How to shop more sustainably online – National Geographic

Love the convenience of clicking “place your order” but concerned about the environmental impact? Here are some ideas to be a more thoughtful online shopper.
We’ve all ordered items online to be delivered to our homes only to find out that the packaging for simple items can be so cumbersome and excessive that what may have been a sustainable shopping choice isn’t that eco-friendly. I recently ordered a package from Amazon where the item was in its plain cardboard box, which was then packaged in an Amazon-branded cardboard box with plastic bubble wrap holding the box in place. 
While some packaging can be recycled, the real issue isn’t the packaging itself but the carbon footprint from delivery vehicles that are used to deliver online items. Even though getting online deliveries right to your front door is easy, there are some tips and tricks for learning how to shop sustainably online. 
Use these five tips to shop online more sustainably. 
One of the biggest ways to learn how to shop sustainably online is to replace in-store shopping with online shopping. Fewer cars on the road means less carbon emissions. Consider getting groceries delivered by a service like Instacart or Kroger delivery. A single delivery driver that can make 10 stops in an hour is much more eco-friendly than 10 individuals driving to the grocery store in an hour. 
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Amazon offers a multitude of delivery options, from Prime delivery to a Free Amazon Day. Consider picking your free Amazon Day Delivery on all orders if you can. 
According to Amazon, “This option allows Amazon more time to find an optimal delivery route, which usually leads to fewer deliveries. It also helps reduce the number of boxes used for shipping.” Over the past year, Amazon has saved more than 136 million boxes, with people choosing the Free Amazon Day for deliveries. 
Even better is that if you pick to have your Amazon order delivered on your Free Amazon Day, you can get six percent back on eligible items if you use a Prime Store Card or Amazon Prime Secured Card to pay at checkout. 
To get orders delivered on your Free Amazon Day follow these steps:
Step 1: Place everything you want to buy in one order in your cart. 
Step 2: Click on your cart and click “Proceed to Checkout.”
Step 3: Scroll through your order and click “Free Amazon Day Delivery” under delivery options on products where it applies.
Step 4: Click “Place your order.”
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Buying some items, like non-perishable foods and household goods, in bulk can lead to more sustainable shopping. If you know you need paper towels and toilet paper at the end of the month, consider buying the warehouse store-sized packages online. For example, at Costco, Charmin toilet paper comes in packages of 30 rolls for $30. This can be delivered via InstaCart, along with any other bulk items you may need to stock up on. Buying in bulk not only helps reduce packaging but also reduces emissions when you have it delivered. 
Shopping from Amazon’s used products is a great way to shop more sustainably online. These pre-owned and refurbished items (usually electronics) can be deeply discounted by up to 50 percent off the same new item. These like-new items can be found on Amazon Renewed and include electronics like smartphones, laptops, and even home appliances. Not only does this save you money, but it keeps these non-compostable items from being put into landfills. 
To shop Amazon Renewed, follow these steps:
Step 1: Log into your Amazon account.
Step 2: Click “All” in the upper left-hand corner and find “Shop by Department.”
Step 3: Under “Shop by Department” click “See All.”
Step 4: Click “Electronics.”
Step 5: Under “Electronics” click “Amazon Renewed” and begin shopping.
Of course, even with all of the ways to reduce packaging and how to shop more sustainably online, there always ends up being some sort of box that products come in. Instead of just throwing the box away, try reusing it at home. If you have kids, let them use it for a craft project. If you’re going to a birthday party, wrap a present for the birthday boy or girl in the box. There are many ways to reuse cardboard boxes, so just get creative with this one. 
How can I shop more sustainably online?
There are plenty of ways to shop more sustainably online. Two of the easiest ways are to pick slower delivery dates for products and replace in-person shopping with online shopping.
How do I shop more sustainably on Amazon?
Amazon is one of the biggest online shopping marketplaces, but you can still shop sustainably on the site. Try reducing your packaging and delivery emissions by picking a Free Amazon Day Delivery. You can also shop for used, but like new, electronic products on Amazon, which keeps them from going to landfills immediately. 
How to shop sustainably online for clothes?
Shopping online for clothes can be a challenge, especially when things may or may not fit, and you may have to return products. To shop sustainably online for clothes, try looking for vintage pieces at online resale shops like Etsy. Also, consider shopping for sustainable brands that have transparent supply chains, where pieces are made with renewable materials and have ethical labor laws. 
Does Amazon have a sustainable packaging option?
Some Amazon products are shipped in sustainable packaging. Look for items that utilize Amazon’s Ships in Product Packaging program, where you can get deliveries in the original packaging without additional fillers and boxes from Amazon. The online retailer is also expanding its paper-based packaging, which can typically be recycled at home.
How to shop more sustainably on a budget?
Making a budget and sticking to it can be a huge aspect of shopping more sustainably online. A few ways to help manage a budget are to list what you need and stick to it so you’re not spending frivolously. Before submitting an order, double-check during the checkout process to ensure prices are correct and that applicable discounts come from the total charge.

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