(Yicai Global) June 12 -- Three of China's biggest online retailers have started a green initiative to reduce the use of environmentally damaging packaging materials in the world's largest online shopping market.
JD.Com, Suning.Com, Vipshop Holdings and other companies yesterday inaugurated the Green Development Alliance of Guangdong Express Packaging Industry in Guangzhou, the capital of China's southern Guangdong province, China News Network reported.
Couriers have become one of the biggest producers of waste packaging material as e-commerce booms, imposing a new burden on an already challenged environment. China's express delivery firms shipped 40 billion parcels last year, with the recycling rate of cardboard and plastics at less than 10 percent. Standard packaging materials can take decades and even hundreds of years to degrade.
The Chinese year is punctuated with a slew of online shopping campaigns that result in mountains of discarded packaging. Last year, one of the biggest discount sales bonanzas -- Singles' Day on Nov. 11 -- generated 331 million parcels alone and left behind an estimated 160,000 tons of waste.
JD.Com launched a joint venture with a number of brands last year committed to using less tape, more recycled cartons and biodegradable materials, as well as new energy logistics. The Beijing-based company vowed to reduce the use of disposable containers by 10 billion to achieve 80 percent coverage of recyclable packaging materials by 2020.
The new green packaging alliance was kick-started at an event to launch Guangdong's energy conservation awareness month.
The province's energy use fell 3.74 percent per residential unit last year, hitting its annual target cap, Deputy Governor Chen Liangxian said, adding that indicators for energy saving and usage cuts proved that the region was at the country's forefront in terms of environmental responsibility.
Editor: Emmi Laine