A new report, released jointly by the environmental group Greenpeace East Asia, the All-China Environment Federation and Break Free From Plastic China, sheds light on the increasing environmental costs incurred from China’s booming express delivery market.
The carbon emissions from delivery packaging services amounted to 13 million tons last year, requiring 710 million trees to neutralize, according to the report. Without more environmentally friendly policies, emissions will more than quadruple by 2025.
With the Chinese Singles Day shopping carnival in full swing, more than 900 tons of delivery packaging materials were used in 2018, compared with 2 tons in 2000, according to the report.
Delivery packaging falls into two major categories – paper and plastic, according to the report. Paper-made boxes account for 44 percent of all delivery packaging by number, and plastic bags make up for 34 percent of the total, with the rest being foam boxes, woven bags and other packaging types.
The report said around 80 percent of cardboard boxes were recycled, with 15 percent mixed with waste, and nearly all the plastic packaging ended up burned or in landfills.
Nearly 1.4 billion yuan ($200 million) was spent to incinerate or bury delivery packing waste in 2018. The figure is expected to more than triple by 2025, assuming no improvement in recycling rates.
The report calls for more encouragement and mandatory policies to spur market players to reduce packaging and increase the rates of recycling and reuse, as well as improved regulations and the building of a green certification system in the industry.
Reference- China Daily, Greenpeace East Asia Report, Break Free From Plastic China website