How to Shop Sustainably Online

In the digital age in which we live, the way we shop looks a lot different than it did 10 and even 5 years ago. Things we might have never had access to before are now at our finger tips. A survey in 2017 found that 40% of internet users in the U.S. purchased items online several times a month and 20% said multiple times a week. There's no doubt that this trend will only continue to grow. With online shopping being a common way people receive goods, there is also the question of the environmental costs of this new way of consuming. From the fossil fuels used to transport over seas, air and land, to the packaging used, we aren't the only ones paying for these online goods. Because of this reality, it is up to companies like us and consumers combined to ease the toll on our environment. In this post, we will discuss a few ways in which we can make online purchases a little more sustainable.

Buy Larger Quantities, Less Often
A large environmental cost when purchasing online comes with the transportation of items. This isn't simply the transportation to get to you, but all the transit an item was in prior to even making it to the space where it was housed when you bought it. One way to lessen the amount of transportation it takes to get an item to you is to buy more at once. If you know you'll be making a purchase online for dried goods in the kitchen for example, why not plan what you need for a month instead of a week? This could whittle possibly 4 separate purchases and shipments down to 1. Not only does that mean less fuel used to transport items but it also means less packaging.


Split Shipping Costs with a Friend (Or Multiple!)
This tip is sort of an add on to the first one. That is, combine an order with friends or family! This can fulfill the experience of catching up and shopping with friends but can be done from the comfort of your own home. You can even make an event out of it! Steep some warm tea or beverages of your choice, paired with yummy snacks while you online shop together. By putting in one larger order with multiple people, you will be splitting shipping costs, packaging and the number of shipments! Say you only need one or two items but your friend needs 2 things and your other friend needs 3, all from the same online shop. You'd all able to get your goods with one order, saving money and our planets resources.

Ask for Minimal Packaging
I don't know about you guys, but I've been appalled by how much unnecessary packaging some brands include in their parcels. Try to shop from companies who use minimal and mindful packaging or simply ask for minimal packaging in the notes section of your order (if possible. Or shoot them an email when you place your order). This also can apply to delivery food services like Door Dash and Grub Hub. You obviously can't avoid all packaging with delivery food, but you can opt for no plastic cutlery and napkins by leaving a note with your order!

We actually have gotten quite a few new customers request this from us with their first order. Since we started, we have always used compostable or recyclable packaging. This is why we've kept things simple. We wrap our items in twine and a cutting from our giant Redwood tree in our back yard for a personal touch. Both of which are compostable. Our polymailers and boxes are recyclable, as well as our care cards included in each order. Because of well thought out materials, none of our packaging needs to go in the landfill! Encourage more brands you shop from to go minimal or more eco-friendly with their packaging. Enough demand will make companies rethink their waste.


Buy Close to You
The appeal and ease of online is that you don't actually have to be in the same area from which your products are shipping. And while this definitely isn't always possible, when you can, try to buy from companies that are shipping from an area close to you. Or close-erThis will just help again to minimize the transportation and fuel used to get that package to you. For example, if you're located in California and you have the option of ordering an item that's shipping from either Nevada or New York, the company shipping form Nevada would use significantly less fuel to get to you compared to if you bought from the company shipping from New York. Again, this isn't always possible to do but it is something worth thinking about when your purchasing online. To find out where they ship from you, you could look at their About Us, FAQ page or shoot a quick email to ask them!

Don't Make Impulse Purchases
It's so easy to get trigger happy and its quicker now then ever to buy something the instant we see it. But sometimes patience is a virtue! The more online impulse purchases we make, the more single items we will have being shipped to us and the higher the chance we will make returns. This system might be convenient, but all that extra fuel and transit once again has its toll on our planet. So give it a little more thought before making a purchase.

These are just a few simple ways you can minimize our impact on the environment when purchasing online. We'd love to hear the ways you shop consciously online!

xx Cassidy

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