What's the Most Energy Efficient Way to Shop?

On his Per Square Mile blog, Tim de Chant has been kind enough to answer one of mankind's biggest existential questions: What’s more energy efficient, shopping online or in stores?

August 25, 2013, 7:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


[W]ith the boom in online shopping for everything from jeans to Jujyfruits, people have grown concerned that e-commerce’s simplicity comes with an environmental price," writes de Chant. "The concern mostly centers around the delivery’s carbon footprint. All those UPS trucks rumbling down every street in American surely can’t be a good thing."

De Chant reviews the findings of a few of the many studies that "have looked at the difference in carbon emissions between items ordered over the internet and those purchased the old fashioned way." And what has he found? "Fret not. Your Amazon delivery probably has a trimmer footprint than a simple trip to the store."

"Why are brick-and-mortar stores so inefficient?" he continues. "It turns out that transporting people to the store to select something and then getting them back home again requires a lot of energy. You also have to consider that items sold in stores were distributed from a central warehouse. When you place an order online, that trip transforms from one to the store to one directly to your home."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 in Per Square Mile

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