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Brian Deterling

On the transportation side, as long as the total volume and number of shipments is the same, does it really matter if it's a bunch of small shipments versus fewer larger shipments? I'm assuming the shippers are good at optimizing the load - obviously if your one book was sitting on an otherwise empty plane or UPS truck, it would be different.

On the packaging side, you may have a point, although I'd prefer more recyclable cardboard boxes and fewer hard plastic clamshells that require a machete and a blowtorch to open.

In general though, that's what's so difficult about being green. Every time you think you've identified a process that could be greener, you can come up with arguments about how the alternatives are just as bad. If you read those books on a Kindle, you save all the pollution from the shipping process, but how much is caused by the power used to transfer the book, the data center holding the storage, the Kindle device, etc?




Great comments! All point to the same paradox I had when I wrote the piece--what's green logisitics anyway? More small shipments do have higher tare weights than consolidated ones, however, and in spite of optimization, lead to more in-transit carbon emissions.

Thanks for caring about these issues and helping us all think about what it means to reduce our waste.

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