This seems reasonable to me. Is he leaving out anything obvious, on either side?
But consider my case for big box stores as a greener choice:
- Shop less frequently: Because of the jumbo-sized products, shopping at big box stores lets you shop less often, which means less gas wasted and pollution generated. Obviously you need to be smart about storing quantities of perishable items to avoid waste.
- Shop at fewer stores: Big box stores offer one-stop-shopping for a wide range of products, everything from groceries to clothing to books to furniture, thereby further reducing shopping road trips.
- Use less packaging: One reason why big box stores can sell products for less is the cost savings on packaging (i.e., one large container vs. multiple smaller containers). Packaging can easily add 10 percent or more to the cost of a product, and the manufacturing and disposal of all that packaging material creates a Costco-sized carbon footprint.
- Use neither paper nor plastic: Last but certainly not least, big box stores are just about the only stores of any kind that don't ask that cliché question at the checkout counter: "Paper or plastic?" At big box stores, you typically load up your own purchases in cardboard shipping boxes that in other stores get thrown in the dumpster.