Online shopping: good for the environment?

Growing up, I remember going from one store to another with my mom looking for the best bargains. We always ended up going to 6 or even more stores just because we were looking for the best deals.

From electronic appliances to clothes and every other thing you could possibly think of; we would go to multiple stores just looking for the best deals out there and of course, this involved a lot of driving around town, sitting in traffic and our car was doing all that damage to the environment –  releasing dangerous gases! There was nothing like internet access way back then; so the only way was just by going out to get the things you needed.

Fast forward to this day, the internet has brought online shopping right to us ……….. we can now shop and buy items from the center of our homes, cafe, restaurant OR ANYWHERE as  long as there’s a computer or even a phone;  and not just that, we can now help reduce those emissions from the exhaust of our cars by ordering products and services online. Cool isn’t it?

Saves time

Online shopping is becoming a popular method of getting the things we need without going  physically to the stores which sometimes can be a waste of time. You may have to make a few trips to the stores sometimes before deciding on what you really need to buy. Online shopping eliminates the need for that. Sometime ago, there was a discussion on the radio about top online shopping websites that have great returns policies and also free shipping for most items.

Less cars

Online shopping means less cars on the road and lower emissions. There are great online shopping sites out there. We certainly don’t want to use up all the resources available now. We want to meet our own needs and we also want our future generations to be able to meet their own needs isn’t it?

There are many benefits from shopping online. Lets take a look at them:


This is a huge  benefit we derive from shopping on the internet. You’re not spending hours in a store picking up the things you need to buy. There is no limit to hours of shopping. You can literally shop online at anytime 24/7.

These days ebooks (books in electronic format) are available online for purchase. You don’t need a room to store ebooks; all you need is a computer or a reading device. Ebook is just one way of eliminating the need for cutting down trees to produce paper.

Less expenses:

Traditional shopping takes more time; however, when shopping online, you only buy the items you’re looking for without having to spend extra cash on fuel and eating out.

Product reviews:

I love doing research before buying anything. Online shoppers will benefit immensely from product reviews before deciding on what to buy; so always do your homework before buying a product or service. If you’re visiting a website for the first time, take a minute or two to check their returns policy, shipping, terms of agreement and privacy policy.

Reusable items:

A great way you can help the environment is buy reusing items and a great place to find items in good condition and that can be reused is online. Online shopping also gives you the opportunity to compare prices and check multiple websites before deciding on what to buy.

While it’s great to shop online, you don’t want to get carried away. One of the problems with online shopping is ‘shopping on impulse’; you really want to avoid this because you don’t want to end up sending your shipped package back to the store!

According to the Center for Retail Research more shoppers are now going online to do their shopping. If you’re going to shop online, here are Eco friendly options you should consider:

  • Ground shipping or Standard shipping

This is the option you need to select if you want to save the environment. Selecting same day delivery or next day delivery will only lead to more emissions from those trucks who have to ensure that your package is shipped to your home.

  • Packaging can be reused:

When you receive the items you ordered, don’t throw out the packaging. Boxes and other forms of packaging can be reused as gift boxes or simply for storage.

  • Want versus Need:

Before making a purchase, ask yourself if all the items are what you really need. Cautioning yourself not to buy way more than you need just because those items are only a click away is key.


Okay, I’m not saying you should not go to the stores anymore… If you have to go, there are environmentally friendly options you can consider – take the public transport, walk, bike, carpool with friends, family or neighbors. If you have to go alone ensure you buy all what you need in one trip.

Do you shop online or do you go to the store? Please leave comments below.






8 thoughts on “Online shopping: good for the environment?”

  1. My wife and I do both – shop online and go to the store.

    This is dependent on what we’re looking. For the most part, if it’s not food related, we try to shop online, even if it’s from walmart. I say that, because there’s a nearby walmart to our place.

    But to be honest, I never linked online shopping to being ‘green’, but I’m glad that you made the connection. It makes me feel a little better about the online shopping that I do.

    And thanks for the reminder about ‘want’ vs ‘need’. My wife and I try to keep that in-mind. For the most part, we’ve been able to learn to discipline ourselves when online ‘window shopping’, but of course, we still have our ‘weak’ moments.

    Nice post. 🙂

    • Hi, online shopping is great but we need to be careful not to buy the items we don’t need. Even when we go to the stores, we need to do this in an environmentally friendly manner. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  2. The Internet has provided us with a lot of advantages. It certainly has helped our ecosystem. Moreover, it is what caused a change in lifestyles as we know it. From the industrial revolution to the digital revolution

    • Technology has simply made life easy for us but at the same time we need to watch our habits. Now that we have computers everywhere we tend to print even when we don’t need to. Reducing our waste and keeping our environment free of pollution will in the long run be beneficial for mankind.

  3. Hi there. Just wanted to comment and say this is an interesting viewpoint on online shopping.

    It is thought provoking for sure. I am not a huge advocate of online shopping for the most part, but your article did put a nice positive spin on it.

    I am sure I will be bringing up the points you made here in future conversations with friends and family.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about, and for making me feel better about making online purchases.

    • Hi, I’m glad you enjoyed this article. Whether we shop online or we go into the stores, the important thing here is that we have to take care to minimize waste and reduce pollution. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi Bea. This is a very inspiring post. I had never been a fan of online shopping. Maybe I was just usually skeptical of having my exact purchase getting to me in the exact specifications.
    However I gave it a try one day and I was extremely pleased with my order. Since then I purchase almost anything to everything online from the comfort of my room.
    With the knowledge from this post that it is even Eco friendly gives me the satisfaction.
    Well done!

  5. Thank you so much for your interesting articles about keeping our environment free of pollution. Also by doing On line shopping not only do we reduce the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere but we also lead a life that is less stressful. Keep it up we are enjoying your write ups.


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