6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Downsides of holiday shopping
(ABC 6 News) – Holiday shopping season is underway, and maybe your street or driveway is clogged with lots of delivery trucks bringing packages to your door.
It turns out, those trucks are delivering carbon dioxide exhaust and harmful emissions along with your online orders.
Is there a way to get the convenience and savings of online shopping without hurting the environment?
Consumer Reports shares some tips to make your online orders a little greener.
Maybe having Amazon Prime or Walmart Plus means you don’t pay for fast shipping, but the environmental costs of getting goods from a warehouse to your door can be high.
Trucks and vans making last-mile deliveries are estimated to emit more carbon dioxide annually than burning 4.5 billion pounds of coal. And that’s not just bad for the environment. Consumer Reports says it’s dangerous for us too.
“If you breathe in the harmful fumes from trucks and delivery vehicles going by, those are microscopic particles that can cause asthma,” explains Consumer Reports’ Kaveh Waddell. “They can contribute to heart disease or cancer, and that comes from decades of studies. And children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.”
FedEx, Amazon, and UPS have plans to roll out electric delivery vehicles, but that process will take years.
But there are some things you can do now to lower the impact of your family’s online holiday shopping.
First, take a look at how and when you press “buy” and plan ahead to avoid those one-item orders!
“It’s best to consolidate your deliveries to just one order and pick the slowest shipment speed available. This allows companies to keep fewer vans on the road,” says Waddell.
Or instead of choosing delivery, pick up your packages from a nearby location like a UPS store or an Amazon locker. That cuts down on individual deliveries those big vans need to make.
And remember shopping locally this holiday is a great way to help your local businesses AND the environment, especially if you leave the car at home. Walking, biking, or riding transit to the store will help minimize the environmental impact of your purchases.
Another benefit to cutting down on online orders is reducing the number of boxes and bags arriving at your front door that you’ll need to recycle.