A few decades ago, there were two concepts which were unknown back then: online shopping and going green. Most of the older generations were used to the traditional way of shopping – going from store to store to check items and compare prices. In addition, a significant portion of the population used to ride vehicles which are considered as gas guzzlers by modern standards.
Today, almost everything can be bought online – clothes, toys, prescription medication, books, electronics, and movie tickets, to name a few. Most internet users have at least tried to purchase an item or two online and have an idea on its benefits. Also, environmental groups have stepped up their efforts in promoting environmentally-responsible behavior, which includes shopping practices.
Relationship between online shopping and the environment.
Believe it or not, there is a connection between shopping in an online shopping mall and saving the environment. Through the years, your local shopping mall might have been actively supporting environmentally-responsible behavior and practices such as the use of paper bags, natural lighting, and energy-efficient air-conditioning. Likewise, online malls have been contributing to the effort for years. Here are some of the ways that online shopping has been helping Mother Nature lately:
Online shopping saves gas and avoids emission of pollutants. Nothing beats being able to shop at the comfort of home. Since you’re not driving, no gas is spent. Shipping also costs less fuel compared to driving (40 percent less for overnight, 90 percent less for ground shipping). In addition, there are no harmful emissions of greenhouse gases since there was no fuel burned.
Online shopping companies normally use and reuse recycled boxes.
Online shopping sites maintain warehouses which do not require too much lighting and ventilation compared to brick and mortar malls. This keeps costs low and helps the company maintain a low overhead.
More and more online stores are beginning to offer environmentally friendly products. In addition, blog areas of online stores also serve as a medium of promoting these products to the public.
However, there are some who question the benefits of online stores. For example, though online stores normally send items to shippers in bulk to save costs, each item is still individually packed, which can lead to more waste production. In addition, gasoline saved through shopping online may not enough to make an impact.
A recent study revealed that an average American shopper should purchase at least 25 items at an online shop before any benefit can be felt. Any online shopping activity involving less than 25 items revealed only marginal effects, as opposed to popular perception. This posed a challenge to online store owners and shippers to devise more efficient routes.
Beneficial it may be, it should be remembered that online stores also has its disadvantages. Unless a consumer decides to purchase in bulk, conventional shopping in a brick and mortar shopping mall still remains a viable option. Nevertheless, adopting and promoting environmentally-responsible behavior is a good start.
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