolving packaging to reduce the impact. We can learn more about this in our previous blog post "Rethink The Life Cycle of Packaging". You also can hold or cancel your plan at any time, so do not hesitate to join the Oxygenate family.