Vishrut shares how to solve Wasteful Packaging issue to Save Environment


I have been troubled for sometime about the Packaging Waste by E-commerce sites and finally wrote about it here, it feels so good to get such a positive response from people for this. It means I am not alone and there are many who are also concerned about the impending dangers of this senseless waste generation.

Vishrut Singh is one such fellow believer who came forward to discuss idea’s how we can solve this problem in a more objective way. He is an IT professional who cares for environment and social responsibilities, loves to cook, talk and travel. Sharing his thoughts with you all, please add on to them so we can collectively get action points.

Here’s what Vishrut has to say:

“As they say charity begins at home, I also did the same. I did a quick survey around it in my apartment yesterday with below questions. I got interesting results, have listed them below.”

1. What kind of packaging you get most of the time when you buy things Online.

  1. Carton
  2. Plastic packaging

Majority of people in my apartment get paper cartons. It can be based on the  items they purchase  as plastic packaging comes more for smaller items, items  which are supposed to be kept hidden etc. Paper cartons are used frequently for large items to mid size items.

2. What do you do with packaging after you get your stuff.

Around 50% of them either give it to housekeeping for free, 25% use it in  house, 15% sell it local scrap dealer, 10% just dump it.

3. Would you prefer to reuse the same carton to receive the stuff you buy Online OR would you prefer frequently recycled cartons to receive stuff you buy Online.

Majority of them are in favor of REUSE as long as the item inside carton is safe  and carton quality is maintainable. Some said they will prefer RECYCLE if stuff  is perishable.

4. Would you be happy to give back your carton / packaging for free if it is picked from your door / area OR you are asked to visit a nearby store where you can give your packaging stuff for free.

Majority of them(80%) told they are very happy if it is picked up from door  and this will be a good practice to push reuse of packaging. For 2nd option –  visiting a place to drop packaging is also OK as long as its not a COST to  them. However there were some people who were keen to get a price / coupon  considering that they might have been charged for the packaging.

5. Will you still prefer to sell it to local scrap dealer?

Most of them (95%) are OK to give it for free if this can be reused or recycled  through packaging company rather than selling to local scrap dealer.

So I would suggest some solutions with there challenges:

Suggestion 1: Return the carton as soon as you receive it from delivery guy.

Challenge 1: Delivery guy needs to wait till you open. Delivery guys work for tight timeline. Sometime we pay extra for quicker delivery so if this process takes time, further deliveries will be delayed.

Solution: With little effort, this time can be reduced provided the packaging is not complex. If same person visits you for delivery, it will be more helpful. Another  idea is to be able to choose/see type of packaging when you place order so  approximate effort to return packaging is available in advance.

Challenge 2: Delivery guy may not be associated with Online retailer. Amazon / Flipkart have there own delivery team but many other players in  online shopping have tie up with courier companies for smooth delivery. There primary job is just to deliver stuff on time.

Solution: To address above challenge, two options are possible.

1 – For apartments societies let apartment associations/housekeeping  collect all the cartons on daily basis. After that,  Online retailers can collect it weekly  from these places for reuse/recycle. So online agency / retailer forms a tie up with delivery team, this can work out. It  will help packaging company as well as the retailer. 

2 Online retailer or packaging company can have a tie up with local shops in each area where people can go and give there cartons for free.  Later these cartons can be picked up on routine basis. This will fit more for non apartment / gated communities. Online retailer can also give some coupon or discount to promote this practice. Ideas are welcome to address this area.

Now the bigger question is why you should be bothered about this?

“We already know about heaps of garbage collected in many areas in Bangalore and other citiies. When we don’t dispose the waste properly, at some point people simply burn it which creates pollution and affects all of us. Given the rate at which Online shopping is growing, soon we will have a challenge to deal with waste generated from  packaging which could be avoided by following some simple practices. So what are you thinking off. Give it a thought, discuss it among your  family, friends and share your thoughts. Remember together we can make a  difference to save environment which is good for us and our future generations…”

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