Have you ever looked at those grocery delivery services and wondered if they’re any greener than doing your own grocery shopping? If so, you’re not alone. A recent article in Conservation magazine reported on a study that calculated the greenhouse gas emissions of grocery delivery in the Seattle area. The study, reported on in Journal of the Transportation Research Forum, found several interesting results when comparing the amount of fossil fuel used by delivery trucks vs. individuals picking up the same deliveries using their cars:
- the distance travelled by delivery trucks was shorter than the total of individual trips delivering the same groceries
- despite the fact that delivery trucks are less fuel efficient than cars, because of the trip consolidation, delivery trucks still emitted less greenhouse gas for the same amount of groceries
- delivery companies could reduce greenhouse gases by up to 95% when compared to individual cars, if they grouped deliveries (rather than allowing customers to choose delivery date and time)
- even shoppers in rural areas cut greenhouse gases by using these services
Truth be told, I really don’t like grocery shopping, so I’ve tried the grocery delivery trucks. I didn’t like the system, not one little bit. The company I used never delivered on time, left me waiting for literally hours beyond the delivery time (and yes, I had to be home), and delivered using at least 20 plastic bags per trip. Since I live within a mile of several grocery stores, it would take a lot to get me to try delivery again. But, as I said in the info page of this blog, there are different methods of reducing one’s environmental footprint – the key is choosing what works for you. Perhaps this type of service would be a green alternative for other greenmomsters. For those greenmomsters wanting to give this method of grocery shopping a try, it may really pay off environmentally! See if they’ll let you return bags for reuse to make the service really green!
Tyler, D. 2013. “How Green is Grocery Delivery?” in Conservation, Fall 2013. p. 7. from original journal article: Wygonik, E. And A. Goodchild. 2012. Journal of the Transportation Research Forum 51(2): 111-126.