We might also have monthly subscription services, like Stitch Fix, Blue Apron, Spice Life, or Weed Need, and those are all delivered separately. Oh, and roughly 30% of goods purchased online are returned. Turns out your new R2-D2 bong either doesn't work well or doesn't look good in the cold light of day. Those return trips add yet more delivery vehicles to the road, and many returned products are then just thrown out.
But the biggest problem is that, despite our most fervent wishes, we still have to leave our homes. We have to go to work, or take our kids to school, or visit doctors who beg us to get out of the house more and use our atrophied legs. People used to combine all these errands. They would go grocery shopping after dropping off their kids, but before their doctors could warn them to stop putting nothing but Doritos and Mountain Dew in their grocery cart. But even though goods like groceries are being delivered now, those errands are still being run. So there are more vehicles on the road.
Our insistence that our lives will be incomplete unless dog sweaters that say "Thicc Boi" are rushed to us overnight also means more inefficient waste, as three boxes are used to package what a patient consumer could have put in one. Rush shipping also needs planes to expedite packages instead of relying on slower vehicles that spew fewer emissions into the air. Yes, many people shop online responsibly or not at all, but everyone needs to shop responsibly to create the environmental benefits we thought we would have when the practice started becoming commonplace. Instead, many people aren't even aware that these issues exist. After all, Amazon doesn't exactly encourage you to think about them.
In the meantime, delivery drivers are being pushed to skip meals and bathroom breaks while working (unpaid) overtime during busy periods so that all these packages hit their delivery dates, in a policy that appears to have contributed to the death of a woman who was hit by an exhausted driver. The busiest drivers have to deliver 250 packages a day, which is basically impossible on a regular shift. We know it's tough to resist Amazon's raw convenience, but at least try to hold off on rush shipping individual cans of microwaveable ravioli.
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