The Real Cost of Online Shopping

The Real Cost of Online Shopping

19-Feb-2019 by Claudia DeFabio

It’s no secret that e-commerce is taking over the retail sector and many purchases that can be made in person are now conducted online. In 2017, Australians spent $21.3 billion shopping for goods online, with the top three categories including consumer electronics, clothes, and books.

Online shopping creates waste with excessive packaging and requires an immense amount of energy to ship goods across long distances within just a few days. In this world of online shopping, an easy return policy is something every customer has come expect. According to a recent survey, 40 per cent of apparel bought online is returned.

The effect of this endless cycle on the environment is something that is not acknowledged nearly enough. When a package magically arrives at your door just two days later, we are concerned with what’s inside, not what it took to get there. To fulfil the same-day shipping and quick return promises, half-full delivery trucks and cargo planes are operating to meet this demand, which adds to the global carbon footprint.

While online shopping and fast delivery are a dream to consumers but a nightmare to the environment, there are simple things we can do to mitigate our impact without having to forfeit convenience.

UCapture, one of the startups in our EA19 cohort, automatically funds carbon offset projects, at no extra cost to consumers, when they shop online. With just 3 clicks anyone can install the UCapture Extension to the internet browser on their computer, for free.

After installing their extension, consumers earn carbon offset credits by shopping at over 7,500 participating websites, such as Woolworths, Booking.com and Groupon. UCapture earns a commission from these sales, which it puts towards environmental projects, like reforestation, around the globe.  But to make things even better for users, UCapture provides thousands of coupon codes, so users can save money too! Yes, it’s that simple. UCapture gives consumers the ability to continue their online shopping while actually helping the environment, instead of contributing to its degradation.

Founder and CEO, Avery Michaelson, gives his take on sustainability as an industry expert:

“As a strong advocate for market-based solutions to global problems, I wanted to apply that logic to the issue of climate change. The real problem of climate change isn’t what’s causing it, but who is going to pay for it? UCapture solves that by putting the ‘cost of carbon’ into consumption in a way that’s a win-win-win for consumers, companies, and the planet.”

UCapture harnesses the power of consumers in a way that rewards companies for joining the fight against climate change, with just three simple clicks and a browser extension.

Claudia DeFabio