Research Outline

Carbon Footprint: Amazon Order


To determine the carbon footprint to deliver an Amazon food order that was recently placed.

Early Findings

Results of Initial Research

  • In the initial hour of research, we first looked for calculators that would make the calculations easier, but none encompassed the total greenhouse emissions. At that point research pivoted to locate the emissions of different aspects of the journey from farm to home. The average delivery emissions were located, then research focused on the grocery list. The emissions were located for bread, beef, and lamb. Time did not allow to finish the calculations for the rest of the list.


  • Amazon stated that their "scientists developed a model to compare the carbon intensity of ordering Whole Foods Market groceries online versus driving to your nearest Whole Foods Market store. The study found that, averaged across all basket sizes, online grocery deliveries generate 43% lower carbon emissions per item compared to shopping in stores. Smaller basket sizes generate even greater carbon savings.
  • The EPA also studied grocery delivery and came up with multiple scenarios. If all customers would select that they did not want them immediately then it would reduce the carbon footprint. If the majority of customers pick a delivery time, then this could actually increase the carbon footprint because fewer orders could be grouped together.
  • Transportation and logistics associated with the last mile are a pretty small overall contribution to the total environmental impact of food. The last mile is a phrase used for getting the food from the store to the home.
  • Keeping this in mind, and not knowing the details of the delivery, this research will have to use averages on the actual delivery. In a sustainability study it was discovered that a food delivery would lead to emissions of 181 g CO2 per delivery, on average.

Items Purchased

The next step in figuring out the carbon footprint is to figure out the carbon foot print of each item.

The list may be viewed here.
  • Organic Tortillas, Whole Wheat (6 Tortillas), 10.5 Ounce
  • Ready-to-Heat Mixes, Barley & Lentils, 8.8 Ounce
  • Pepper Rainbow Bag Organic, 3 Count
  • Daves Killer Bread, Bread 21 Whole Grains Thin Sliced Organic, 20.5 Ounce
  • 6 (2.75 lb) of: Organic D'Anjou Pear
  • FAGE TOTAL, 5% Plain Greek Yogurt, 7 oz
  • 1.40 lb of: Beef Loin Top Sirloin Steak Step 1
  • Ready-to-Heat Mixes, 7 Grain & Lentil Blend, 8.8 Ounce
  • Cheese Shreds, Mexican Blend, 8 Ounce
  • Cream Cheese Spread, 8 Ounce
  • Roberta's Frozen Pizzas, Pizza Margherita, 9.8 Ounce
  • 1.25 lb of: 365 by WFM Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Nature's Rancher, Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef 85% Lean 15% Fat, 1 lb
  • Nature’s Rancher, All Natural 100% Grass Fed Ground Lamb, 1 lb
  • In an effort to make the list more general, and therefore easier to locate figures, it was amended to the following:

Amended List

Amounts were converted from kilograms to pounds. There are .45 kg in a pound.
  • Tortillas 10.5 Ounce- 1 package
  • 2 Ready-to-Heat Grains/Rice -8.8 Ounce
  • 3 Peppers
  • Bread- 1 loaf/ 20.5 Ounce- 1,244 g CO2
  • 6 Pears- 2.75 lb.
  • Yogurt- 7 oz
  • 1.40 lb. of: Beef Loin Top Sirloin Steak- 60 kgCO2 per kg. (.45 *60)= 27 kgCO2 per pound of beef. Therefore, 1.4 pounds would be 37.8 kgCO2.
  • Shredded Cheese- 8 Ounce
  • Cream Cheese Spread, 8 Ounce
  • 2 Frozen Pizzas
  • Chicken Breast- 1.25 lb.
  • Ground Beef- 1 lb.
  • Ground Lamb, 1 lb.- 24 kgCO2 per kg. (.45 *24)= 10.8 kgCO2 per pound of lamb.