We have just started selling online woohoo!! and we have a running debate that is echoed throughout the shoppers we know. A post on Treehugger this week addressed the question of which is greener online or in-store shopping. As most things are found in the classic "which is greener" debate - there is no straight answer. I used to think it was because we treehuggers are so hard to pin down. Everything depends and as our gardens teach us, the same things that work for everybody else don't always work for my garden. According to their research, they showed that ground shipping is more efficient than a trip to the store in an individual's car.
That would seemingly make it easy, but the added packaging adds a lot of waste and energy in shipping. What if you want it tomorrow? Air freight adds up to more energy costs as well. How big is the item? That weight and whether it gets packed alone make a difference. I recently accosted one of our green suppliers for additional packaging on an item. Unnecessary packaging is just as wasteful as the plastic bag at the grocery (worse though if you ship it). Most of this is common sense right?
If you are shopping local and moving something home without excess packaging, then that is a good decision too, right? Riding the bus or carpooling (anyone like to shop with friends?) are steps in the right direction. It's a lot to consider, but that is the green journey... Lots of choices and none of them perfect.