By giving incentives to customers for returning packaging materials after delivery, online platforms for consumer goods can contribute to the ongoing debate around the environment.`
Modi government’s fight for a better environment may have a new champion in e-commerce companies. By giving incentives to customers for returning packaging materials after delivery, online platforms for consumer goods can contribute to the ongoing debate around the environment, a recent survey said. About 90% of the online buyers want to do their bit towards environment and are ready to give packaging materials back to if they are given small incentives like Rs 50 cashback by online platforms, LocalCircles said in its recent survey. Majority of the consumers also said that steps should be taken to ensure that the huge amount of e-commerce packaging generated is recycled properly.
There has been a rising consensus among consumers that “packaging of delivered products to be taken back by the company at delivery in exchange for cashback/reward points or incentive for future purchases,” according to the survey. E-commerce companies could also look into provisions for collecting the empty packages and getting them delivered to the merchandise pick up spots. Alternatively, there could also be a scheduled bulk packaging return of boxes or direct customer drop-off points.
Modi government recently called for reduced usage of (SUPs) and it is widely expected that a nation-wide ban against SUPs is in the offing soon. The same also becomes relevant as it will be the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year.
Where does e-commerce waste end up now?
The packaging material, which includes the outside plastic packaging, bubble wraps, cardboard boxes etc, ends up in the trash even when it is perfectly reusable. About half of those surveyed said that they give the materials away or dispose of them in trash, LocalCircles said. About 40% also said that they sell it in scrap while only 2% said that they keep collecting the material.
India is one of the burgeoning e-commerce countries and is expected to grow rapidly in the coming year as well. While many foreign behemoths have found a strong turf in the country, many domestic players are also emerging, making a strong dent in the market. Currently, the market is dominated by Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, Walmart owned-Flipkart.