• Germany's news in English

Internet shopping not always greener

The Local · 24 Feb 2013, 09:11

Published: 24 Feb 2013 09:11 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Deutsche Post's DHL delivery company estimated that shipping a package results in fewer than 500 grammes of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

With 500 grammes a modern car can travel 3.5 kilometres, but most shopping trips in Germany are around six kilometres, according to the Environmental Institute in Darmstadt.

So on the surface it seems that internet shopping is greener.

But the paper noted that many internet products are bought only after shoppers have first combed the brick and mortar stores. Items like bicycles, computers and other electronics are normally first tested in actual shops – and then only purchased online because the prices are better.

For a correct environmental accounting, though, these store trips, often made with an automobile, need to be taken into account.

“Just because e-commerce is booming and more and more goods are being purchased online does not automatically mean that customers are forgoing their car use,” said Dieter Urbanke, head of Hermes Fulfilment, a logistics company owned by the Otto Group.

On top of this the environmental calculation has to take into account when the delivery person comes to the door and no one is home and there isn’t a neighbor who is willing to accept the package.

Hermes, for example, will make up to three attempts – with an additional 500 grammes of greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere per attempt – before leaving the package at the nearest Hermes Package Station, where the client has to pick it up.

Story continues below…

DHL will only make one effort before it parks the package at a nearby pick up station. Clients usually come to pick up their goods with a car, the paper wrote.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:05 February 24, 2013 by grazhdanin
first testing items in actual shops and then purchasing online because the prices are better is not fair
11:26 February 24, 2013 by wood artist
May not be pro-environmental either.

14:39 February 24, 2013 by ron1amr
I agree somewhat with this article. I have bought products online which I cant get here. But they come from overseas. So the emissions from flight is something not mentioned in this article. I much prefer to purchase local and not for internet and support local business taking into consideration the expense of employing people and paying rent on the premises. I will also have warranty on the product opposed to online shopping. I'm looking at buying an electric motorbike also I have a racing bike and put a deposit on an every day belt drive push bike. But my work truck is emission.
15:35 February 24, 2013 by catjones
Leave it to the germans; their precise but averaged measurements and extrapolated conclusions.
20:50 February 24, 2013 by wood artist
I guess it was easier to completely change the wording than to figure out how to spell environment. Sigh!

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd