Shopping local? It’s not only a challenge to do so in rural areas but also in cities. In the German city of Wiesbaden, a new concept is being put forward: an e-bike delivery service with a social mission.
The growing online shopping trend has a flip side: steadily growing piles of rubbish. Items are also sent back and forth with about every tenth order from roughly 800,000 packages sent back to the retailer daily in Germany. This equates to about 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Then there is, of course, all the packaging waste that comes with it. Simultaneously, small shops and city coffers suffer through the disappearance of traditional retailing. In 2013 alone, the city of Wiesbaden missed out on 18 million EUR through the loss of the 10 per cent business tax that the city’s residents paid on mail and delivery services.
Kiezkaufhaus (translated: neighbourhood shopping centre) is offering an alternative, combining a delivery service with the offerings of local businesses. The products are delivered by e-bike the same day they are ordered. In this way, the young start up cuts down on transport emissions, supports the local economy and manages to pack in a social outcome as well: it’s not just young cyclists zipping around for Kiefkaufhaus – they also employ retirees to make the deliveries, too. Some of the products on offer include bread, jams, fruit and vegetables as well as design items, toys, books and theatre tickets.
The Kiezkaufhaus is a convenient alternative for residents who aren’t able to make it to their favourite baker or theatre by foot or who are in urgent need of a present. The service means shopping is not only convenient, but also avoids fumes, noise and congestion in the city. We can only hope that the example sticks; it’s estimated that, in Europe, up to 51 percent of deliveries could be made via bike (PDF).
The company won the German Bicycle Prize. Check out their website (in German) for more information.
Translate from this article by Marius that was originally published on our German-language platform.