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Grocery Delivery Lowers Carbon Dioxide Emissions Over Individual Trips

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the can't-beat-bicycles dept.

Earth 417

vinces99 writes "Those trips to the store can take a chunk out of your day and put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But now University of Washington engineers have found that using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store. Trucks filled to capacity that deliver to customers clustered in neighborhoods produced the most savings in carbon dioxide emissions, but there are even benefits with delivery to rural areas."

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Particular diet. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43587995)

Will this grocery delivery service discriminate against "atheist" foods?

Re:Particular diet. (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#43588041)

Will this grocery delivery service discriminate against "atheist" foods?

probably not as much as you're discriminating against atheists by implying they eat differently to non-atheists

Re:Particular diet. (2, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43588407)

In other news, when everyone in a neighbourhood packs into a bus, which delivers them to work and returns them home in the evening, the result will be a reduction in carbon dioxide into the atmosphere vs everyone driving themselves.

News at 11.

At produce returns may have some impact both profits and carbon dioxide...

Re:Particular diet. (4, Funny)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#43588061)

Will this grocery delivery service discriminate against "atheist" foods?

All foods are atheist. At least, I've never met or heard of any food that claimed that it believed in a god.

Feel free to provide evidence that theist foods exist - after all - extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Re:Particular diet. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588089)

Body of troll. Blood of flamebaiter. Take this, in memory of APK, in remembrance of host files and the GNAA.

Re:Particular diet. (5, Funny)

prionic6 (858109) | about a year ago | (#43588177)

All foods are atheist. At least, I've never met or heard of any food that claimed that it believed in a god.

Depends on your definition of "food".

Re:Particular diet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588195)

Gefilte Fish. ;-)

Shalom.

Re:Particular diet. (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43588155)

Will this grocery delivery service discriminate against "atheist" foods?

Seriously I would be much more worried about kosher foods if a Muslim was driving

Only true for a small portion of the world (4, Insightful)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43588001)

When I go to the grocery, I walk there. I doubt that any delivery service can be more efficient. However, to be able to shop in that way, the supermarket must be not more than 10-20 min away from home (by foot or by bike).

 

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588043)

By walking you emit additional carbon; it's best to stay in bed whole day and let them deliver it!

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43588071)

If you go there by foot or by bike, it means you cannot buy much.
Therefore you need to go much more often and that you'll rarely buy any heavy goods.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43588191)

If you go there by foot or by bike, it means you cannot buy much. Therefore you need to go much more often and that you'll rarely buy any heavy goods.

I used to live a quarter of a mile from a supermarket, and going every other day worked well. Now my closest supermarket is 3.5 miles away and the closest expensive convenience store 1 mile I use the car a lot more.

Delivery is OK but I think you get a worse selection of fresh produce than if you go and pick in person. You also miss the special offers that you see round the store

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588363)

Some stores offer delivery after you pay at the register. They just cart your bags away to a refrigerator and then deliver it within an hour or two. Obviously not optimal for hot foods or bread. You can walk to the store.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43588481)

Some stores offer delivery after you pay at the register. They just cart your bags away to a refrigerator and then deliver it within an hour or two. Obviously not optimal for hot foods or bread. You can walk to the store.

I haven't seen that offered locally, it would be useful though

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43588207)

Correct. I go there after work or more often on Saturday. Mostly for food of course. In most cases there is no heavy stuff. For now we are only a two person household, but even with three or four that scheme would be possible. If you only buy the stuff you really need, you can buy your stuff in a matter of minutes. In the end I wast less time than some of my colleagues who do that big weekend shopping thing every second weekend. And I need less storage space. However, this is only possible because I live in a city with all the necessary shops around me. During my study time, I lived in a shared flat, and we shopped normally by bike with a bicycle-trailer. Good enough for a five person household.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43588309)

If you go there by foot or by bike, it means you cannot buy much.

That's right. Your groceries will be fresh, you get daily excercise and you have an added incentive to switch from drinking soda to tea or coffee (Why lug half your body weight in water across town when you can get it at home by turning a tap?).
You can pick up your groceries on your way from work on a daily basis. For heavy goods you can always take a car or have it delivered.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#43588097)

A car accident 'sic' got me used to having groceries delivered. Shop in the evening over a few nights list still there or on a lazy Sunday afternoon, scope out all the specials and try something new, spend more than I normally would and have it delivered when it's convenient (even on the odd occasion go through the order with multiple stores to see which will be cheaper for the final order, including specials). Overall having groceries delivered is far more relaxing and with specials, which I never used to pay attention to, I save more than what I spend on delivery charges. The larger orders tend to spread out major shopping further and leave fresh bits and pieces for quick in and out trips on the way to or from.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43588153)

Yeah, I used to have to do that. It sucked. First, heavy groceries are no fun to lug home. Second, you can't buy very much, so you're going to the store every two days. Sucks. Maybe the "urban hip" crowd likes to hang out in the grocery store, but I don't. Another "I like to do this so everyone should be forced to do it" thing.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43588233)

You can do what ever you want. I definitely wast lest time that way. I do not know which heavy stuff you buy in a grocery. As I live in an urban area and work all day, I eat in the canteen at University. So I need only breakfast and dinner at home. As living in Germany lunch is rather small, bread and stuff, and breakfast is muesli (most days). It is suffice to shop at the weekend and walk by the bakery for bread on my way home maybe 10 min extra time. Also, as I shop less, I do not need to shop that long. My lifestyle would not work in a rural area or if you work far away from home. However, my original argument was, my way to shop requires less CO2 than any delivery service to my home. The small groceries where I shop are more or less my storage.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year ago | (#43588455)

It would be interesting to see the math for the added carbon emissions required for the extra food you eat to do that walking. Not saying you're wrong about your claim that the emissions would be less, but it'd definitely be interesting.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43588469)

Absolutely! You need therefor the figures for the CO2 emissions for the food in the store. I've heard the in Sweden they do that. Maybe someone has more insight into the topic.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#43588197)

There's no way I'd be lugging our weekly shop home, and it'll get worse as our family grows.

I used to do the same as you when I lived by myself (shopping for one), and the supermarket was on the way home from the train station - just pick up what I need for dinner after work each day. These days, when it's shopping for three, and it's closer to 30 minutes each way to the nearest supermarket - home delivery is the winner.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year ago | (#43588263)

It depends highly on you life situation, if you can do this. My point is, that the delivery home service might only be in an advantage in areas where people go by car to shop for food. While in many urban areas in Europe, this is not the case. Furthermore, other world areas, people have not that many cars or can not transport stuff in an time efficient way with cars. This includes India and large parts of China.

Under the assumption that you have to transport large amounts of grocery products and the time invested for the total activity is high (implying that you have to drive some distance) then the delivery service IS the better way.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

quantaman (517394) | about a year ago | (#43588319)

I'm gonna guess that the people who would use grocery delivery are not people who are going to walk, bike, or even take transit.

They're probably elderly or physically challenged, or they prioritize convenience and wouldn't take the time for the more efficient forms of transportation.

Re:Only true for a small portion of the world (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year ago | (#43588461)

There's a good chance that mass transit of any sort isn't available, either, especially on a moderately convenient route.

Really? (0, Troll)

rioki (1328185) | about a year ago | (#43588013)

Really? A grocery deliver has less carbon emission than me using public transportation (tram) on my way back form work?

Yea yea I know... Most of Mureca has little in the way of public transportation, which would not be feasible anyway. (I grew up partially in Autin TX.) But still, swapping gas guzzling single cars with one gas guzzling tuck. How about each individual reduced their emissions by getting more efficient cars (electic car + wind/solar/hydro?) and making minor detour from trips you do anyway.

Re:Really? (1)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#43588105)

Which part of you grew up in Austin? Ha ha ha. I crack myself up.

Re:Really? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43588137)

TFH (headline) mentions specifically that it is more efficient than single individual trips. It does not make any comparison to public transport. Honestly Slashdot, sometimes...

Re:Really? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#43588323)

... or batching it up with other trips (such as: "back from work")

Re:Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588335)

neckbeards like to feel they outsmarted others.

they pay no attention to context, things like that only get in the way of feeling superior.

Re:Really? (0)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43588357)

They make no mention of public transportation because that would point a finger at one of the many gaping holes in their premise. Constraining your problem areas to a very tiny subset does not make your research any more valid, it just 'allows' you to ignore other and better solutions since they're outside the 'scope' of your 'research'. Hell, your 'research' might even be redundant, like it is in this case.
Any 3rd grader can tell you that [num_cars]*[distance]*[CO2_per_mile_per_car] > 1*[distance]*[CO2_per_mile_per_truck] if you choose a high enough value for [num_cars].

Re:Really? (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43588173)

How about we build thorium reactors and waste all the cheap energy we please! China is... with our research.

Re:Really? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43588251)

The whole paper is self evident. Yes a large glass of water is going to hold less water than 100 shot glasses.

But it all depends on everyone using a car for their shopping vs. getting stuff delivered. Using public transportation is not even mentioned in the article, presumably because they know this 'research' is bullshit. Doing grocery shopping is only one of a whole multitude of things you can do when you own your means of transportation, and taking it further and using a non-CO2 producing means of transportation seriously fucks their research up. So they ignore it.

For this 'research' to have any merit they'd need to look at grocery delivery coupled with public transportation, and then correct for all the shit people can't do with public transportation alone. Or correct for the seriously gaping holes in their premise.

And all that aside, they seem to think that any truck can be packed to ~95% space efficiency, and that an optimal route through a neighborhood is always trivially solvable. Yet more bullshit. Packing a truck efficiently is a fucking nightmare and solving the Knapsack Problem is not going to help you much unless you're in the business of selling perfectly square cardboard boxes (in which case transporting them folded would make more sense, so yeah).

Re:Really? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#43588349)

Actually, "packing a truck perfectly" is more difficult than the mere "knapsack problem" (where it is enough if everything fits, but order doesn't matter), because you need to make sure that the boxes are in the right order for easy retrieval during delivery. You don't want to have to completely unload and repack the truck at each stop, because the boxes you need next happen to be at the bottom and furthest away from the truck door...

Re:Really? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43588391)

Actually, "packing a truck perfectly" is more difficult than the mere "knapsack problem" (where it is enough if everything fits, but order doesn't matter)

Which is what I said.
And yes, there are much, much harder problems in packing than 'will this box fit into this truck' (the basic definition of the Knapsack Problem). And as you mention, the route needs to be prepared before you can pack the truck, or you risk having to unload some or all of your goods at each stop. Coupled with weight distribution problems, the best they can hope for with this research is to not always drive around half empty.

Re:Really? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year ago | (#43588475)

Public transport isn't a viable option for many in this country. You're acting like the research isn't applicable, when it is really applicable to a substantial portion, if not a majority. I'd also be surprised if most of the companies that deliver groceries don't use a few standard sizes of boxes that are easy to pack into the truck efficiently on their own, and pick sizes that are pretty well matched up to the size of the goods within.

Re:Really? (1)

DrVxD (184537) | about a year ago | (#43588281)

one gas guzzling tuck.

I'll assume you meant truck.

Most of the places that deliver round here use electric vans to do so - which is exactly the right use-case for electric vehicles.
- The van's delivery route can be planned to ensure it's back at the depot well before the battery runs out - so no range anxiety.
- Once the van arrives back at the depot, the battery can be swapped and the van can be back on the road again; the old battery can be recharged ready for the next swap-out (if you're operating a fleet, it makes sense to have more batteries than vehicles; if you're running a car domestically, it doesn't).

Re:Really? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#43588317)

Really? A grocery deliver has less carbon emission than me using public transportation (tram) on my way back form work?

And this would still be true even if you used your car back from work and stopped on the way to load up some groceries.

And I'd think a majority of people fetch their groceries on the way back from work, that's why so many supermarkets are near major arteries...

The only "extra" carbon dioxide emitted is the one spent while looking for a parking spot, i.e. negligible.

WTFF (0)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#43588015)

Breathe less and you reduce CO2 emission.

Re:WTFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588047)

It also reduces brain capacity, as evidenced by your post.

Re:WTFF (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#43588279)

But the food itself is carbon neutral. As much carbon was absorbed then it was growing as you breathe out. The only carbon cost is that extra required by the equipment to grow and deliver it.

Walk, cycle to the store (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588023)

Jeez, is it so hard NOT to take the car for groceries?

Re:Walk, cycle to the store (1)

rioki (1328185) | about a year ago | (#43588073)

It really depends on where you live. My father who lives in, or rather around Austin TX has at least 20 min to drive to the nearest supermarket. Granted the simplest way to save CO2 and time is to do the shopping on the way back from work.

Re:Walk, cycle to the store (2)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#43588085)

If you live deep in surburbia walking isn't an option as the nearest grocery store may be more than a couple of km away. And if you are shopping for a family, cycling isn't an option because of the load you have to haul back.

But if you happen to be single and/or living within 20 min walk of a grocery store, have at it.

Re:Walk, cycle to the store (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588229)

Wow. US cities (it's infrastructure) suck really hard. Never seen a suburb in Europe hat hasn't grocery stores. I live in a rural area and the nearest supermarket is 5 min away - by foot. Granted nowadays not every tiny village has a store, but most do.

Re:Walk, cycle to the store (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43588381)

There are plenty of places within Europe with similar problems. Honestly amazed at all the nitwits thinking they're being witty by implying walking and/or bikes is a valid solution for everyone.

Disabling Arthritis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588325)

Fuck you. Yes, it is so hard to NOT take the car for groceries. Good days I don't use the gimp spot. Bad days, I don't go grocery shopping. Just because you're 19 and living in the dorms really isn't relevant to the rest of the population. It's 2 miles to the grocery store. Not far on a bicycle, if you can use one. My husband does when the weather isn't shitty, but feeding 4 people and not having the hipster diet, we buy things like flour and sugar and potatoes that come in bulk. Those, also, don't do well on a bicycle.

Re:Disabling Arthritis (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43588397)

My thoughts exactly. It is miles to the nearest grocery store for me, and even a mile just to the nearest bus stop. I have to buy many heavy things to feed my family, so it would be impossible to do that sort of thing walking or on a bike. Acting like a jackass implying everyone is too lazy to walk or use bikes is naive at best.

Re:Walk, cycle to the store (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588367)

Do you live by yourself and live moderately close to the store? If so then eat a bag of dicks, thinking that everyone has everything as easy as you do. Trying to carry a weeks worth of groceries to feed several people on a bike or on foot several miles would be next to impossible.

America-centric much? (0, Troll)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year ago | (#43588025)

I ride my bike to pick up my groceries like most sane people.

Re:America-centric much? (0)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43588079)

That's not sane, that's idiotic.
There is no way a bike could carry one week worth of groceries for a family, especially if you buy bottled water or even beer.

Re:America-centric much? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#43588151)

Use a bike trailer.

Re:America-centric much? (1)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#43588159)

let me introduce you to : http://bakfiets.nl/nl/modellen/cargobike/lang/ [bakfiets.nl]

doesn't even hold a full cart (1)

r00t (33219) | about a year ago | (#43588255)

It looks like I'd have to fill that bike about 8 to 10 times per week to feed my family. Each week I have about 4 large carts of food, overfilled top and bottom. Sometimes I hang things off the side. Sometimes I get a second cart.

I don't even bother with beer or bottled water. Each day is about 2 gallons of milk, 2 half-gallons of orange juice, perhaps 8 eggs on average (highly variable, can be about 2 dozen), 10 to 15 bananas, a pair of chickens or a turkey or a goose or similar...

Re:doesn't even hold a full cart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588377)

Wow I guess every sperm really is sacred to some people.

Re:doesn't even hold a full cart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588433)

How many kids do you have??? A dozen?

Re:America-centric much? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43588403)

That bike looks like it could barely handle more than a few bags of groceries. When you're buying for a family and not just yourself, that is pitifully small.

Re:America-centric much? (1)

greenfruitsalad (2008354) | about a year ago | (#43588187)

exactly the point he was making. buy smaller quantities more often and you get to enjoy something known in the rest of the world as fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh bread. also, what's wrong with drinking tap water? (hence the title - America-centric much?)

Re:America-centric much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588257)

I know no one who buys stuff for an entire week. I usually walk (!) to the supermarket at least 4 times a week and buy only stuff for today and maybe a little bit for tomorrow. I always end up with buying fresh stuff and only as much as I can use. I bet in the end I spend even less.

Re:America-centric much? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43588411)

Must be nice living very close to a supermarket.

Re:America-centric much? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#43588365)

Never heard about backpacks?

ok, maybe not for a family, but for an individual student, this is definately feasible. I did it myself when I was studying in Palo Alto, and it wasn't even a proper backpack. Just beware of not packing too tightly if you've bought eggs...

Re:America-centric much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588465)

That's not sane, that's idiotic.
There is no way a bike could carry one week worth of groceries for a family, especially if you buy bottled water or even beer.

"Buy bottled water?" Do you live in a refugee camp, or some other place that lacks access to clean drinking water?

Re:America-centric much? (2)

Onymous Hero (910664) | about a year ago | (#43588139)

I ride my bike to pick up my groceries like most sane people.

That's great for you; single-person-urbanite-centric much? ;)

I used to do the same when I was a student and lived relatively close to the supermarkets. A few years down the line, I/we shop for three people once a week. That can be a good forty kilos depending on what we buy.

A little more on topic - and perhaps more importantly, these grocery deliveries also save *time* - life's most important resource.

you are only K-selection (1)

r00t (33219) | about a year ago | (#43588345)

You still don't have much of a family. If the kids leave home at age 18 and don't come back, an unimpressive rate of 1 kid every other year should get you to about 9 kids. With decent performance you can have 15 kids. Again, this is assuming they leave the nest at 18 and don't come back.

This is old news for Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews. Protestants are starting to get on it too now, with the Quiverful movement. You may have to start your own movement if you don't believe... call it the "r-selection movement" maybe. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-selection [wikipedia.org] for why)

Re:America-centric much? (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43588145)

America is a large spread out place, and many people need to transport two hundred $ worth of groceries sometimes twice a week. Do that on a bike 4 miles twice a week, in Texas..... with three kids.

Re:America-centric much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588239)

Bike? What kinda forieners are you. Couldn't fit half da groceries for a famely a two on one 'em by-cycles. No sir, proper family needs an entire pickup truck's rear quarters least three times a week fer food.

Re:America-centric much? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about a year ago | (#43588339)

I ride my bike to pick up my groceries like most sane people.

I'd consider that decidedly INsane. You have fun riding your bike to the grocery store 4 times a week, and waiting in line over and over, just to feed yourself, when one car trip a month would do the job even better. I'd bet YOU are the one producing more carbon dioxide with your horrendously inefficient lifestyle.

Besides that, your story immediately reminds me of the Great Blizzard of 1888, where hundreds of people, mostly in New York, died, because they depended on buying groceries several times a week, just like you.

Wait let me get this right. (1)

will_die (586523) | about a year ago | (#43588031)

So it uses less gas and generates less emmisions if one truck comes from a single point into a area along a planned path and delivers to everyone instead of having all those individuals drive from the area to the single point?
WOW I would of thought it was the other way.
It is good that these people spent all this time and money to prove that common thinking was all wrong.

Re:Wait let me get this right. (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43588131)

Do they offer this new green way of consuming stuff? Because, really, who else would commission a study of something so painfully obvious.

But in the big picture it would use more because you need new supply warehouses, vehicles on the road, all the old stores would stay open. Now with widespread shift, and massive adoption of delivery I am sure it would use less.

Re:Wait let me get this right. (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43588477)

It's more than just common thinking, when you order online groceries in the UK just about every supermarket I can think of (and some other stores even, like John Lewis) will, when selecting delivery time slots, show you slots where a delivery van is going to be in your area delivering to someone else so that you can select it as an eco option.

We didn't need a university study for this, in the UK companies have been aware of it and offering it as an option for customers for many many years already.

Use your feet. (1)

lorinc (2470890) | about a year ago | (#43588033)

Well, the truck can deliver the goods to a local market. Then, you can go to that market using your feet or even a bike. I guess it is even more green. It is the way our grandparents did. Why do we different? Because we have plenty of cheap energy and it is more comfortable the other way.

It might change when the energy will not be that cheap, though. I am pretty pessimistic at the idea some environmental enlightenment will win against laziness...

Re:Use your feet. (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43588099)

Their own great grandfathers worked in a farm and traded their goods against other food at a local market. Maybe we should do the same instead of being lazy.
The grandfathers of those people even went to hunt animals to eat them! We should just do that instead!
All this industrialization of food is just for lazy people.

Re:Use your feet. (2)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43588113)

You mean..... walk? How?

Joking aside, the near ubiquitous adoption of cars has made walking untenable in many situations of daily shopping errands due to the distance between them. Biking would work in most situations, but you try carrying 60 pounds of groceries on a bike, maybe if you had a bike trailer, but I'm guessing you don't.

Re:Use your feet. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43588437)

You're extraordinarily naive about the shopping requirements of others. It is not merely "more comfortable" - in many areas it is not possible. There isn't always a grocery store within walking distance, and people don't always go to said stores multiple times per week.

Seems Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588037)

I've found that if you murder people, they stop emitting CO2 almost entirely. So really, serial killers are the best environmentalists.

Re:Seems Obvious (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43588215)

I've found that if you murder people, they stop emitting CO2 almost entirely. So really, serial killers are the best environmentalists.

If they don't dispose carefully though they can increase methane emissions, which is even worse. Seriously these serial killers should investigate the environmental impacts of acid baths, cremation, etc. My gut feeling says that using the bodies for livestock feed or eating them yourself is the most environmentally sound approach

Grocery? How 20th century (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about a year ago | (#43588055)

Who shops at major groceries anymore? I get most of my food at the farmers market. I like to pick my own produce, not phone it in.

Re:Grocery? How 20th century (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43588115)

I'll tell you who: normal people.
Only people with too much money and time on their hand will go buy high-quality meat or other farmer products regularly.

Re:Grocery? How 20th century (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43588439)

Regular people? Is this a trick question?

i would think (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43588087)

Grocery stores would fight it. There's no "oh i want it" to the same degree if you can keep a list in your phone every time you run out of something and it comes to the door twice a week. It would eliminate overhead, but who really needs grocery stores if a warehouse just loads the stuff on a truck and brings it to you. Now with fruits and veggies you'll probably want to pick them out so they dont give you the rejects.

For boxed stuff and canned goods, why not? I mean, my dad told me stories of the milk man/soda man in Brooklyn. Small towns have had a grocer kid who would bring you stuff for a tip. I even recall a similar service failing to gain traction here. I know there is Schwanns. That handsome delivery boy could be the bane of husbands everywhere!

Re:i would think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588149)

I know several grocery stores that offer this directly for a small fee, and it's the whole business of places like Amazon Fresh. There's room for improvement (the online interface is often terrible for such sites, and even Amazon doesn't have good detail display), but in general stores seem to be doing just fine with delivery.

so I can't choose my own food? (4, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | about a year ago | (#43588101)

I want the milk that is newest, the meat without marbling, the pear without bruises, and the beets without rotting leaves.

I'm sure it benefits the store to provide me whatever is oldest and/or least desired. If I don't buy more food to compensate, throwing out half of it, there may even be an environmental benefit. (less food waste if people eat the moldy food) No thanks. I want the good stuff.

Interesting article (1)

PhamNguyen (2695929) | about a year ago | (#43588109)

Fundamentally, environmental problems are economic problems: how to minimize environmental damage at minimal cost. Economic theory points to pollution taxes as the best solution. So while I disagree with the articles conclusion that governments should give incentives for ordering groceries by delivery, this kind of study does point people and companies in the direction of how to efficiently reduce pollution once the right incentives (pollution taxes) are provided.

And of course, in the meantime it's good for people to know how to efficiently reduce their own pollution even though there is no financial incentive to do so.

efficiency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588117)

If you want to be even more efficient how about you do a "Foxconn" - live, eat, etc at your workplace and do away with most grocery trips completely.

You'd get greater economies of scale and reduce CO2 emissions. But is that the priority?

I'd personally prefer to leave the cooking to the pros and specialists. In general that's inefficient however it's not 100% guaranteed that eating out has to be more inefficient and environmentally unfriendly:

Eat in:
farm->distribution center/warehouse->supermarket->your kitchen/fridge->your dining table.
Eat out:
farm ->distribution center/warehouse ->restaurant kitchen/fridge->restaurant dining table.

If everyone drives a car to restaurants and makes many such trips then it generates more CO2. But if most customers can walk in or its just a short detour from their main journey then it might actually be more efficient.

Carefull with that! (1)

codeButcher (223668) | about a year ago | (#43588119)

My groceries consist mostly of perishable goods (haven't bought cans or frozen foods in recent memory, rather low on boxes, packets or jugs). One has to wonder: how much do damaged fruit that rot before they can be eaten, contribute to carbon emissions (ok, ok, methane)? I often stop by the shop on my way from work to home, so not much extra fuel used there. But I select my produce for maximum freshness (so they last as long as possible). The more they are handled (unloading, packing, bagging, ...) the more the quality is impacted, because it seems where I live most laborers doing these low-wage, low-training chores just don't care. I somehow doubt that the delivery truck will take the same extra care to get me the freshest stuff.

Even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588121)

You could cut emissions even more if the trucks could solve the travelling salesman problem :).

Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588141)

This article/research has "fucking obvious" written all over it. How is this even news?

I doubt that service beats my grocery getter. (2)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#43588181)

Here's my grocery getter, loaded down with groceries [pinterest.com] . I doubt that truck beats me in the carbon department.

Not necessarily. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588183)

I've worked at a company located in Seattle and made a few trips there. Seattle was strange since everything is close together. It's a tightly packed city with irregular population distribution. Many of the cities in the US this is not the case. In South Florida, where I live, houses are spread apart far enough that a delivery truck would have traverse more distance than if individual people went to the grocery. It's also a good 10 minutes to a grocery store.

Now that's south Florida. I also visit my family in Israel where grocery stores abound and you can walk to several in a matter of minutes. When I'm there I don't emit any more carbon than I normally do when procuring groceries. So a delivery service doesn't make sense in a "European" style city where one doesn't have to shop at a giant mega-mart.

There is also a great variance in grocery shopping intervals. I go about twice a month. Some people with lots of kids and a big family go once a week or more. This seems like very myopic science to gather statistics like this on a small scale and assume it applies equally well on a large data set. It smells of questionable science to me.

It depends... (1)

knorthern knight (513660) | about a year ago | (#43588219)

If you're single and living by yourself, and there's a store within walking distance near your home or workplace, and you're physically fit, and the weather is half-decent, fine. How much can you lug in a couple of shopping bags? A week's worth of groceries for 2 or more people is not going to fit in a shopping bag, or in the itty-bitty basket on your bicycle.

My initial reaction to the article is... like... dohhh. This is what's known as "The travelling salesman problem". No, it's not a joke or a movie... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_salesman_problem [wikipedia.org]
> The travelling salesman problem (TSP) or travelling salesperson problem
> asks the following question: Given a list of cities and the distances between
> each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city exactly
> once and returns to the origin city? It is an NP-hard problem in combinatorial
> optimization, important in operations research and theoretical computer science.

In this case substitute residences in the same city for locations in multiple cities. But the principle is the same. Given today's computing power, it should be easy to plan an optimum route for delivering groceries to several customers in a geographic area. Depending on how the truck is loaded, and how many doors it has, the groceries will need to be loaded in either the same order as the deliveries, or the reverse order.

While we're at it, hasn't this problem been addressed by other delivery systems? TV/furniture/bed stores (or the companies they subcontract out to) will obviously want their delivery guys to deliver pieces of furniture to multiple customers, in the shortest time possible, assuming hourly pay.

Re:It depends... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#43588387)

Before solving the "traveling salesman problem", these delivery services would first need to solve the "chicken and egg problem": Namely, it only works out (both economically and ecologically) if they have enough customers that they can serve more then one per trip... (and while they haven't enough yet, they'd be too expensive to get more...)

Re:It depends... (1)

jcupitt65 (68879) | about a year ago | (#43588389)

I do both: I get a delivery every two weeks of bulky and heavy dry goods, and I walk/cycle to the supermarket every other day to get fresh fruit and veg. It works well for our family anyway.

Who gives a shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588249)

boink

Utterly irrelevant rubbish (1)

terjeber (856226) | about a year ago | (#43588265)

Motor vehicles are behind about 15% all CO2 emissions. Out of that I have seen numbers ranging from 40-75% coming from private transporation, the typical definition of car. Let's assume the upper range and say that private car transportation emits about 10% of all CO2 in the world. How much of that is done buying groceries? I know personally it is less than half, but for fun, lets say my work and my kids spare-time activities are really close and my grocery store is really far away, and I spend half of my driving to and from the grocery store. That would mean that 5% of all CO2 emissions come from driving to and from grocery stores. This is most likely exaggerated quite a bit, but let's stay with the upper boundaries.

If they can cut grocery-related emissions by half, that would mean a 2.5% reduction in emissions give an absolute perfect scenario. The real number is probably closer to somewhere between 0 and 1%.

The people doing this research are not morons for doing the research, but they are morons for publishing it thinking it adds to the debate about AGW.

In fact, given that private car transportation is the source of 10% or so of carbon emissions, any person who uses changes in private car transportation as a solution to AGW is mathematically retarded and should be removed from the discussion. The reduction in CO2 emissions that can be achieved targeting private transportation are statistically insignificant, and most of the "solutions" are far worse than the problem. Electrical cars for example, would increase CO2 emissions in most of the world, not reduce them since most of the electricity they run on is being produced by coal-fueled power plants.

Re:Utterly irrelevant rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588369)

Is your point really "it's not a comprehensive solution, so we shouldn't bother"? Do you really not see the value in increased energy efficiency wherever we can get it? I mean, if people used this as an excuse to not do anything else I guess it could be bad, but there's no evidence that would happen.

Re:Utterly irrelevant rubbish (2)

hankwang (413283) | about a year ago | (#43588459)

Motor vehicles are behind about 15% all CO2 emissions.

True on a world-wide scale. However, in the US, 32% of CO2 emissions is from transportation [epa.gov] . It's harder to find numbers on motor vehicles in the US, but the closest I get within 3 minutes of Google is almost a quarter of annual US emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). (...) The US transportation sector emits more CO2 than all but three other countries' emissions from all sources combined. [ucsusa.org]

Unfortunately, it looks like there is no simple way to reduce CO2 emissions. Just saying "just cut all the CO2 sources except the my car, my airconditioning, and my incandescent bulbs" is a bit too easy.

Already hugely populary in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588267)

It's very popular in the UK, everyday you see many supermarket delivery vans/trucks driving around. Plenty of our neighbours use this system. People seem to like using the smartphone apps to top up their order or schedule a time slot for delivery etc.
I guess it is saving people from having to physically travel to the supermarket themselves.

So it kills plants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588273)

Since it put out less carbon that plants need to survive.

BIKE BIKE BIKE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588333)

The bike

- cuts carbon emission dramatically compared to any fossil fuel based vehicle
- keeps you good condition / lowers health costs to the community
- saves roads and preserve public infrastructure
- favors social interaction (try to say hello and stop for a quick chat with a friend driving a car when you're driving yourself; you wouln't even notice she/he is around ; - )
- and to shop big or heavy items, use a trailer or a long john...

Enjoy your ride!

Why is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43588399)

I don't get it. Having a truck loaded with groceries going around and delivering is more efficient then multiple cars. Why is a study needed to know something so obvious?

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