Grand Rapids, Mich., may be the office furniture capitol of the country, but that doesn't mean ordering from there makes the best sense for a California company. If you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint, one of the easiest ways to do this is to think locally. Just trucking large shipments across the country can add a lot to CO2 emissions.
According to the 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report, the transportation end-use sector is one of the top five for fuel consumption. In 2011 alone, transportation was responsible for 33 percent of fossil fuel combustion-related CO2 emissions. While transportation Greenhouse Gas emissions are set to decrease over the next 14 years, they are still high above those from the Industrial Processes, Agricultural, Forestry and Waste industries.
Let's look at the accumulated effects of long-distance furniture shipping. A 2013 Trucking Info article stated that the average 18-wheeler truck gets approximately 5.9 miles to the gallon. If the average trip from Grand Rapids to San Francisco is 2,289 miles, then it would cost around 388 gallons of fuel.
Then, there are the emissions themselves. For every gallon of diesel fuel burned, a truck produces about 22.4 pounds of CO2, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association. Therefore, a single trip between the two cities would pump approximately 8,691.2 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.
That figure doesn't even include the previous emissions generated from manufacturing: before shipping, there's a series of actions, including transporting raw materials, that could add to the overall count.
Businesses in the San Francisco region can avoid much of this waste simply by looking for Northern California used office furniture providers. That way, they cut out not just the environmental cost of shipping, but the emissions that come from producing new furniture as well.