For many of us, online shopping is a way to get the things we want at ease. But should you do it? We take a look at it.
Online shopping has become essential for people to get what they need in a timely fashion.
However, some view our online shopping habits as a pandemic of their own.
Despite the low impact on our wallets, online shopping has a steep environmental cost, is detrimental to local business, and has other negative consequences.
Shopping Online Hurts Local Businesses
The two big issues with shopping online are long-distance shipping and the import of goods.
Many chains such as Amazon, Walmart, and Tesco save money by importing goods from China to sell at prices that smaller businesses can’t afford.
While it can be tempting to go for the lower price, it takes away from domestic and local businesses.
Over time, people choosing to buy imported goods causes them to shut down for good, hurting the local economy.
The Environmental Cost of Shipping
When we order things online, we don’t always consider where it comes from.
Buying something from a different country or continent means traveling via boat, train, or plane to travel.
Any form of shipping comes with its issues.
Airfreight is the fastest but burns the most fuel, which creates the most prominent environmental footprint.
Trains are a better option with lower emissions, but they take longer. Transportation by boat takes the longest and uses the least fossil fuels; however it still wreaks havoc on marine life.
Compromised Quality & Health Impacts
While it is a myth that everything made in China or other countries is lower in quality, there are times when items are counterfeit.
Even on Amazon, some sellers claim to sell a specific product while selling something completely different.
This can be dangerous if it uses compromised ingredients, especially if the buyer has allergies.
When you shop locally, there are generally more regulations. Even if they are reselling, they are more likely to do quality testing to ensure that customers are safe.
Resist Fast Fashion
One of the consequences of online shopping has been the rise of fast fashion. This refers to recreating fashionable clothes in bulk and selling them at a low price.
The issue with this is that people buy many clothes they don’t need that they only wear once or twice.
Cheap clothes are generally made with materials that are bad for the environment, and throwing them away creates unnecessary waste.
Even if these clothes are donated, they are generally not well-made, so they don’t last long and end up in the landfill.
According to The Pretty Planter, 13 million tons of textile waste are created every year.
A Negative Psychological Impact
People joke about retail therapy, but shopping addiction has become a real issue.
The speed of shipping and affordability that comes with online shopping has many people self-soothing with immediate gratification.
According to EJ Style, 2.14 billion people worldwide shop online.
It isn’t clear how many have a shopping addiction, but 24% of shoppers in the UK admit to owning items they have bought but never used. Another 37% have experienced feeling shame after making a purchase.
While a shopping addiction can be severe and need professional guidance to beat, limiting online shopping can help.
Although it is possible to have a shopping addiction offline, it can be easier to develop online.
Especially during the pandemic, online shopping has been a lifesaver, and there is a right way to do it.
However, it can also be bad for local businesses, the environment, and even the buyer.
It is a good idea to take a step back and examine our online purchases to see how we can make better choices.
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