Which way of purchasing your clothes results in the lowest environmental impacts: “running” into the next big city to “plunder” the various clothing stores, or searching through a plethora of online shops and ordering your next shirt directly to you at home? So far, no such comparison has been published. The aim of this study is to get a first basic idea of which of these two consumer choices is the more environmentally sustainable by assessing the potential environmental impacts related to one person’s annual purchases of clothing through a simplified life cycle assessment. The study shows that going to a nearby city for shopping is not necessarily worse compared to online purchasing. When a person uses their own car, travel from home to the city and back is responsible for a sizeable amount of the potential impacts. However, the potential impacts of travel are heavily influenced by the means of transport (i.e., use of public transport rather than personal car) and the frequency of shopping excursions over the year. Overall, the potential impacts per single clothing item purchased could be in a similar range for both means of purchase.
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