E-commerce brought convenience to millions of shoppers, but a worrisome side-effect is that it contributes to mounting packaging trash.
In 2016 couriers delivered a total of 31.4 billion parcels and used a total of 3.2 billion woven bags, 6.8 billion plastic bags, 3.7 billion packing boxes and 330 million rolls of adhesive tape. Two years later, couriers were delivering a whopping 50.7 billion parcels, with proportionally more packaging material.
With environmental issues becoming a more daunting concern, e-commerce giants are trying to address these issues. JD.com, for example, is offering residents in 7 Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai an option to choose reusable boxes for the goods they order.
These “green” boxes can be reused about 20 times in one life span and can even be recycled for a second life, JD.com told KrAsia in a written statement.
It added that more than 40,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKU meaning goods available), including honey, tissue paper, smartphones and watches, can be delivered in these boxes now — but it’s not saying what percentage of its entire SKUs this represents. (The e-commerce giant did not disclose its SKU in its latest financial statement. But before the company went public, it disclosed that there were 402 million SKU on its platform in, 2014.)
JD.com started to promote the use of recyclable packaging materials under the Green Stream Initiative since 2017 and planned to roll out this service in 20 cities by the end of last year, according to its official website.
It expected the initiative can save RMB 32.5 million (USD 4.8 million) per year if 10% of orders use the new packaging.
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