I have tried many a time to figure out whether or not shopping online is eco-friendly (or ‘zero waste’), but I’ve yet to come to a solid conclusion. There are too many things to think about!
Is it better for one delivery driver to make the rounds, or for everyone to make their own way to the shop, given that some will drive, some will walk, and some will get on a bus? Does it depend on how efficient a drivers’ route is? And what about how stuff got to the shop in the first place? How far away is the warehouse? Was it imported?
When you buy something from a shop, how do you know it wasn’t delivered in swathes of fresh plastic? Would someone look at me like like I was mad if I asked?
My first real job was doing the night shift stacking shelves at Sainsbury’s (shudder). Everything that went onto the shelves arrived in huge amounts of unnecessary cardboard and plastic.
Before looking into it I had always assumed that shopping online was much worse than buying in-store, but now it appears there are cons to both!
You Might Also Like: The Best Online Bargains for Ethical Consumers This January!
Zero-Waste Shopping On Amazon
Although there should probably be a plastic-free option on Amazon by now, plenty of people I know have emailed customer services (myself included). You can ask them to attach a note to your account requesting minimal, plastic-free packaging, but there’s no guarantee.
They’ve also recently launched a ‘frustration free’ packaging program. It isn’t available for everything, but it’s a start! It promises to reduce unnecessary waste, use 100% recyclable materials and be easy to open.
Zero-Waste Second Hand Shopping
I’d highly recommend shopping on places like Etsy, eBay and Depop because they give an important platform to small businesses and secondhand items. As well as handmade/secondhand being more eco-friendly than mass produced products, being able to speak directly to a small seller gives you more say in how your parcels arrive.
If you’re looking for groceries, clothes or beauty, read last week’s post on the best online bargains for ethical consumers this January.