Having food delivered to your home may be more eco friendly than shopping locally

February 3rd, 2009 - 2:53 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 3 (ANI): A new research has suggested that shopping locally may not be as good for the environment as having food delivered to your home.

The study, by researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK, shows that on average, lower carbon emissions result from delivering a vegetable box than making a trip to a local farm shop.

The researchers compared trips to a local farm shop with deliveries made by companies that distribute organic vegetable boxes to their customers.

They study also took into account the carbon emissions produced by cold storage, packing and the transportation of goods to a regional hub.

By bringing this data together, the researchers were able to calculate the total carbon emission.

The study found that if the average car journey made to a farm shop is a round-trip of more than 6.7 km, then home delivery was a better option even if the competing farm shop used no lighting, heating or chilling.

While a delivery van will travel up to 360 km to deliver an organic vegetable box, this trip will cover a large number of addresses; so the carbon emissions per customer will be surprisingly low.

According to David Coley from the Centre for Energy and the Environment at the University of Exeter, lead author on the study, People are becoming familiar with the phrase food miles, but dont have a very clear understanding of what it means.

We need to look more thoroughly at the many factors that lie behind putting food on our tables, before we can say what is better or worse for the environment, he said.

Rather than focus on food miles, it would be more meaningful to look at the carbon emissions behind each food item, said Coley.

While the concept of food miles was useful in getting people to think about the issues around carbon emissions and food transport, its time for a more sophisticated approach, he added. (ANI)

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