I know online grocery order services make things easy, and I am guilty of taking advantage of the convenience myself. But have you ever stopped to think about how wasteful online ordering can be?
The first time I did an online grocery order after being conscious about the waste my family creates, I was stunned. There was so much waste just from a simple grocery run.
Of course, I now bring my reusable bags to the grocery store, but I forgot just how many plastic bags one trip can create.
Online grocery shopping may save consumers time, but it also could waste more food and money than shopping in-storeSrc: https://www.grocerydive.com/news/grocery–online-grocery-shopping-could-cause-food-waste-to-pile-up/534429/
Online Grocery Order Pickups
So, I am a
cheap frugal person. I hate paying for shipping and unnecessary fees. Because of this, I’ve only ever done grocery pickup when I do a big online grocery order.
The first time I did this with my mom when we were visiting, we thought it was great. Ryan had fallen asleep in the car, so we didn’t have to even wake him to go in the store.
Then I saw the way everything was packaged. Each plastic bag had only 2-3 items in a bag, meaning we ended up with so many more bags than needed. In addition to that, each piece of produce was in a plastic produce bag inside the plastic shopping bag.
I’ll admit, even since starting our No Waste journey, I have used this a couple of times. In the summer, Justin and I were in Orlando and drove from there to pick up my cousin at the airport in south Florida, then did our grocery pickup on the way to our timeshare condo. We loved not having to leave the beach to get groceries, but it still made so many bags.
Online Grocery Order Delivery
Many grocery stores are starting to deliver your groceries when you place an online order. This almost always comes with a fee, which is why I’ve never done it. While it may seem more convenient, the delivery service adds it’s own array of waste.
Large delivery trucks tend to use more fuel than your small family car would use to get to the store and back. And for those who use the shopping programs that have a personal shopper, there’s a chance they don’t know the most efficient way to get to your home, and drive further than you would.
Maybe the fuel usage is negligable, since you would be driving to the store versus them driving to you. But, the waste would still potentially increase depending on how the groceries are packaged. When they are put onto a truck or into a vehicle, there often needs to be some type of container.
Most of the time, these are plastic bins for holding your plastic bags full of groceries. Maybe they’ll continue to reuse the bins, but they will get damaged quickly and then become waste.
When ordering online, there is a note that substitutions are possible. The few times I’ve ordered groceries, there has always been at least one substitution. Once, that was such a different product that it wasn’t usable for what I needed. So now this created waste because I either had to figure out how to use the product or get rid of it. And it left me still needing to drive to the store to replace the item.
Take Back Control
When you go to the grocery store, you have so much more control over the entire experience. You get to control what type of bag your produce is stored in. You control whether you bring reusable bags to avoid plastic shopping bags. And you control exactly which products you are purchasing.
Stock changes frequently at the stores, so it’s hard to know what will be there when you order online. It’s much easier to be in the store and choose a substitute if you need one than to rely on someone else. Only you know you and your family’s preferred tastes.
- Have you done online grocery ordering?
- Why or why not?
- What are your thoughts about the convenience versus the waste?