Online shopping is big business: Americans spent $395 billion at Web retailers in 2016, up from $28 billion in 2000. Part of the increase may be due to a belief that e-commerce is a greener option than shopping at your local brick-and-mortar store. But according to various online-retailing industry studies, there are several environmental factors to consider.
Delivery trucks make up to 7 percent of traffic in American cities. And delivery traffic is projected to grow 45 percent by 2045 thanks in part to online shopping, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Choosing expedited shipping more than doubles a package’s carbon footprint.
When a retailer splits a single order into multiple shipments, it increases carbon emissions by 35 percent.
About 10 percent of initial deliveries fail in urban areas, requiring two — or more — delivery attempts.
E-commerce purchases are returned 30 percent of the time, compared with less than 9 percent of in-store purchases. This significantly increase the delivery’s environmental impact.