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In Defense of Slow: Why We Desperately Need Sustainable Shipping

A Love Triangle for the Ages

The importance of sustainable shipping is starting to emerge into the spotlight. One root cause of this change in awareness is the modern era’s unique love triangle — one that puts young adult novels to shame. Who makes up this love triangle, you ask? That is simple: humans, the planet, and convenience. 

Humans’ love for convenience is starkly evident in the rise of online shopping. Global e-commerce is growing steadily, and some estimate that online shopping will make up 20% of retail purchases by 2023. 

Online shoppingis amazing and brings a larger variety of products to more consumers than ever before. Do you need new bathroom towels? You can find them in any color imaginable. Do you want a life-sized gloss poster of a velociraptor? You can have that — but avoid putting it too close to where you sleep. These advances are staggering, but they also come with staggering costs to the planet. 

The Death of Snail Mail

Unless the snail is the driver of a high-speed delivery truck, the name “snail mail” no longer fits. The world is fast-paced, busy, and drawn to instant gratification. Large companies are offering ever-shorter shipping times to stay competitive. At first glance, this seems like another convenient innovation — after all, we love getting things faster.

Unfortunately, the hidden cost offree rush shipping is picked up by Mother Nature. Delivery trucks make multiple trips with their cargo bays half-full to keep up with incoming orders, increasing each purchase’s carbon footprint. And with no-hassle returns becoming the norm, these same packages often jump back on board for a second voyage.

If you take rush shipping out of the picture,online shopping is better overall for the environment than going from store to store yourself. With rush shipping, the negative impact of online shopping is worse than traditional buying methods. “Snail mail” may be slower, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in increased sustainability. 

The Cardboard Castle

Empty cardboard boxes are the dream-building tools of children everywhere. They become castles, rockets, and pirate ships. But conventional shipping generates an unsustainable amount of waste — more than enough to build a cardboard Empire State Building.

A  2017 white paper by the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment pointed out that online shopping results in an average of four times more “touchpoints” for merchandise. Products are packaged, shipped, repackaged, and reshipped before they reach their final destinations. At each stop, more rubbish enters the picture and the cycle continues. 

Swimming Against the Current

People do love convenience, and giving it up is never easy. Striving for sustainable shipping can seem like trying to swim up a rushing river. Impossible? At first glance, it seems to be. But thousands of salmon manage to swim upstream every year. If they can do that, we can embrace the countercultural goal of sustainability.

Lochtree is not afraid to go against the current — we welcome a challenge. That is why we have an uncommon shipping policy designed to balance the urgent need for sustainability with the desire for cost-effective convenience.

Lochtree’s Stand for Sustainable Shipping 

Lochtree is founded and centered on strong values. There is no Planet B, so we want to do all we can to take care of this one. We know our customers care about the planet, too — but we also recognize that they are still humans with busy lives to live.

Sustainable shipping matters to us because we have seen firsthand what irresponsible practices do to the environment. We refuse to profit at the planet’s expense. While shipping responsibly may be more complex on our end, we are willing to make the effort. 

Our conscious policy brings the best value possible while preserving our focus on sustainability. Here are some key points of our shipping philosophy.

1. We offer free shipping.  

Lochtree’s mission is to create a marketplace for sustainable products. We want this marketplace to be inclusive and accessible to as many people as possible regardless of their financial situation. For this reason, we offer free shipping on all orders.

2. We emphasize conscious shipping practices. 

Lochtree always ships using the most economical method possible. We research the best local options, considering time, carbon impact, and practicality. Since rush-shipping does the most damage to the environment, we do not rush-ship except by special request. If you need rush shipping, you can contact us at info@lochtree.com

3. We strive to use eco-friendly packaging materials.

In our effort to be environmentally conscientious, Lochtree strives to ship with eco-friendly materials packaging materials and compostable mailers. Once these materials are in your hands, the rest is up to you. We encourage you to learn about your area’s recycling programs and composting opportunities. 

Shipping Parcels

Be a Sustainable Shipping Superhero

It is not easy being in a constant tug-of-war between convenience and conscientiousness. Just like swimming upstream, working toward a more sustainable lifestyle requires time and patience. Large, flashy gestures are often alluring, but small changes are easier to maintain. Yes, they appear inconsequential at first. Over time, though, each tiny step compounds with the rest to create an astounding positive impact.

Going against the convenience culture can start with the simplest of choices. It may mean planning ahead so you can opt for no-rush shipping without stress. Or it could mean choosing suppliers who use responsible packaging. 

Sustainable shipping is not glitzy or glamorous, but it is more vital now than ever before. Lochtree is in this journey for the long run. We invite you to join with us to take the small steps that lead to a healthier planet and a brighter future for everyone.

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