Can you imagine a time when online shopping didn’t exist? It wasn’t too long ago when orders had to be made through print catalogs. Electronic commerce giants like Amazon and Ebay were nonexistent and shopping (without actually having to visit the store) was limited to catalogs received.
We hear it over and over again that print media is dying. As tangible media moves to digital, a benefit of this is less production of paper. Deforestation, the cutting down of trees, is toxic to our environment, producing greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide (CO2) and those responsible for acid rain, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).
According to the Paperless Project, the world produces 300 million tons of paper each year. Not only is ecommerce saving millions of sheets of paper, but it’s also reducing our carbon footprint and providing a convenience that wasn’t available even 20 years ago.
While the idea of having a shopping catalog sent to your house sounds nice, it’s actually incredibly wasteful. According to the Paperless Project, the world already produces more than 300 million tons of paper each year. Add on sales catalogs from online retailers and the results would be cataclysmic. For example, if Amazon.com – one of the biggest online retailers to date—decided to print its entire inventory, more than 8.7 million acres of pine would be destroyed. What’s more is that Jet.com would contribute more than 15 million trees to this. Even smaller online retailers, like Rakuten.com and Shop.com, would create substantial waste. So what does this mean? While it’s nice to reflect on the past—The Sears Catalog was pretty cool—it’s a good thing that we’re looking toward the future. In many ways, ecommerce is saving the world. Check out the infographic for this project below:
Source: WP Engine and Paperless Project