As more and more purchasing takes place online, I’ve been wondering whether it’s more energy efficient to go out and buy something at a local store or to order it over the internet and have it delivered to my door. And which one has the smaller carbon footprint? Now it’s pretty simple to figure out my cost in time and money, and so like millions of other people I often decide that for me online is cheaper. But I see the cardboard boxes and the packing material filling up the recycle bins where we live, and I notice the delivery trucks every day making deliveries on our block, and I wonder about the differences in the total energy costs of the systems for getting goods from manufacturers to customers.Read the full article here.
Well, I have found some studies of exactly these questions, and the answer is: it all depends. But what it depends on is something easy to analyze and to a great extent something that I can control. That key factor is the trip from home to store—how far it is and how I get there.
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Photo by Flickr user AmsterdamPrinting, licensed under Creative Commons