The “Last Mile”
2020 has been a tough year for everyone, and as the Covid-19 virus continues to bring restrictions and limit our ability to congregate and socialize, we have to continue to rethink how we access food and basic necessities. Stay at home orders keep us in a situation where we must answer a very important question; to order out or cook at home? With more people working from home, many are making attempts at baking their own bread, adopting new hobbies or crafts, and finding new creative ways to keep themselves occupied in an attempt to maintain sanity in an isolated world. Have you adopted a new hobby? Have you taken up a new DYI project? Have you been cooking more often? Or ordering takeout from your favorite local restaurant?
These questions strike a chord with all of us and they have a very different meaning than they did just a year ago. One of the things that might not be on your mind, however, is how has your environmental impact changed? There are so many factors involved in this question, that many don’t take the time to reflect on. It’s much more than just driving fewer miles or taking shorter showers, or buying fewer clothes. We need to look at all of the implications of our carbon footrprint. Have you been ordering more off of Amazon? Or more Uber Eats? We often forget the impact of these types of purchases, and how much environmental damage is done simply in the name of modern convenience.
The term “Last Mile” is a term that is used for deliveries and how they end up from the origin source, to the sorting center, to the distribution center, and finally, to our door. The “Last Mile” is the biggest challenge from a logistics perspective and is often the most costly travel time and causes the most pollution. Think of this: how often do you make a trip to the store to purchase one item? The answer is probably not very often. And yet, we have no problem ordering one item from Amazon, that often travels tens of miles to get to your front door. Your delivery of a tube of toothpaste or a box of crackers might save you a trip to the store, but it causes a huge amount of pollution to get it to your home.
So, what are some simple solutions? At greencityroots, we’d love to tell everyone to stop ordering online from
big box stores altogether. Of course, we realize that’d be a difficult lifestyle change for most families, and sometimes not the most financially wise considering big box online deliveries are sometimes cheaper than buying a product in person. What you can do is purchase more products at one time, to cut down on your “last miles.” You can even phone a friend and ask if they need anything from an online store, to further cut down on your inner circle’s “last mile.” Another solution is to opt for less boxes with your purchase, rather than getting multiple deliveries for one single online order. Though it might be inconvenient to wait an extra week for your order, this has a huge impact on our carbon footprint. Patience is a virtue that we have forgotten! Another option is to buy your products in bulk; less future deliveries, which mean less “last miles.”
These are small changes we can make to reduce “last miles” that will have a long lasting effect on our environment, without sacrificing modern convenience or no-contact purchasing.