The Unknown Environmental Damage of the E-Commerce Boom - Concrete Facts...

By Oleg Mikhailenko
March 11, 2022
3 min read
The Unknown Environmental Damage of the E-Commerce Boom - Concrete Facts...

Predictions state that the continuing meteoric boom in e-commerce will create a demand for over six billion more square feet of warehouse and storage space globally between now and 2025. That’s ‘billion’ with a B. Of the six billion, at least one billion will be needed in the United States alone. It’s hard for us as human beings to wrap our heads around numbers of this size. For that reason, here’s some comparisons to put it all in perspective for you.

Visualizing six billion square feet of space is headache-inducing. Instead, imagine 125,000 football fields worth of space - assuming we don’t include the end zones. To conceptualize it further, there are approximately 14,000 high schools in the US which play football as a major sport. To get enough space, we would need to take every single football field belonging to these schools and multiply them by nine! Nine times the football fields, nine times the high schools. Better hope you have your homework ready.

For Brits, we’re talking about 34,000 cricket fields. For the rest of the world, imagine 80,000 soccer pitches. If you don’t have a mind for sports at all, this is a space with a measure of 15 miles on a side, or 225 square miles altogether.

Imagine an area the size of Chicago, Madrid, or Seoul. To put it simply, the world needs a whole lot of warehousing space, and fast!

In more recent times, warehouses have become larger and larger than ever before. Amazon’s largest warehouse in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, is eventually planned to reach over 3.6m square feet of space. Well, that’s great for Amazon, but we would still need over 1,600 of these facilities to meet the global demand predicted in the next four years. Unfortunately, it’s not very likely Mount Juliet has so much room to spare.

So, what do we do? How do we meet this sort of demand?

Let’s say we build everything from scratch. If we just use the United States as an example, then to generate the one billion square feet of space needed, just about every city with a population greater than 100,000 people would need one of these 3 million square foot mega-facilities. That’s around 300 brand new massive facilities. Right now, Amazon has less than 200 warehouses in the US. The majority of these buildings are only around 800,000 square feet in size. If we use such a size as a model, the US would need nearly 1,250 new buildings built in the next four years. That equates to 26 new warehouses being built a month, every single month!

Although this would definitely be a potential boom for the construction industry, the damage to the world’s already fragile environment as a result of such rapid expansion is nothing to sneeze at. It’s not a widely known fact, but construction utilizing concrete currently accounts for about 8 percent of the carbon dioxide being emitted into the world’s atmosphere. This dwarfs the aviation industry’s contribution of 2.5 percent. Concrete is the most widely used artificial material in existence - the only thing we consume more of is water. If the cement industry (cement being the main ingredient in concrete) were a country, it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world with up to 2.8 billion tons produced annually. Only China and the United States can beat those numbers.

With the majority of new warehouse construction utilizing concrete as its dominant material, the effect on the environment as a result of all this extra construction is obviously a massive, if not yet widely recognized, concern. And that’s to say nothing of all the other problems building so many new sites would cause. From disrupting the habitats of animals, to polluting local water, to contributing to deforestation, a construction initiative on this scale would cause no shortage of trouble.

But there is another way. By converting and improving the utilization of existing buildings, rather than just building new warehouses, P2Pseller can prevent over 200 trillion pounds (85 million tons) of carbon dioxide from being produced during these buildings’ hypothetical construction. That’s the equivalent of 18 million cars being taken off the world’s roads for an entire year. Not many people consider the environmental impact of online shopping, but with these changes, they wouldn’t have to.

With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the working habits of millions of members of the world’s workforce, the required warehouse space for the foreseeable future is already available with no new construction required: Pre-existing facilities can be better and more efficiently utilized. P2Pseller estimates that improving the utilization of the world’s existing commercial property by just 1% would meet the demand, without causing any more environmental issues for the sake of business.

Light commercial, office,and even domestic storage space can be utilized in ways that have never been considered before. By using a shared economy approach, P2Pseller allows anyone with access to even the smallest available space to put their assets to work, earning them extra money for sharing that space with others. They can even increase their earnings by offering additional services such as repacking, rebranding, last mile deliveries, and customer service support. In return, online sellers can keep a clean conscience and won’t lose sleep over the environmental impact of doing business, and what’s more, will gain the warehouse space they need, where they need it, at a price they can afford. All through a mobile and web based app.

P2Pseller - Democratizing e-commerce with a shared economy approach.


Tags

#e-commerce#warehousing#environment#business#impact
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Oleg Mikhailenko

Co-Founder, CEO P2Pseller

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