4 Strategies To Make Online Shopping Greener

How to make online shopping greener more sustainable eco friendly respectful of the planet and environment

 6 Min Read


As more consumers turn to the internet for shopping, environmental considerations become ever more important. So how can we be more sustainable while shopping online and how do we ensure our purchases don't have an adverse impact on our planet?

The surging usage of e-commerce is triggering ecological apprehensions. Consequently, people are beginning to explore options to shop online sustainably. Boasting ease of ordering and swift delivery, online stores attract customers with convenience, promptness, and adaptability.

A 2021 PWC report highlighted that 51% of shoppers qualify themselves now as 'digital' and increasingly require quicker delivery times. Simultaneously, survey data showed that 50% of individuals worldwide noted an increase in their environmental engagement over the past six months.

A former MIT study discovered that digital shopping tended to be more environmentally conscious than traditional in-store shopping in a big number of cases.

However, we do need to apply some good practises to make our online shopping greener. Here are 4 simple ways to do so:

1- Buy in Bulk 

green online shopping buy bulk multi pack sustainable eco friendly

When buying online, you should be aware of the environmental impact of your purchases. Every trip to ship an order is associated with a carbon footprint. It also requires packaging and in some cases single-use plastic is used by some sellers. Additionally, it can have an increased financial cost either to you or to the small business you're trying to support.

Buy your items in bulk instead of single units to reduce the negative effects on the environment that the multitude of small orders would have.

This strategy works well for items you use on a regular basis and that don't have a short Best Before Date or Use by Date.

Typically, this can be the case of your favourite natural deodorants, compostable bin linerslaundry detergent or cleaning refill drops.

2- Reduce the number of orders 


It may require a bit more preparation and planning ahead, but the advantages are worth it. Merging your online orders into a single delivery reduces the number of delivery boxes and vehicles, which ultimately results in less waste as explained above.

This strategy works well for items that do not need urgent acquisition. You can easily group them with your recurrent purchases for instance. 

Typically, this can be the case of a restock on your eco-beauty products when almost empty or a birthday present you were planning to get. No last minute panicking anymore!

3- Minimise returns 

Minimise returns shopping online carbon footprint sustainable green

Major retailers have developed a highly efficient process to accept returns, generally with no fee for the customer. Though convenient, returns may greatly raise the ecological expense of your product as reported by a Bloomberg publication. Roughly 30% of all e-commerce sales are returned, and products are usually sold cheaper or disposed of afterward. In the apparel sector, 84% of returns are placed in landfills or burned.

These facts are startling and indicate our throwaway culture. Do your part to curtail returns and only acquire necessary items. The wish list can be a great help as you continually evaluate your needs.

4- Look out for Eco-friendly Retailers


In these times of high-stakes climate, plastic, and ecological/ biodiversity crises, we cannot keep on doing business as usual. Companies must adapt to today's urgent realities.

As a consumer, you have the power to make an impact. You can make your voice heard by choosing ethical and environmentally conscious sellers. Your decisions can create a lasting positive effect.

You might have noticed these last years that producers have become more ethically transparent when it comes to their products. They now offer certifications such as GOTSOeko-tex and Fairtrade to signify their adherence to higher standards of environmental responsibility.

In the same way, an increasing number of resellers is getting involved in environmental projects and taking actions towards sustainability. This is the case of Apostrophal who is a proud member of 1% For The Planet, and it is the case of many like-minded businesses who are doing their bit for a greener future such as becoming B corp certified amongst other.  

So when shopping online, investigate which companies have made strides in minimising their environmental impact and choose to buy preferably from them.

Virtuous baby steps can yield big transformations; embark now.

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