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Car vs. Packaging—A First, Simple (Environmental) Sustainability Assessment of Our Changing Shopping Behaviour

Empa, Technology & Society Laboratory, Lerchenfeldstrasse 5, CH-9014 St. Gallen, Switzerland
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3061; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093061
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 28 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in E-Business)
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability assessment; life cycle assessment; LCA; online shopping; packaging; mobility; life styles sustainability assessment; life cycle assessment; LCA; online shopping; packaging; mobility; life styles
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Hischier, R. Car vs. Packaging—A First, Simple (Environmental) Sustainability Assessment of Our Changing Shopping Behaviour. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3061.

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