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How Do Your Shopping Habits Impact the Environment?

Whether it’s excessive plastic packaging or an unnecessary paper receipt, it’s easy to point to any number of visibly wasteful practices in retail.

However, there are just as many hidden environmental costs in the industry, but many of them can be changed by consumers.

Here are some ways modern-day shopping habits can affect the environment, and how local resale stores help consumers lessen their impact:

Environmental Impact: Paying the Price for Fast, Free Shipping

Not many consumers stop to think about the environmental impact of their shopping habits, but the reality can be quite staggering – particularly in a world of next-day shipping and Amazon Prime, when convenience is put to the test.

That’s because the digital revolution and rise of delivery culture have largely redefined the retail supply chain and logistics industry.


Most packages are now getting delivered directly to residential addresses, as consumers continue to turn to online shopping and rely on expedited shipping. In other words, we’ve traded trips to the mall, in relatively fuel-efficient cars, for deliveries to residential neighborhoods by trucks and other vehicles.

And, whereas these goods would previously be delivered in bulk and to a centralized destination, they’re now being delivered one-by-one – using the same heavy-duty, diesel-guzzling vehicles that are typically necessary for transporting large-scale orders.

Although this shipping method is decidedly inefficient, it’s oftentimes the only way to ensure the expedited delivery date that consumers increasingly expect.

The culture of hassle-free online shopping and next-day delivery is taking its toll on the environment since freight traffic generates a disproportionate amount of emissions. These emissions include the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, in addition to other pollutants shown to have a disastrous impact on a community’s health and overall well-being.


In 2016, transportation overtook power plants as the top producer of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. for the first time since 1979.

With medium- and heavy-duty trucks accounting for nearly one-fourth of those emissions, the first step to reduce our carbon footprint is minimizing our use of these vehicles.

Resale Concepts Cut Costs for Consumers and the Environment

By cutting back on online shopping and skipping expedited delivery at checkout, consumers can significantly reduce their environmental impact.

Even better, by shopping at local resale businesses, consumers can save money – and the environment – in countless ways.

When consumers shop locally, they minimize the substantial air pollution generated by fuel-guzzling semi-trucks and other vehicles used to ship consumer goods. And, when shopping resale, consumers can further reduce their environmental footprint, since resale concepts:

  • Promote a culture of sustainability – When consumers reuse or recycle clothes, they’re able to breathe new life into gently used items, decrease the demand for production and encourage sustainable practices. Simply by giving consumers a quick, convenient solution to recycle quality used items, resale concepts help create a culture of sustainability.

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  • Prevent waste and overproduction of goods – Recycled cotton clothing uses less than 3 percent of the energy that would have gone into producing new clothes. Yet, as long as consumers continue to buy new clothes and other goods, manufacturers will continue to overproduce in order to answer that demand. This has driven the fashion industry to become the second-largest polluter in the world, while the average person throws away 81 pounds of clothes annually. At the same time, resale concepts help prevent these negative effects by recycling clothes and other goods, which cuts down on demand for new items, prevents overproduction and reduces the amount of waste entering landfills.
  • Preserve water and other resources – In addition to preventing end-product waste, resale concepts also evade the waste of resources during the manufacturing process. Manufacturers use as much as 713 gallons of water to make a single t-shirt. And growing crops, like cotton, wastes 60 percent of the water it requires – making clothing production extremely energy inefficient. Runoff from pesticides also pollutes nearby waterways, compounding any adverse environmental effects from excessive water usage. By reselling gently used clothing and other items, resale concepts don’t necessitate the production of new goods, bypassing these wasteful practices altogether.

Not only do local resale concepts circumvent the negative environmental impact of expedited shipping and online shopping, but they also help consumers pursue a greener lifestyle in countless other ways – and with every purchase.

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Through Winmark’s resale model, and backed by widespread consumer support, we saved 151,751,000 items from landfills in 2018 alone.

By making more informed buying decisions, consumers can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and create a culture that promotes sustainability and prevents wasteful practices in retail and beyond.

Are you an aspiring business owner interested in making a positive impact on the environment and your community? Contact us today about Winmark’s resale franchise opportunities.