Is shopping online better for the environment?

posted 2 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
9189 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

something else is just going to go in it’s place.

we had a shopping mall close near us recently.  a costco and lowes are going there.

another mall closed years ago and it became an outdoor mall.  wegmans and lots of restaurants.

alot of these outdoor mall spaces do free concerts, free movies, etc during the summer to bring in business to the restaurants.


Post # 3
3020 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I’m not sure that shopping online is that much better for the environment. I’m super addicted to Amazon Prime for it’s convenience, but it seems like there is a lot more waste, like cardboard boxes that don’t get reused and those plastic film air packs. We recycle them, but as I’m sure you’re well aware recycling plants produce pollution as well. 

Then there is the amount of fuel for delivery… 

Honestly I felt best about my eco-friendly shopping habits when I was in my early 20s, riding the bus and/or walking everywhere, and thrifting all the things. It’s such an inconvenient lifestyle, but the only things taking up my time were college and a part-time job back then so I had the time to hoof it and browse for hours. 

Post # 4
2071 posts
Buzzing bee

I work for a major US retailer in the corporate office… and this has been discussed every which way to Sunday. The main issue boils down to a few things to consider:

1) Some products just cannot be purchased online and/or there’s consumers that still find value in B&M stores… so for that reason, most retailers will not go strictly online only—especially if they carry a large assortment of items (unlike FB boutiques where it is majority merch apparel)

2) Amazon obviously comes to mind—but Amazon leaves a very large footprint in the environment. Their distribution centers are MASSIVE (hundreds of thousands of square feet), the infrastructure of a disti center that carrys such an assortment of products has to have hazmat rooms/ storage bays, the amount of packaging and trash that they go through needs to be considered, the freight alone of shipping everything, coordinating those trucks, delivery, inbound and outbound, etc

3) That was just Amazon. Now take every medium to major retailer and think of all the distribution centers they’d have to build to house their online assortment. Then take everything already mentioned (freight, supply chain, coordinating all of that additional product [aka more space for office personnel]. You’ll have giant distribution centers popping up left and right because when you click an item online, it has to come from somewhere. Most stores only keep a fraction of their online merchandise actually in stock and on them, often times it comes straight from the vendor to you. However; take Great Value for example (Wal Mart branded food). If Wal Mart decided that they were going to eliminate their stores, they could send all of the product back to their vendors and have them ship—but what about “in house” brands? Yep, you have to build and manage and warehouse to support ALL of that product. And you don’t want sales to go down, so you can’t just stop making it… so you have to build more, arrange more freight, hire more people, etc. Most large retailers carry in house brands that make them a lot of money.

4) Last but not least, consumers still like to go in store and touch and feel product. That’s just the way it is still, and even though the convenience factor is still there—there’s a lot of items people want pick up and put their hands in and touch before making that big purchase. One of those items we see a lot is furniture. People want to know that when they pick up that end of the coffee table, it FEELS sturdy. And online reviews can help validate that assumption based of the things a website says, but nothing substitutes going into a Haverty’s and seeing for yourself what your $500 will get you.

Post # 5
1675 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Soooo the shopping mall in our area just recently got demolished…it simply died as a lot of malls are doing.  Now a Costco is being put in its place.  In reality “the mall” didn’t really die, it just got revamped into a “town square” which is just an outside mall surrounded by brand new condos and townhomes. The code words are “walkable communities”. So the carbon footprint is growing not getting smaller.  Keep wishing bee.

Post # 6
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I live in a city with a solid public transportation system. Most people walk or take public transit to shop, which is better than delivery trucks. If we’re talking about big items, it’s probably same difference whether you get them home by car or truck. And of course the things sold online still need huge warehouses and distribution centers.

Maybe the numbers look different in places where everyone has to drive – not sure. Someone still has to transport the goods from source to distribution center, then to your door. It probably depends on what exactly is being used as transportation, and how efficient the trip planning is.

Post # 8
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Depends whether less cars on the road etc combat all the extra plastic and packaging being used, not to mention delivery trucks that usually are worse for the environment than your average car I guess. Interesting questions.

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