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Take to the (high) streets

24 February, 2020

So, you’ve read about what you can do as a brand on Black Friday, but what about as a consumer? Before you fall for the day’s temptations, have you considered the hidden costs of all those home deliveries?

The existence of online shopping drastically increases our consumption, and brands are particularly good at shielding us from the negative externalities. For example, in the US, cardboard packaging consumes one billion trees each year, and packaging from Amazon deliveries now accounts for 30% of the US’s solid waste.

Socially, delivery drivers experience high pressure to get packages to us, depicted in a recent film, whilst factory and warehouse employees experience a greater safety risk. ‘The last mile’, as it’s known, when goods travel from depots to homes, is the most expensive stretch of the process – both financially and environmentally.

In fact, in the UK, the miles travelled by delivery vans have increased by 56% since 2000; contributing substantially to carbon emissions. What’s more, 40% of clothing orders are returned, which creates more emissions on their way back. So, what can we do?

As consumers, we can reduce the number of vehicles making that ‘last mile’ journey by using ‘Click & Collect’, instead of ordering directly to our homes or workplaces – or even (gasp!) visiting stores on foot. Considering that 74% of Black Friday products were the same price or cheaper in the following six months, there really is no rush…

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