100 Day Challenge #66: Choose longer shipping times when shopping online

You need to make some household purchases and instead of running to the store, you get online and with the click of a few buttons, your items show up at your door the next day. Does this sound familiar? It's so tempting to choose next day or two-day shipping (especially if you're already paying for Amazon Prime), but it's important to be aware of the environmental price tag associated with all that speedy delivery.

Free next day delivery isn't free to the environment; in fact it has a costly carbon footprint.


Believe it or not, online shopping can actually have a smaller carbon footprint than getting in your car and driving around town purchasing the items you need. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found that a traditional store-visiting shopper had a carbon footprint that was double that of an online shopper. However, that environmental savings quickly slips away when you opt for fast delivery. We understand, why would you opt to get your items in 4-5 days when it costs the same to get it in 1-2 days?


The environmental savings of online shopping come in when delivery companies have time to organize and consolidate purchases and deliver them at the same time in a full truck. When you ask for speedy delivery, there is little time for organization and it puts more trucks on the road.


According to a University of California at Davis study, the amount of United States Postal Service deliveries has increased by 65% since 2009, and we're sure they will only continue to increase. That means more trucks, planes, and trains are being put to work to fulfill delivery times, so let's be thoughtful consumers and decide whether or not we really need the faster shipping option.


Instead of a quick shipping button, we hope we'll start seeing green shipping buttons! How fun would that be? In the meantime, choose the standard 5 day shipping if your order isn't urgent. It might take a few more days, but it's much kinder to the environment!


Photo credits:

You've got mail: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

USPS truck: Photo by Pope Moysuh on Unsplash

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