If there is a clear winner of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is e-commerce. Internet shopping has experienced a dizzying growth worldwide According to the International Monetary Fund It slowed last year, but still leaves much higher levels than would have been expected had we not had the virus.
According to A CaixaBank accountThe percentage of spending on online purchases in Spain increased from 13.8% in May 2019 to 19.8% in May 2020, while One in five purchases in the US It’s online. Worldwide, e-commerce has two names: Amazon and Alibaba, the parent company of Aliexpress.
In 2021, Amazon announced $470,000 million in salesand it is calculated that 7.7 billion packets sent worldwide. If each of these packages was a square box 30 centimeters on each side and stacked on top of each other, The tower will be six times higher than the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
If these figures are literally astronomical, in China they multiply. The country has the highest number of online shoppers and its logistics companies delivered a total of 100 billion packages last year. only Alibaba made 1.3 billion shipments.
Now think of the cardboard boxes you get from Amazon or the plastic bags your Aliexpress purchases come in and multiply. It’s easy to see why The packaging of online purchases has become a problem.
How to reduce the packaging of online purchases
According to Organization Oceana report ocean protection, Amazon’s plastic footprint It increased by almost 18% between 2020 and 2021. In total, the company generated 321 million kilograms of packaging waste over the years, most of it in the form of air bags, the protective packaging used in packaging that ends up in landfills and in the world’s rivers and oceans.
Of course, you have verified that Amazon has been shipping to Spain for several months They are packed in cardboard boxes And paper is used as padding.
The company has A plan to eliminate plastic packaging and make them 100% renewable by 2023. Shipping in Germany is also plastic-free, however, in other countries such as the US, plastic bags are still used in shipping.
It’s still common to find photos and videos of crazy-sized packages online for very small purchases. Pressure to end plastics at Amazon Distribution comes not only from consumers and governments, but also from within the company.
At its annual general meeting in May 2022, 49% of Amazon shareholders voted in favor of a resolution calling on the company to be transparent and address the growing problem of plastic packaging.
For its part, Alibaba announced in 2017 that its shipments would use biodegradable plastic bags, a packaging you’ll surely recognize if you shop on Aliexpress.
But A United Nations Report 2015, Biodegradable plastics do more harm than good. These plastics require temperatures above 50ºC and at least 50% humidity to break down, and even then they take a long time to degrade.
Large distribution companies such as Amazon can develop strategies to reduce the impact of their packaging, but it is not so easy for smaller manufacturers and distributors.
This means that the next time you order online, it will likely be wrapped in plastic. It’s a good practice to ask yourself if you really need it before you hit the buy button.
Source: El Diario