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Innovative solutions: Harnessing technology


It is often useful to think outside the box when considering ways to reduce your fuel use. Though there are always things to consider, some ideas that may work for you include grocery delivery and work-from-home. 

As with everything, the actual savings and environmental benefit depend on a lot of things. But here are some ways that using technology may help you save fuel:

Grocery Delivery:

But studies have found that in Australia, in a capital city like Darwin, having your groceries delivered turns out to be a sustainable option. The reasons why are: 

  1. Consolidated deliveries: Woolworths and Coles will often consolidate multiple orders into one delivery, reducing the number of individual trips that consumers would make to the store
  2. Route optimization: The drivers will optimize delivery routes, ensuring that drivers take the most efficient path to reach multiple destinations. This minimizes the travel distance and fuel consumption per delivery
  3. Reduced individual trips: When you choose grocery delivery you can eliminiate the need for individual trips to the store
  4. Eco-friendly delivery vehicles: Some delivery services are investing in Green Delivery, which allows the consumer to specifically choose to have your groceries arrive at a time when deliveries are already scheduled in your neighbourhood. For more information check out Green Delivery on the Woolworths website.

The downside and other considerations:

Despite the fuel savings there are some important environmental considerations for you to be mindful about:

  • Excess packaging and plastic: Grocery items often come with additional packaging to protect them during transit. This leads to excessive non-recyclable packaging. You may end up with more packaging than if you shopped in-store. You can leave notes on your order requesting this not be done, but this is not a guarantee.
  • Single items may be packed in a single bag, meaning you receive excess bags. You can opt to have your groceries delivered in paper bags which can re-used or recycled, but you won't be able to control how many bags you get. 
  • If you have an EV, there is no fuel use associated with going to the store!
  • While the route is optimized and deliveries are consolidated, the truck that turns up is part of a fleet of diesel delivery trucks with refrigeration and freezers to keep items fresh. This is much more energy intensive than a regular vehicle. 

Online work and learning

Online work and learning can contribute to fuel savings through: 

  1. Reduced commuting
  2. Telecommuting and virtual meetings
  3. Flexible schedules and workspaces
  4. Resource efficiency and less paper waste