(Yicai Global) Aug. 22 -- Some 32 Chinese courier companies are to substitute 50 percent of their packaging materials and all fillers with degradable green materials by 2020.
China's express delivery companies are becoming the biggest producers of packaging material waste as e-commerce booms, imposing a new burden on an already challenged environment.
Last year, 20.67 billion parcels were delivered in China, according to the country's State Post Bureau. Based on an average single package weight of 200 grams, and 0.1 square meters of tape per package on average, the total weight of the packages would have amounted to more than 4 million tons. This is equivalent to 200,000 football fields of packaging, and 2 billion square meters of tape.
This move is set to promote a move towards more eco-friendly packaging. Participating companies include Cainiao Network Technology Co., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s logistics arm, Shanghai STO Express Co., Shanghai YTO Express (Logistics) Co., ZTO Express Holdings Co. and China Post Group Co.
Recycled packaging is more expensive than new packaging. "To succeed in creating green and environmentally friendly packaging is not a technical problem but an economic one," said Mr. Chang Jiwen, deputy director of the Research Institute for Energy and Environmental Research under the Development Research Center of the State Council.
Mr. Chang stressed the importance of clearly defining green standards for packages in the express delivery industry, and standards for the quantity of non-degradable materials that may be used in packaging.
Governments in many countries have issued laws and regulations on excessive packaging. The State Post Bureau of China is also said to have drafted a green development scheme for the industry, which is currently under review.