Is online shopping eco-friendly?

Is online shopping eco-friendly?Online shopping is hailed for being convenient and time-saving. Yet, do the benefits outweigh potentially nonenvironmental-friendly side effects? Take product packaging, for instance. Goods purchased at retail outlets usually are delivered to stores in bulk, but those arriving at mailboxes or doorsteps often require individual packaging--resulting in greater waste, according to Fritz Yambrach, a professor of packaging science at the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology.

"The product distribution system for Internet sales--similar to mail-order catalogues--normally requires more packaging material because the wholesale-retail system is circumvented," he points out. Further, even though consumers save gasoline by shopping online, most products still must be shipped--meaning energy consumption and pollution by society as a whole likely are not reduced appreciably.

Ultimately, consumers will decide if the benefits of online shopping outweigh the detriments. So far, they are turning to the Internet mostly for research purposes. Four in 10 consumers research future purchases via the Internet, but less than two percent buy online.

Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that children who wished to sit on Santa's lap needed to do so in person by visiting a mall or store. So, the man in the red suit, by drawing shoppers into stores and delivering presents in an environmentally friendly, reindeer-powered sleigh, may have been the "greenest" of them all.
Safe Shopping

Almost everywhere we shop-from the toy store at the mall to an online linen warehouse-we are asked to provide personal information. Some stores ask for a zip code or phone number at the checkout. Online sites may demand more,

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Do you love the convenience of online shopping but worry about who might be grabbing your credit card information? The truth is, using your credit card anywhere puts you at risk. Anyone who handles your credit information is a potential thief. But the Internet somehow instills greater fear. As we'll see,
Do you derive pleasure from pressing innumerable buttons on your touch-tone keypad just to get an answer to a simple question? How about logging on to a Web site and clicking aimlessly around, deluged with pop-up ads, to learn more about your long-distance account? Do you get a real kick out of being a target of cross-promotion?
Shopping Online Safely, There can be real advantages to shopping online: Prices are sometimes cheaper and product selection greater; it's often easier to find information about a particular product; parking isn't an issue; and the Internet is open 24 hours a day. But online shopping also has inherent risks and disadvantages,