Friday 6 September 2019

E-commerce majors prepare for regulations on single-use plastic

E-commerce majors prepare for regulations on single-use plasticChennai: You may soon be saved from mounting plastic waste accompanying your online purchases as e-commerce players — one of the bigger users of packaging products — respond to PM Modi’s call to stop use of single-use plastics.

Amid speculations that the government may impose a nationwide ban on single-use plastics soon, e-retail giants Amazon India and Flipkart have set targets to stop using single-use plastics in packaging.

Amazon India announced on Wednesday it would stop using single-use plastic in its packaging operations by 2020.

The e-retailer will introduce paper cushions in place of protective plastic wrapping and bubble wraps to balance sustainability with product safety. It would partner with agencies to collect and recycle plastic equivalent to all of packaging material used by them, pilot of which is underway in Maharashtra.

“Today, less than 7% of our packaging material consists of single use plastic and we are working towards eliminating usage of them completely in our buildings in India by June 2020,” Akhil Saxena, VP - customer fulfillment, Amazon India, said. It’s not about pre-empting regulations, but we feel it’s the right time to talk about our sustainability initiatives, Saxena told TOI.

Already live in select fulfilment centers (FC) of Amazon in India, the environment-friendly packaging solutions will be extended across all FCs by the end of the year, Amazon said.

Last week, Flipkart said it has achieved a 25% reduction in single-use plastic as of August, and committed to eliminate single-use plastic in packaging and move towards a 100% recycled plastic consumption by March 2021.

Among other things, Flipkart is replacing bubble wraps and airbags with carton waste shredded material and 2 Ply paper rolls. “Our long-term vision is to eliminate the use of plastic and maximise the use of recycled and renewable materials” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Group CEO, Flipkart, had said . Both companies did not mention the exact investment going into these initiatives.

The packaging industry is perhaps the largest sector using single-use plastic today, Environment Secretary CK Mishra, told TOI.

In a survey by LocalCircles, 92% consumers said they were willing to return packaging materials of their e-commerce deliveries for a small incentive from the provider. Consumers also said such an incentive system will help promote the habit with 89% willing to return packages for a small cashback of Rs 50.

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