Sarah Gáliková & Giuseppe Gillespie
Topics this article covers:
- Shopping Online Responsibly
- Sustainable Tips on Using Online Services
- About the Authors
Use of online shopping and services has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. In the last article, we talked about the environmental and health benefits of walking and cycling, and today we’ll talk about how we can use these technologies responsibly.
Shopping Online Responsibly
Online shopping is generally a better way to do your shopping when considering the impact taking your car to the supermarket has on the environment. Some of the biggest advantages of online shopping are convenience, a broader range of choice in products, and easy access to more in-depth information about the products you purchase. Let’s look at a few ways we can optimize our online shopping with a view of environmental preservation and responsible consumerism.
Many supermarkets now offer home-delivery, and it is more energy- and fuel-efficient for a single van/truck to deliver groceries within a geographical area than it is for each individual household in that area to make a separate car journey to the supermarket.
Here are a few points to consider:
- Avoiding next-day delivery
Try avoiding next-day delivery as it puts more strain on and introduces energy-deficient practices in a supermarket’s delivery service. Making an order on such short notice reduces the likelihood that the delivery will be efficiently coordinated with other scheduled deliveries in your area; or worst-case scenario, it could lead to your order being the only delivery to be made in your area – an inefficient use of fuel.
- Think carefully about your shopping list
If you order online, plan the purchase well. Many people often forget to order a few things and thus end up using their personal car for a trip to the supermarket.
- Consider combining your grocery orders with friends, family, and community to reduce the number of days the delivery van/truck is out on the road
- Ensure someone is home on the day of delivery so to avoid the wasted trip of redelivery
Do Some Research on Where Products are Sourced and How They are Produced
Those cheap Pokémon and Gooigi plushies on wish.com may look cute and cuddly, but how exactly are they produced?
A large number of companies produce their products with a single goal: profit. They don’t care how their production affects the environment, so they use production methods that harm our planet.
When purchasing, we must therefore consider which company we are buying from, and whether our order will have a large or negligible carbon footprint – we are considering a so-called “Responsible product.”
A responsible product should have at least a partially reduced impact on the environment and must be manufactured in compliance with labor rights. The responsible product should therefore perform better than other options for this product from other manufacturers in at least one of the following categories: energy consumption, toxic components, optimized packaging, recycled content, or recyclable components.
As customers, we can fight against unfair practices, such as environmental degradation or labor abuse. Refuse to buy products from any company that neglects their workers or that doesn’t support responsible production practices and be a strong advocate against such practices.
The mentioned abuse of employees can also be called exploitative labor. The website employmentattorneymd.com quotes this phenomenon as: Employment exploitation or labor exploitation refers to situations where an employee, either voluntarily or through some form of coercion, is working in sub-par conditions or has their wages being held for work that’s being completed. In more extreme cases, exploitation will also include instances with the recurrent use of deception, force, or blackmail from employers.
In cases like this, it is recommended to file a formal complaint, or to refuse situations that can lead to things like overwork or little or no compensation for extraordinary work projects. In most workplaces, creating such boundaries can help, and if not, we recommend that you hire an employment lawyer.
Here you can find a list of international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International or Civil Rights Defenders
Sustainable Tips on Using Online Services
Paper waste is a serious problem in many industries and offices. Paper can make up to 70% of a company’s total waste thanks to unnecessary mail, invoices, and packaging. The average employee uses approximately 10,000 sheets of paper per year.
Everyone pays bills. The traditional way to receive and pay bills is by using physical mail; however, we will focus mainly on the online method of paying and handling our bills as its advantages greatly exceed traditional methods.
With physical mail, we may experience the phenomenon of “snail mail” – this means that when you send mail, such as for paying bills, it may not always arrive on time. And while you don’t always need your payment to go through right away, handling payments online will save you time throughout the whole process. Electronic bill payment is far more efficient than physical mail in terms of speed.
Paper bills, envelopes, and checks, most of which are single-use or end up as junk. They are all made of paper. Nowadays, it is becoming more and more important for us to participate in the sustainability of the environment. Consider switching to online invoicing for example. It may not seem like much, but on the scale of several hundred thousand people, it will significantly reduce the carbon footprint generated in the production stages and the waste created after usage.
Here’s an example: You’re visiting a friend and you remember that you haven’t paid the water bill in your apartment. Not a problem. Instead of immediately going home to write out an invoice and send it in the mail, you can pay the invoice right away online. in an online environment you pay bills wherever you are and at any time.
The number of digital users is growing and therefore the number of providers of online books, magazines, and newspapers is also growing. For eBooks:
- You only need one device
eBooks are portable and lightweight because you only need one device, such as a small e-reader. One e-reader can carry several hundreds of books, saving the physical space of storing physical, printed hard/paperback copies.
- Accessible anywhere and anytime
eBooks can be downloaded, saved, and opened anywhere. It is convenient for people who are travelling, for students, and also for enthusiastic bookworms. E-readers also offer offline reading, allowing you to read your favourite books anytime, anywhere.
- Updating books
Electronic content is often stored in the cloud – online data storage, which means it can be updated at any time with an Internet connection. Authors or publishers can add current information or edit content and thus always provide users with current and latest information. It saves the cost of reprinting and the time required for the process.
About the Authors
Sarah Gáliková is a Slovak girl with a passion for writing interesting articles and photography. She studied Economics and business, however her true affection is the english language. Sarah’s free time mostly consists of nature, great books and a camera.
Giuseppe Gillespie is an infrequent Irish writer often forced to write about himself in the 3rd person as he is not famous enough to merit someone else doing it for him. He has informed me (who is definitely not him) that he hopes this could change in future, as well as his fondness for ending things with a preposition, notwithstanding.