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A 2009 report found home deliveries produced significantly less CO2 emissions than shopping by car. However according to David Jinks, head of Consumer Research at price comparison site ParcelHero, nitrogen oxide emissions are now the problem:

“For some years after the emergence of e-commerce, the debate raged whether home deliveries or traditional shopping trips by car were greener.

“A 2009 academic report by Professor Alan McKinnon and his team at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh finally seemed to settle the matter, finding a dedicated car trip for a specific item generated 4,274 grams of CO2 per kilometre; but a successful first-time delivery created just 181 grams. In fact, the research found that a customer shopping by car would have to buy 24 non-food items to reduce their equivalent emissions to those of a home delivery.

“But NOx impacts on respiratory conditions and high levels cause inflammation of the airways. As long ago as 2012 campaigners were arguing that NOx should be considered as being just as important as CO2 emissions. Then came ‘Dieselgate’, the revelation that some VW Group vehicles allegedly emit up to 40 times more NOx in real-world driving than in laboratory tests, which bought the issue to the forefront of public attention.

“Now the latest Euro 6 diesel vans have cut nitrogen oxide by 55 percent from 180mg/km to just 80mg/km. (In contrast, the NOx limit for petrol engines has not been altered from the previous Euro 5 standards). And they also cut down emissions of sulphur oxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and diesel particulate.

“And many of the best-known names in deliveries are actually ahead of the curve in planning to ditch the diesel in urban areas: Royal Mail is introducing a significant fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) from Peugeot and Banbury, UK-based Arrival. UPS has also ordered 35 of the ultra-lightweight Arrival EVs and just fitted its central London depot with extensive new recharging facilities ready for a significant boost to its electric fleet.’

“Hermes is already running a fleet of 32 EVs in Central London and is considering a large scale roll out of such vehicles in cities throughout the UK; while DHL is not only building its own electric vans but is also now emerging as an EV supplier for other companies. Its StreetScooter range is expanding from producing mainly for DHL’s own fleet to now selling EVs to other logistics companies.

“Some couriers and retailers are also now looking back to the future and returning to pedal power to solve some of the challenges of greening the final mile. DHL has new cargo bikes in cities across the Europe while innovative companies such as Zedify supply pedal-powered bike and trike delivery services for many local retailers in several cities across the UK.

“Meanwhile Sainsbury's is testing a new fleet of electric grocery delivery bikes in South London. And this is one spoke in a whole new hub as the UK government pledges £2 million in funding for e-cargo bikes grants.

“At the other end of the scale from the humble bike, Starship Technologies’ robot vehicles are being used in Greenwich and Milton Keynes to deliver groceries.

“City courier advances will include deliveries straight to your car boot – Audi and Volvo are already working on schemes with DHL and Amazon. And there will even be deliveries to your kitchen…when you’re out. Smart doorbell entry is an idea that’s clearly chimed with Amazon, and in the UK Waitrose is already testing these ‘in-home deliveries’ in South London.

"Amazon has even patented flying distribution centres that can be taken wherever they are needed, and vans that produce 3D printed items while on route to your home.

“Whatever their final evolution, home deliveries will continue to be a greener option than traditional shopping trips in the family car, as technology evolves and delivery choices grow ever wider.”

Report: https://www.parcelhero.com/blog/news-updates/home-deliveries-green

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