Author Topic: Online shopping and the environment.  (Read 257 times)


  • Formerly known as Gloucester
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Online shopping and the environment.
« on: March 07, 2017, 04:53:00 AM »
A prog on the radio made me think, and this is allied to robotics to a degree.

Our local postal delivery depot uses small vans. Used to be a dozen or do, used pm to deliver parcels after the postie had walked his round in the morning. One van would deliver extra post bags to strong boxes on several rounds so that the poor postie did not have to carry a whole round's worth of letters and small parcels all the way.

Now, the whole car park at the depot is full of vans, must be about 40 of them, during non-working hours. Almost every postie has a van to drive all his round load, letters and parcells, stopping and starting possibly a hundred times a day. Needed to deliver all those on-line purchases. But, it gets worse - a fair percentage of those parcel deliveries fail, nobody home to accept. So a card is left and either the recipient has to drive to collect from the depot or arrange a new delivery. And that is just the Royal Mail that has multiplied its carbon footprint several times, add in all the private courier and delivery firms . . .

One company is developing an electric self-drive delivery van, so expect loads of little robots driving around all day!  But, new problem. UPS started converting mid-life deisel vans to electric, then ran out of power capacity at the test depot after 9 vehicles. There have already been concerns over the capacity of current domestic power supply capacity if eldctric cars get too popular. Would cost hundreds of billions to upgrade it. Maybe they will have a premium tarrif for car chargers or restrict their use to hours when there is spare capacity.

Electric vehicles may reduce urban pollution but that energy still has an environmental cost. And just how much lithium is there in the world anyway? Not to mention neodymium for the high efficiency motors essential for electric vehicles. Should it be legally required that every new home has a solar cell roof? At least silicon is a, if not the, major constituent of the Earth's crust!
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.