Amazon.com’s buy-it-today, receive-it-tomorrow shipping is a blessing for impatient Net shoppers, but the company may begin offering slower shipping options in the future. What, slower shipping you say? Yes, customers may one day pay for the privilege of having to wait longer to receive their packages. However, this slower shipping may leave you with a clear conscience, as it is comes with an eco-friendly twist.

Eric Engleman with TechFlash writes about a new patent that has been granted to Amazon.com for “environmentally conscious electronic transactions.” The options include eco-friendly shipping, eco-friendly packaging or both. Additionally, customers may be able to calculate the carbon footprint of the shipping and instantly purchase carbon offsets.

Several different actions taken by the shipping company could lead to the eco-friendlier designation including the use of hybrid vehicles or avoiding routes through congested cities.

The complete patent details are available on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, but Engleman highlights a few key features in his article.

"The patent also describes how people could choose to reduce the amount of packaging in their order, or combine multiple orders in one box. They might also select packaging materials made from specially designated tree farms (as opposed to natural forests) or manufactured in a solar or hydroelectric power facilities, according to the patent."

I’m intrigued by the patent and what it may mean for shipping. I think Amazon is on to something here, and I’m curious to see how it evolves from patent to future implementation.

If you had the option of a more eco-friendly shipping method, even if it meant a longer transit time, would you choose that option?

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