Online shopping: is it really the greener choice? Even we wondered whether it was the cleaner way to shop. While shopping online eliminates the emissions you’d expend by driving to and from the store, it also often comes with long shipping distances and non-biodegradable packaging. Both are bad news. So, here are some tips to making your online shopping a bit greener:
- Think about it – when you order something and get it shipped, it’s going to have to make a trip to your house. So if you’re shopping for multiple items, try to order from the same place all at once. That way, your stuff will only make one trip rather than several trips.
- Pay attention to the practices of the sites where you shop. Major sites, such as Amazon, have begun to use recyclable and sustainable shipping methods. So now you’ll have a choice in buying more eco-friendly.
- Choose green shipping. If they don’t offer it, in the “special comments” box, ask for your items to be shipped together, if possible. Or for recyclable materials to be used. They might not be able to grant those requests, but you definitely have a right to ask.
There are thousands of online stores to choose from – not sure where to start? Here are some sites that offer air-friendly options:
- Etsy.com provides various sellers that offer vintage, handmade products. Many are eco-friendly sellers. This site gives you direct contact from who you’re buying from. So, you’ll have the ability to buy from sellers that only ship using sustainable, air-friendly methods.
- Ebay’s World of Good online store lets you shop from fair trade sellers. The sellers are split into categories and you can choose to only shop from those labeled “eco-positive,” meaning they make and ship their products using sustainable, air-friendly means.
- Amazon uses TerraPass to calculate their carbon footprint. They also offer combined shipping and have a Frustration-Free Packaging program that uses recyclable cardboard for shipping.
- For shipping, UPS uses alternative energy vehicles, sustainable packaging, and technology that maps more efficient routes.
- Of course, the greenest places to shop don’t do any shipping at all! Downloading purchases through sites like iTunes or Amazon (instead of ordering CDs and DVDs) completely eliminates the litter and air pollution factor—it’s très air-friendly! So, although hard copies are still an option, remember that direct downloading is the cleanest, zero-emission way to get your music and movies!
If online shopping isn’t an option, shop greener by carpooling or riding transit to and from the store. (In other words, take friends along. Shopping’s more fun with them, anyway.) And if you drive, try to trip chain by charting a route where you can stop by several stores in one trip.
And don’t forget to log your air-friendly online shopping and cleaning commuting on AirCreds for points and prizes!