When you do shop, be smart about it!

People shop online all the time. The amount of packages delivered in the US has nearly doubled in the last decade. As a consumer, there are a couple of easy things you can do to be more conscious and minimize your carbon footprint.

But first, I will risk annoying you to state the most important message: buying something we don’t actually need is just a waste of money, space, and greenhouse gas emissions that go into making the product and delivering it. We all have things lying around, gathering dust, that we’d be better off having never bought in the first place. So, before buying something, take time to double check: Do I really need this? Will it be used regularly?

Assuming you do need it, the following will help to minimize your carbon footprint:

  1. Optimize shipping options.
    • If you need to get multiple things, order them together as much as possible so they come in one delivery and one package.
    • Choose “no rush” shipping instead of 2-day delivery when you can. Why? Expedited shipping means companies send out trucks that aren’t full to get our products to us quicker. This ultimately means more miles driven by trucks and more of them on the road.
    • When offered and if convenient for you, choose to pick up items from a centralized location (in a locker at a public location). This prevents trucks from having to go “the last mile” to every single person’s door.
  2. If you’re shopping on Amazon, use smile.amazon.com when you buy stuff so a portion of the money goes to an organization of your choice. I did some research and believe Cool Earth is most effective at minimizing emissions. They help prevent the deforestation of rainforests, while simultaneously improving the quality of life for people in these communities.

Ryan Hagen writes to help reverse global warming and bring more sustainability into the world. He is the founder of Crowdsourcing Sustainability and sends out an informative and uplifting sustainability newsletter every two weeks. This post was originally featured in the newsletter.

Read other content from the “Take Sustainable Action” section or See all sections of the What on EARTH?! sustainability newsletter.

Conscious Consumerism: Sustainable Online Shopping

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