The environmental benefits of e-commerce are shrinking, because there is an increase in fast deliveries for a small number of packages, according to a study from Axios.
Since consumers have become accustomed to fast delivery speeds, thanks to systems like Amazon Prime, there has been a sharp environmental impact.
It is worth noting though that e-commerce can also be beneficial for the environment, according to the study. For instance, instead of a whole neighbourhood of people using their cars to go to the store to purchase things, a single truck can deliver the items that residents go out to purchase.
However, things are changing and the benefits of e-commerce disappear as deliveries continue to get faster
In 2017, UPS deliveries led to the emission of 13.8 million metric tons of CO2 while delivering 5.1 billion packages. Further, FedEx deliveries led to 15.1 metric tons of CO2. Together, these two numbers equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than seven million cars.
Increasing warehouse spaces and plastic packaging materials are also impacting the environment, according to the study.
There are ways to reduce the negative impact on the environment. For instance, drone delivery is efficient because drones are charged with electricity. Electrifying truck fleets can also provide a beneficial alternative to standard delivery practices.