Weekly Challenge

Week 7: Abandon Your Online Cart

Get ready for some feel-good vibes! This week’s challenge makes a big impact on both the environment and your smile muscles. We are giving you permission to tap into the freedom and guaranteed pangs of pride that come with abandoning your online shopping carts.

We know that recent changes around the world have forced many to pivot to online shopping; but this change in shopping habits is beginning to reveal troubling and unintended costs. Not only has on-demand, online shopping accelerated the strain on our already overburdened infrastructure and waste management systems, it has:

Shop Small

Instead of the annual Small Business Saturday, let’s shift to Small Business EVERYday. Aside from the vastly different—and often empty—experience of shopping online, make the choice to focus your economic contributions to local businesses.

5 billion
pounds of waste

Each year, 5 billion pounds of waste is generated through returns.
BBC Earth

net new jobs

Up to 90 percent of net new jobs in the US are created by locally owned businesses.
Entrepreneurship Policy Digest

remains local

For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 recirculates and remains in our local economy. Only $43 remains in our community when it’s spent at a national chain.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance

fewer automobile miles

Residents of neighborhoods with more local businesses log 26% less automobile miles. This translates to less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance

When you shop local, you:

Vote With Your Dollars

Every dollar spent locally makes a big impact on both people and the planet. By choosing to shop small instead of at national chains and big box stores, we create a better future one dollar at a time.

A Walk Downtown

Let’s pause for a minute and do a guided mental imagery exercise together. Close your eyes and take a walk with us. As we start walking, we head towards the downtown business district. We walk past a pet shop, a small toy store, a gift shop full of local artists’ creations, a music store, the neighborhood florist, and your favorite family restaurant with its always-amazing signature dishes. We pause for a minute to browse the new releases in the window of the independent bookshop and the handmade wares at one of the area’s unique specialty stores, before grabbing a snack at the grocery that has been around for generations, and then washing it down with a drink at the cozy coffee shop that knows your order. We sit near the window and stare at all of the other beloved mom-and-pops that line the street. The sidewalks are filled with foot-traffic from neighbors and friends; and the shops are bustling, thriving, ready to welcome us in with a smile.

Now… let’s imagine our community without any of these local businesses. What would be left? What would the streets look like? We imagine it might look like a scene out of a zombie apocalypse movie—dark, desolate, depressing, empty, boring, abandoned—or on the opposite end, a series of brightly lit national chains that are devoid of character and place profit over people. Unsettling, right?!

Just when you might be thinking, “We’re doomed! I feel so helpless! There goes the neighborhood!”, keep this in mind:

We actually have the power to shape the health of our community, one dollar at a time.

When you opt to shop where your heart lives, you not only support an economy of friends and neighbors, you reduce landfill burden, curb transportation emissions, and do your part to ensure the community shifts from surviving to thriving.