The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping

June 20, 2019 by  
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In as little as a few clicks and confirmations your online purchase can be at your doorstep in a matter of hours. Online shopping is so simple there is barely enough time to consider the process your order goes through in order to reach its destination, not to mention the cost! It’s easy to condemn Americans’ obsession with online retail as unsustainable over-consumption, but when the numbers are pitted against in-store shopping, online shopping is actually the more eco-friendly option. Think of delivery services as public transportation for your packages, where everyone’s package rides the same bus instead of your personal car. Online shopping Online shopping constitutes one out of every seven purchases around the world, that’s nearly 15 percent of all shopping. The online retail industry is worth over $3.5 trillion, a massive total that rises by 20 percent every year. The average carbon footprint of a package is difficult to calculate because there are huge discrepancies. For example, the time and resources used comparing a local clothing delivery and a refrigerator that travels across the world from China. The advantages In Britain, the average package produces just six ounces of carbon dioxide, which sounds tiny but has to be multiplied by millions of deliveries. Going to the store to pick up your item and back, averaging an estimated 13 miles, produces approximately 144 ounces of carbon dioxide , which is 24 times more than the delivered package. You would have to pick up 24 items in order to break even. According to a researcher and author of Decarbonizing Logistics , even when you consider mis-deliveries and returns, the averages point to online shopping as a more environmentally-friendly option. Nowadays, many popular brands no longer have (or never had) storefronts. The carbon footprint of running a website alone is also drastically less than the energy it takes to power and maintain a building space. The disadvantages The biggest polluter for delivery services is the last mile, and those emissions are multiplied every time the delivery is unsuccessful. Between 12 and 60 percent of all deliveries are unsuccessful on the first try, so they often make a second or third attempt. If they are still unsuccessful, the consumer must drive to a warehouse to pick up the package– negating all benefits in terms of carbon emissions . Furthermore, about one fifth of all products purchased online are returned, which can double the carbon footprint. In-store shopping The advantages Shopping in person partially cuts down on returns because customers are able to touch, see and try on the items before purchasing. This means they are more likely to select something they like and that fits them and avoid the common online practice of buying one item in a few sizes and returning all but one. Additional advantages of in-store shopping lie in the personal choices people make to reduce their carbon footprint. Many people walk or bike to stores, while others utilize public transportation . Although a bus still has a carbon footprint, you technically aren’t adding additional emissions since the bus was simply completing a pre-determined route. Moreover, shoppers tend to purchase more than one item at a time, which minimizes the emissions per item. The disadvantages Depending on the distance the consumer travels and their mode of transportation, online shopping is highly inefficient. In most cases, shoppers drive individually in personal cars to malls or commercial areas. Although shoppers can make personal choices to cut down their emissions, such as carpooling and staying local, research shows these steps still do not compensate for the benefits of online shopping . Related: Over 6000 employees demand Amazon take climate change seriously How to make smarter shopping choices New innovations Delivery services are growing rapidly and getting creative. Amazon is piloting drone deliveries and other companies are experimenting with ground-based robots. New apps and shared economy services are also popping up, like bike courier companies. One innovative app called Roadie is playing with the idea of a package hitchhiking system that connects your package with a delivery already heading in that direction. Slow shopping You’ve heard of slow food , but it turns out that slow deliveries might be more environmentally friendly too. Most people who can afford it opt for speedy deliveries, but this forces retailers to send packages out individually, immediately and sometimes in emptier trucks just in order to meet deadlines. With the wiggle room of a few more days, shippers can bundle items going to a similar location together and reduce the number of trips and emissions. Buy Local If you can walk or bike to the store, that’s a great option. If you have to ship something, check out different retailers and chose the one located closest to you. The less distance your package travels, the lower the carbon footprint. Conspicuous consumption There are a few ways to be a more responsible buyer. If you know a delivery is coming, make sure to be home when the delivery arrives so it does not have to double back. Select slower delivery times when not in a rush and shop more purposefully to avoid returns. Overall, the best way to reduce retail-related emissions is to buy less! Carefully consider what you need and do not buy items that you will barely use. But most importantly, always consider all items before a purchase. Are they necessary? Afterall, an item not purchased has the lowest footprint. Via Ensia Images via StockSnap , HutchRock, kasjanf, RouteXL

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The good, the bad and the ugly about Smart Meters

October 22, 2011 by  
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Garima Goel: Smart Meters Smart Meters For those who want to keep a tab on the electricity consumption for their home or business, the Smart Meters are a great option. Unlike the traditional meters, the smart meter helps you in tracking your energy consumption on hourly, daily, weekly or month basis. The data offered by smart meter will help you make better energy choices, and will give you full control over your energy bills. Moreover, smart meters can also transmit and receive data, which helps in remote reporting. The smart meter technology is being utilized popularly in different nations. These energy counting devices are available in market with various features. The good benefits of Smart Meters benefits of Smart Meters for the consumers Smart meters are being regarded with great favour in homes and business globally. This popularity is due to the reason that the energy saving is more convenient by making use of smart meters as they monitor the energy that is consumed by the users. The smart meters can also interact with electrical devices like TVs and washing machines. These devices can also broadcast the present price of the energy consumed by the electrical appliances. This technology would enhance energy conservation and also minimise the energy costs. The most prompting advantage of installing a smart meter is that the consumers will not be issued any erroneous electrical bills. The smart meters will help in cutting the energy consumption and therefore indirectly national carbon emissions. The product can be therefore categorized as eco-friendly. The bad Smart Meters Cost are Smart Meters Costly While smart meters have various advantages, they also come with certain drawbacks and challenges to the consumers. The smart meter is very costly and this is the most prominent lowdown due to which, they are not favoured much, by everyone. These cunning little gizmos make use of a communicating thermostat to interact with electrical devices at home. The smart meters are installed with an in-home display where the details about the current energy usage are shown. The GPRS technology used by the device keep your electricity supplier au fait of the energy that you have consumed and also allows you to check your gas and electricity consumption on the internet. With all such costly components and software, the smart meter by all odds will be expensive. Moreover, the knowhow of the technology and software installed with the smart meter is necessary for the customer. The ugly Safe Smart Meters are Smart Meters safe The most horrible disadvantage of smart meters is the microwave radio frequency radiation emitted by the installation of these devices, which cause various health hazards. These devices when set up at homes or other commercial buildings will radiate microwaves that are dangerous for health of humans and animals as well. Therefore consumers, especially electro-sensitive persons have given an account of various health problems. The microwave radio frequency is used in the communication process between smart meters and electronic devices. Tumors and cancer risks, DNA damage, cognitive difficulties and heart problems are some of the series health problems that are caused due to these radiations. So overall, the smart meters are not worthy at all. You can afford to buy a smart meter but not at the cost of your health. Why are we so critical? Everything has its pros and cons, and so is with smart meters. Many companies are manufacturing the smart meters with various attractive features. The technology used by smart meters keep a record of your daily energy consumption and thus can help you to cut off the extra energy that was consumed by you. Of course, establishing the smart meters in your households or any other commercial place would certainly not be cheap. Moreover, after installing the device, you need to be cautious while maneuvering the device. As most of the electrical appliance will be connected with the smart meter using a certain technique or some particular software, you need to handle it with extra care. Regarding the health problems called by radiations, many companies are taking precautions to fabricate a product that is safe for the users. But, you cannot be sure about the long term impacts of the smart meters. The bottomline Because smart meters tend to save energy, therefore the product is definitely an eco product. With various modifications, the disadvantages of the product can be removed, thereby making the product safe and secure to be used. Though the initial cost of the smart meter is high, we should not forget the reductions given to us in the future energy bills.

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Five most amazing pedal powered boats

October 21, 2011 by  
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Apara Bhattacharya: Amazing pedal powered boats Most amazing pedal powered boats Boats were the conventional means of transport that is nowadays a great choice for the eco- conscious generation. Although you cannot deny the drawbacks of boats in comparison to the modern automobiles, if you are solely focused on the level of pollution imparted by the modern vehicles and that of boats, the latter always tops the list of most effective means of transport that causes almost no pollution. Boats are better regarded as human powered water vehicles that can be both human driven and motor driven. Not only this, boats also vary according to their construction, function and capacity. Thus, while on one hand simple and conventional boats, driven by two boatmen or a single boatman in there, pedal boats are also there on the other hand. Likewise submarines, hydrofoils, etc. are also there in the category of water crafts. Here are five boats that run on pedals and are unique in their own ways. 1. WiTHiN pedal powered boat WiTHiN WiTHiN – a pedal powered boat This is a boat that runs on human power and has the ability to stride across the ocean. This human powered boat, Ocean WiTHiN draws its inspiration from the water craft, WiTHiN. The body of this water vehicle is made from fiberglass which are in the form of flat carbon fiber panel that are stitched together to form the hull at the bottom. The base of the same comprises of a double kayak hull, which was donated to the designer of WiTHiN by Steve Schleicher of Nimbus Kayaks and sponsor and adviser of PedalTheOcean. The designers of this boat are Rick Willoughby and the award winning naval architect, Stuart Bloomfield. 2. Solar and Human Powered Concept Boat Solar and Human Powered Solar and Human Powered Concept Boat This boat has been designed by the French designer, Jonathan Mahieddine. This is solar powered boat that has the dual function of running on human power as well. The most notable feature of this boat is that unlike the conventional boats it targets at zero noise emission while floating on the water. The unique appearance of this boat has a wide deck that is a great option for relaxing amidst nature with your whole family, while having a wide view of the ocean. Moreover, you can also enjoy sunbathing while on boards. The human operated oars are also beneficial for exercising your hand muscles while floating in the ocean. But when you feel tired, switch over to the solar powered mode and let the boat sail by the energy it has accumulated in its solar cells throughout the day. 3. Torpedalo designed by Bentley engineers Torpedalo Torpedalo designed by Bentley engineers This boat is a combined creation of two engineers from Bentley, who have the aim of crossing the Atlantic this December in their self made boat, thereby covering more than 3000 miles in ocean and setting a world record. The designers of this boat are Mark Byass and Mike Sayer. They will have a competition with twenty five such racing boats in the world championship known as Woodvale Challenge Atlantic Rowing Race. The boat, Torpedalo, which they have made, features a fiber glass body, which is made from carbon fiber panels. It has a length of nine meters and is also equipped with solar panels for capturing green energy from the sun and using it to produce fresh water by desalinating ocean water and also to empower devices that they will carry on board, such as GPS, radar, satellite phone, etc. 4. Ilha by Alexandre Bellerose Zero-emission pedal-powered boat concept Ilha Ilha by Alexandre Bellerose Zero-emission pedal-powered boat concept Now water rafting is going to be more fun with the help of the green boat that will not harm marine life as conventional water vehicles do by toxic emissions and awful noises. This boat has been designed by an eco conscious designer, named Alexandre Bellerose and is human powered. The passengers on board are supposed to pedal the boat and make it cut through the waters and move ahead. The extended feature of this boat are that it has a light weighted, folding foundation, which when stretched, becomes almost an small private island for those on board and provide them opportunities for various water activities. Together with it, water rafting in summers is also pleasant in this boat as it has a folding umbrella that collapses to become a fan so that the occupants can adjust the exposure to sun as per their choice. 5. Waterbug by Garry Hoyt and the Harken brothers Waterbug Waterbug by Garry Hoyt and the Harken brothers This is a strange looking boat, made by the nautical manufacturer, Fisheries Supply. It is an outcome of the joint venture of yacht designer and sailing innovator brothers, Garry Hoyt and Harken. The body of the boat is made from roto molded material and has a two seated option. It also features an electric propulsion package.

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New Resource Bank Certified as a B-Corp

July 1, 2010 by  
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New Resource Bank – newresourcebank.com File this social enterprise news under ‘Better late than never’ From New Resource Bank’s website : SAN FRANCISCO (June 9, 2010)?– New Resource Bank (OTCBB: NWBN) is proud to announce it has become a Certified B Corporation (the “B” is for benefit) for its commitment to comprehensive social and environmental standards. The bank is the first Certified B Corporation whose stock is traded on the OTC Bulletin Board. Not that New Resource is late relative to their larger contemporaries, more that socially-responsible finance is such a tiny sliver of our overall financial system that it’s almost a oxymoron

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New Resource Bank Certified as a B-Corp

Reporting from NYC: Social Entrepreneurship Blooms

June 30, 2010 by  
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Last night, I attended the Catchafire 50 Project Kickoff event, part of this week’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Catchafire is a youth-driven venture to connect professionals who are looking to put their skills to meaningful use by linking up with nonprofits and social enterprises that could use expertise in branding, PR, design and social media campaigns.

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Reporting from NYC: Social Entrepreneurship Blooms

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