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Efficiency of online shopping assessed

21 November 2018 - 11:37 by Simon Crisp

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A new study from the Energy Saving Trust suggests that it is more eco-friendly to buy goods online rather than taking at trip to the high street to pick them up.

This statement is dependent on the kinds of shopping habits that a user embraces, meaning that improved efficiency and lower carbon emissions can only be achieved if certain steps are followed.

Interestingly enough one of the pieces of advice given by the experts is to steer clear of express delivery services and instead choose to bundle products together in a single delivery. This means that delivery vans do not need to make multiple trips to the same address.

One unsurprising guideline is that a trip to a local store which is within walking distance will always be the most sustainable option, since this will create no emissions and will also be a good way to get a little exercise.

Home deliveries which are not completed because the customer is not available to accept the goods create waste, so it is vital to ensure that instructions are left to place the packages somewhere safe or drop them at a neighbour’s house, rather than returning them to the distribution depot.

Product returns are also a problem, especially in the clothing category. It is argued that trying fashion items on before ordering is a good idea, where possible.

Ultimately the Energy Saving Trust argues that it makes sense to reduce consumption altogether and buy second hand goods where possible, preferably from charitable outlets.

Of course with Christmas on the way and Black Friday just around the corner, it is inevitable that most people will indulge in a little retail therapy. Online shopping has proven to be especially efficient if handled correctly, which should give it the edge, especially as it is also more convenient.