Environmental Issues of E-Commerce

In today’s world online shopping has become very prominent in consumers everyday life. While online shopping may be convenient, accessible, and more easy in general, there is a negative side to online shopping. Each year, as the amount of online shopping continues, so does the negative impact on the environment, small businesses, and even ones personal information. E-commerce sites are successful given the fact that technology is developing so quickly that convince has become a top tier requirement for every shopper in general. Online shopping allows people to skip the line, save time, and get discounts on everyday items, all from the comfort of their own home. Being that online shopping has become customary in today’s society, it is important to consider the reasons why consumers choose shopping online rather than in stores.  

To start, many companies have been able to create an interactive shopping experience through their websites. For example, eBay has released an online function entitles ‘see it on,’ which allows users to virtually try on items such as sunglasses, all in real time (Solomon 367). Additionally, consumers feel that they get a sense of an item through “imagery”, “product descriptions”, and “reviews”, which creates an interactive shopping experience to the consumer (Solomon 367). Furthermore, the top reasons as to why consumers shop online are that they have the ability to shop twenty-four hours, the ability to compare prices from multiple websites, and the fact that they are saving money by choosing online (Chaffey 1). However, before coming to the conclusion that online shopping is ideal in every way imaginable, it is important to consider the negative aspects of shopping online.

When shopping online there are cons that include getting the item ordered to the consumer in a timely manner. When ordering an item, it really isn’t considered how the product got to the consumer, all that matters is that the product arrived. However, being that items may come in separate packages, with multiple delivery drivers working at once, there is a process as to how the package is transported to the individual. Also, there is more pollution being let into the air by these delivery vans then if the individual that ordered online went to store to get it themselves. Vans produce more “greenhouse gases” and more “air pollution” than regular cars do, which adds more of a negative impact on the environment (Williams 1). Additionally, not only is it a task of getting the product to the consumer, considering the fact that 25% of online goods are returned (Williams 1). This means that it causes even more pollution problems to arise in the long run. While online shopping is bad for the environment, it is still a key component of an individual’s everyday life and isn’t going to become not frequent. In order to keep both consumers happy and the environment safe, there have to be regulations put in place.

One way online shopping could become greener is by adding electric trucks to the mix, which would reduce the number of vans used. These electric trucks would address two important problems, being “emissions and noise” (Jaller 3). Electric trucks would be able to reduce the number of vans on the road, which would ultimately produce a positive effect on the environment. In addition, people could start picking up packages at “central delivery points” rather than having delivery drivers go to every individual in order to deliver their package (Jaller 3). Being that there are over 850 million deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Years alone, there has to be regulations or requirements for online shoppers in place, otherwise, the environment will continue to worsen as time goes on (Jaller 4). Even though online shopping is terrible for the environment, this doesn’t have to be the case.

In conclusion, while online shopping can be extremely convenient in this fast-paced society, it is important to consider not only the negative effects of shopping online but also potential ways to solve the problems formulating from newly found shopping habits. In order for the environment to continue to strive, there have to be adjustments made to online shopping. As online shopping becomes more frequent, so does environmental issues. Consumers must be aware of the consequences of online shopping in order to consider the full picture involving online shopping.

Works Cited

Williams, Jeremy. “The Environmental Impact of Online Shopping.” Make Wealth History, 2

Feb. 2018, <https://makewealthhistory.org/2018/02/26/reducing-emissions-from-online-shopping/ >.

Jaller, Miguel. “Online shopping is terrible for the environment. It doesn’t have to be.” VOX, 21

Nov. 2018, <https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/12/21/16805324/black-friday-2018-amazon-online-shopping-cyber-monday-environmental-impact>.

Chaffey, Dave. “The reason why consumers shop online instead of in stores.” Smart Insights, 19

Oct. 2017, <https://www.smartinsights.com/ecommerce/ecommerce-strategy/the-reasons-why-consumers-shop-online-instead-of-in-stores/>.

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