Online shopping vs. in store shopping: which has less of a carbon footprint?

by Isabella B.

Summer has been great but sadly it will be coming to an end soon… which means that it is time to go back to school shopping. As the back to school shopping season kicks off the fall, I have been thinking about how your spending practices are a vote on what products you endorse and the retail practices you’d like to see in place. There are a lot of decisions that can go into a smart consumer purchase, including whether the product fair trade or if it sustainable. In more recent years there has been a lot of concern surrounding how far a product travels to reach your door. I am a avid online shopper; I love the deals and hidden gems you can uncover from the abundance of products available on the web.

As I started to embark on my quest for the perfect pair of boots and a new coat i started to wonder: Does buying products in store have more or less of a carbon footprint than buying products online? After some research, I discovered that it is actually better for the environment in terms of a carbon footprint to buy products online. You may be wondering how can that be? The product has to come all the way from the warehouse to my doorstep! But, when you think about it, so does the product that you buy in store. In store, the product has to get shipped from the warehouse to the store and then taken from the store to your house. When you order products online it essentially takes out the middleman. In fact if you drive to a store you would have to buy 24 products to have the carbon footprint of one product bought online (www.persquaremile.com). So when it comes to this retail season I would recommend plugging in your laptop and partaking in some deal hunting internet shopping. I hope you take these tips into consideration when it comes to buying your essentials and harness your inner supreme shopper this spending season.

Categories Science

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