Free two-day shipping seems like a no-brainer- what’s not to like about your order arriving almost instantaneously? But as online shopping continues to boom, problems with expedited shipping are showing up at our doorstep.
Society’s demand for faster deliveries means more trucks on the roadways, more traffic, and more pollution. Delivery trucks are often diesel-powered and have low fuel efficiency, emitting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and toxins that affect air quality (Source). When delivering expedited orders, these trucks may not be full, or may be running on less optimized routes. It also means more packaging – if you’re buying multiple items, they may not be available at the same time. With expedited shipping, they’ll be rushed to your door in separate boxes, rather than sent together when both items are at the warehouse (Source). For our air quality, roads, and waste infrastructure, expedited delivery looks like a wrong turn.
Not only does expedited shipping increase air pollution and emissions, it’s also been linked to a growing list of social issues. Increasingly, we’ve come to expect free two-day shipping from all online retailers,who have, in turn, faced soaring delivery costs – Amazon’s annual delivery expenses have risen from $1.2 billion to $21.7 billion over the past decade (Source). With companies looking to deliver more packages more quickly, logistics companies have turned up the pressure on their drivers to keep to a demanding schedule. Recent interviews of Amazon drivers describe dangerous driving and inhumane work schedules without bathroom breaks (Source). It’s clear that the burden of delivering packages faster than ever has fallen directly on delivery drivers.
For World Centric, transportation is a relatively small portion of our products’ carbon footprint – shipping to the US from our overseas factories accounts for roughly 6% of total emissions, and shipping to customers is about 5% of total emissions. Most of the remaining emissions come from how our products are made and where they are disposed of. That’s why we’re looking for ways to reduce our footprint through more efficient manufacturing and helping more of our products get composted.
When you purchase World Centric products on our website, you can select from a number of shipping options, including next-day air, two-day air, three-day air, and ground shipping. You’ll find that the best choice for your wallet - and our planet - is ground shipping. This ensures that your order stays off airplanes and is optimized with other deliveries, rather than getting sent out solo. This rule of thumb applies to orders made through our distribution partners as well – consider allowing more time for orders to arrive.
What’s the easiest way to prevent the emissions and labor issues associated with expedited delivery? Your best bet is to reduce the frequency of your purchases altogether. Reducing our purchases not only reduces shipping, it also prevents all of the bigger impacts associated with producing an item. Raw materials extraction, farming, processing and product manufacturing typically account for about 80% of all carbon emissions. So, if your purchase is an impulse buy, it’s worth taking a moment to consider how important the purchase really is for your life. It’s important to buy only what you really need. If you do really need to order something, consider selecting the ground shipping option, even if expedited shipping is free. The extra few days will fly by, and our planet will thank you for waiting a little longer for your order.