A brilliant German online startup called Kiezkaufhaus, that offers same-day delivery of products from local stores by senior citizens on cargo bikes, is being trialed in Wiesban, Germany.
Kiezkaufhaus (which translates to “neighborhood department store”), was born when project-leader Nanna Beyer noticed a huge problem with online delivery services: The products had to be delivered by truck, often over hundreds of miles, belching tons of climate-changing carbon dioxide in the process.
“It all started a year ago, when we saw the piles of packages that employees had ordered online and that they had delivered to the agency,” says Nanna Beyer, who led the project for the local design firm Scholz & Volkmer. “It’s all very convenient. But if you look behind that there are some things going wrong.”
A book ordered online might come from hundreds of miles away, for example, even when a publisher happens to be around the corner. “There’s an armada of trucks on the German roads delivering all of that stuff,” Beyer says. “Even more, 800,000 packages are returned—daily. That’s around 400 tons of CO2. Not including the waste of packaging.”
This is such a cool idea to encourage people to support local and small businesses while also helping the environment. If this business model spreads, it could lead to less ordering from online giants like Amazon and Zappos and cause small, local businesses to thrive. It also could bring income, health and purpose to elderly people.