The Ecological Impact of Online Shopping with The Source

The Ecological Impact of Online Shopping with The Source

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As a conscious shopper, are you ever bothered by the impact of your purchasing choices? Good news! Simply by shopping online (in moderation), you’re helping reduce your carbon footprint. Internet shopping averages a 60% lower carbon impact than traditional brick-and-mortar shopping. In fact, just the drive to an IRL store accounts for 85% of the carbon footprint of your purchase! However, online shopping is still far from perfect. We, The Source, believe there’s still more room for improvement. Here are the issues we’re working on: 

Plastic-free shipping. I could write a whole diatribe about the ways that plastic is killing us, but for today, I’ll consolidate most of its environmental detriment under the umbrella of “end of life”. When plastic has reached the end of its usable life, there are very few good options for its final resting place. Recycling is, at best, an imperfect solution. It’s also simply not possible for all types of plastic, including most of the types used in packaging for shipping. That means that most packaging plastic ends up somewhere else: either in a soil-based or a water-based grave. In both cases, the presence of plastic in those places alters the natural balance of that resting place. As the plastic goes through its slow decomposition process, it inflicts hundreds of years of altered pH, toxic chemical emissions, and skewed bacterial balance. This wreaks havoc on the organisms that depend on that soil or water for life. (Psst: that’s everyone: including us!) Additionally, plastic in the ocean depletes the ocean’s ability to perform one of its key functions: sponging up CO2 to help keep the planet cool. By using only paper and cotton-based shipping materials, The Source helps avoid contributing to these serious planetary health problems that plastic causes.

Carbon neutral shipping. While shopping online (and skipping expedited shipping) is generally greener than shopping in-store, there is a pesky problem: the delivery vehicle still needs SOME kind of power to drive your purchase to you. There’s still a carbon impact, albeit smaller than it would be if you drove yourself to the store. That’s why we are beyond thrilled to be partnering with Sendle, an Australia-based company that launched in the US at the end of 2019. Leveraging the thinking of the sharing economy, Sendle purchases unused space on delivery trucks that are already scheduled for routes. This improves the average carbon impact per item on that truck’s route. Additionally, Sendle buys carbon offsets for each item shipped with their service. This allows them to achieve complete carbon neutrality for each shipment they deliver, all while offering competitive prices. If you’ve bought something from The Source in the past few months, it was shipped to you using Sendle! 

What concerns you about the eco-impact of your shopping habits? Is there more that you’d like to see The Source doing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments, or send us an email at And thanks for caring!

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