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It's Semi-Annual Sale Season: Is Shopping Online Greener?

imagesIn case you haven’t had an influx of emails from retailers across the country announcing their semi-annual sales the past few weeks, here’s another reminder!

“But money is tight… times are tough” We’ve been hearing these phrases more often than ever the past year.  However, every once in awhile you need to treat yourself. So take advantage and shop.

But here’s the question – is shopping online really more eco-friendly than hitting up the stores?

The truth is it’s a case by case situation. Here’s a few things to consider:

– Does the fuel used for shipping outweigh what you would spend trekking to your local mall or boutique? Example: If it’s an item that you can buy locally but you’re ordering from a retailer who ships out of California – then it’s typically a more eco-friendly choice to head to the store directly (by foot, bike or public transportation preferably.  If you’re shopping a few different stores, it’s wiser to hit a mall or hit stores close together in one shot).

– What about the excessive packaging used for items shipped?  Even a plastic (though clearly a reusable bag is preferable!) bag from a store has less of an environmental impact than the often extreme amount of packaging materials items are shipped in.

– The good news? More retailers than ever seem to have developed  an “eco-conscious”, and are making an effort to use recycled products for shipping.  Taking it a step further and reusing the packaging your purchases arrive in is another  way to cut down on waste.

What about you? Do you prefer online shopping or ‘in-person’ store action? Comment below.

Posted by Beth

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Beth is a Health and Wellness expert who believes sustainability goes hand-in-hand with self care. She’s the girl whipping up kombucha cocktails at parties, and extolling the benefits of canning vegetables to anyone who will listen. View all posts by Beth Funari

4 thoughts on “It's Semi-Annual Sale Season: Is Shopping Online Greener?

  1. “Does the fuel used for shipping outweigh what you would spend trekking to your local mall or boutique”
    This is a bad question. Everyone drives these days. So it’s more like Does the fuel used for shipping outweigh what you would spend driving around your local malls and shops. And I think the answer is always no. (although if you do actualy walk or bike to every shop then it might actualy be greener).

  2. Hi Odchudzanie – I tend to disagree. Although many people do own cars – it’s more common in suburbs. Also, many people do take advantage of public transportation. Since I live in the city, I often take SEPTA to sporting events and around Philly, and also do a lot of my shopping at local boutiques – 3rd Street is awesome! AND you can burn some calories as picking up essentials. But, distance from where your shopping versus work/home should be considered when shopping online versus in stores if you are driving.

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