How to make online shopping a little greener

There are ways to get the convenience and savings of online shopping while minimizing the impact on the environment.

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
How to make online shopping a little greener
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There are ways to get the convenience and savings of online shopping while minimizing the impact on the environment.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- 'Tis the season where delivery trucks are extra busy delivering carbon dioxide exhaust and harmful emissions along with online orders.

There are ways to get the convenience and savings of online shopping while minimizing the impact on the environment.

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 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. They can contribute to heart disease or cancer, and that comes from decades of studies. And children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable," said Kaveh Waddell of Consumer Reports.

FedEx, Amazon and UPS all have plans to roll out electric delivery vehicles, but that process will take years. So 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," said Waddell.

Even better, 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, because of course, walking, biking, or riding public transportation will further minimize the environmental impact of your purchases.