Today, e-commerce has grown into a big industry and is generating huge revenues from online retailing. It requires the integration of transportation, information and communication technologies for the success of e-commerce. But e-commerce cannot be now seen as clean way of doing business as it can have some harmful impacts on environment. The rapid growth of the e-commerce is the basis of different, positive as well as negative impacts on environment.
When we ever ordered a product online and have experienced the following. When we unpacked the box, a good size of packaging waste remained. With the rise of e-commerce, the growing waste generated from product packaging, delivery box and packing material presents a real and growing negative impacts on environment.
As the festival season approaches, more and more purchases are happening online. Online purchases are projected to grow 20% this year.
Aside from the plastic and cardboard wrapping the products come in, there are the boxes, the labeling and the paper wrapping or foam packing meant to protect what is nestled inside.
Just as digital security was an afterthought for the digital companies during the birth of the consumer internet, and is currently for the internet of things (and threats), e-commerce-generated waste and the environmental impact also seems to be an afterthought behind beta-testing and scaling as fast as possible.
Reduce, reuse , recycle, recovery and Land fill is a common process for addressing sustainability. E-commerce companies must address this risk sooner rather than later.
Companies of course have a responsibility to minimize the waste they generate to deliver sales. Companies can also use this to create an advantage by improving the user's experience after receiving the product
Digital trust works both ways. Consumers also have a responsibility to let companies know they will not accept unnecessary packaging and delivery waste. Either by informing companies when they do receive non-sustainable packaging and/or letting the company know that is the reason they have stopped supporting them with their business.
Finnish company Repack developed reusable packaging e-commerce. Its creators hope it will reduce waste, improve the customer experience, and bring repeat business to web stores. Meanwhile, RePack, a Finland-based startup launched in 2011, creates reusable packaging options out of recycled materials. Online shoppers pay a small deposit for the RePack shipping option, and get reimbursed after the bag or box finds its way back to the company via any post office in Europe.
So far, the scheme seems to be working, with up to a 95% return rate. A few Finnish clothing companies are using the bags, and talks are underway with companies in Germany.
It’s both a sustainable delivery alternative and a way to save money on your next purchase.
Web stores using RePack have reported increased customer satisfaction and, thanks to the vouchers sent on the return of the RePack, increased return sales of up to 30 per cent. RePack also gives their environmental credentials a big boost.
As online shopping grows, it’s clear more change – and innovation – is coming.
“There’s a big push around what an online package needs to look like,” Carpenter said. After all, much of today’s packaging is designed around shelf appeal, or the ability to compete visually with similar products.
“Does it need to look as glamorous when it comes to your home instead of being sold in a store?” Carpenter asked. “It needs to protect the product, but does it need to be as fancy?”