Consumer Reports

Holiday Deliveries Make a Lot of Pollution, Here's How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Consumer Reports has some tips to reduce your footprint while ordering this holiday season

NBC Universal, Inc.

With holiday shopping underway, maybe your street or driveway is clogged with lots of delivery trucks bringing packages to you and your neighbors. It turns out those trucks are delivering carbon dioxide exhaust and harmful emissions along with those online orders. Is there a way to get the convenience and savings of online shopping without hurting the environment? Consumer Reports has tips to make your online orders a little greener.

Memberships like Amazon Prime or Walmart+ mean you don’t pay for fast shipping, but the environmental costs of getting goods from a warehouse to your door can be high.

Trucks and vans making deliveries are estimated to emit more carbon dioxide annually than burning 4.5 billion pounds of coal. And that’s not just bad for the environment. Consumer Reports says it’s dangerous for us, too.

If you breathe in the harmful fumes from trucks and delivery vehicles going by, those microscopic particles can cause asthma. And they can contribute to heart disease or cancer, according to decades of studies. Children and older people are particularly vulnerable.

FedEx, Amazon and UPS have plans to roll out electric delivery vehicles, but that will take years. In the meantime, there are some things you can do now to lower the impact of your family’s online holiday shopping. 

First, take a look at how and when you press “buy,” and plan to avoid those one-item orders. It’s best to consolidate your deliveries to just one order and pick the slowest shipping option available. This allows companies to keep fewer vans on the road. Or instead of choosing delivery, pick up your packages from a nearby location like a UPS store or an Amazon locker. That cuts down on individual deliveries those big vans need to make.

And remember that shopping locally this holiday season is a great way to help nearby businesses and the environment, especially if you leave the car at home. Walking, biking, or taking public transportation to stores will help minimize the environmental impact of your purchases.

There’s another benefit to cutting down on all those online orders: You’ll also reduce the number of shipping boxes and bags arriving at your front door that you’ll need to recycle!

Contact Us