The holiday season means many of us bought gifts online and had them delivered right to us. In 2020, with more and more things being made accessible from the comfort of our own homes, it seems as though we’re moving further into the future. However, the popularization of shipping, especially expedited shipping, is having a huge impact on the environment.
In a world where people are looking for instant gratification and two-day shipping is only a click away, products are being sent around the world at greater quantities and speeds than ever before. Business is booming for places like UPS, FedEx, and the USPS. Last year, Amazon quadrupled their shipping power to keep up with demand, according to Forbes.
Expedited shipping comes into play when places like fulfillment centers are forced to send you multiple packages because that’s the only way to get you your packages on time, which creates a higher demand for delivery trucks. And if that center happens to not have what you ordered, then your items may even need to be flown in at a moment’s notice.
By now you may have pieced together the fact that more delivery trucks on the road means more pollution. And when you think about the addition of more planes in the sky, the impact the two-day shipping era is having on the environment is huge. Emissions from trucks and planes have always contributed to climate change, but two-day shipping has accelerated the Earth’s timeline even faster than people expected. Below is a video, detailing some explanations for this.
All this might come across as condescending, but I’ll be the first to admit I’m not innocent here either. I, like most people, am guilty of selecting two-day shipping for something I honestly could have gone a few days without.
In the past year, I have ordered a phone case, a monopoly game board, a bluetooth speaker, another phone case, a pack of scented markers, and a Harry Potter themed keychain, to name a few.
There was really no sense of urgency for any of these purchases. I could have easily waited a few days for these items to get to me. That said, I’m not claiming that I won’t use two-day shipping in the future, nor am I asking you to stop using it, either.
What I would like is for all of us to be more conscious about their carbon footprint. The things we might think we need immediately are probably not worth the unnecessary damage to the planet. All I ask is that next time, ask yourself, can it wait? And let’s be honest, do we really need those socks or that phone case by Wednesday?