Shop local – save the planet

Shop local – save the planet Shop local – save the planet. That’s the retail mantra of many greens and environmentalists. But is it true? It’s a question that researchers at Exeter University set out to answer. Their results, just published in the journal Food Policy, show that on average, lower carbon emissions result from delivering a vegetable box than making a trip to your local farm shop. The study compared trips to a local farm shop with deliveries made by companies that distribute organic vegetable boxes to their customers. It also took into account the carbon emissions produced by cold storage, packing and the transportation of goods to a regional ‘hub’. By crunching all this data, the researchers were able to calculate and compare the total carbon emission of these food shopping routes. If the average car journey made to a farm shop was a round-trip of more than 6.7km, then home delivery was a better option even if that retail venue used no lighting, heating or chilling. And surprisingly, while a delivery van may travel up to 360km to deliver an organic vegetable box, this trip will cover a large number of different addresses, so the carbon emissions per customer will be relatively low.

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