Shopping locally is the best. Its a better shopping experience, it keeps more money in the local community, and it may reduce waste. There’s not a lot of published science on the enviromental impact of ecommerce, in fact, there seems to be some evidence that it creates energy efficiencies, but from the view out my kitchen window, ecommerce is pretty trashy.
For example, here’s the waste generated from a twin bed that I recently bought online for my son Jack. Its 2x bigger than a weeks worth of other trash (not pictured) and its almost entirely unrecyclable. Like most cities/towns, my city doesn’t recycle styrofoam and the cardboard is too large to fit the trucks. I recycle like a eco-warrior, but my inner Al Gore is too low to muster the motivation to break the plywood-like cardboard down to city requirements. So, I just put it out on the curb and wish for the best.
Now, if I had bought the bed from a local furniture store, it would have likely arrived at my house assembled with less waste, and any waste created would be taken back to the warehouse to be processed.
So, keep shopping locally. Your enviroment and local sanitation workers will thank you.