the growth in ecommerce is causing a new waste headache
Estimates suggest that the European ecommerce market will be worth $430M by 20211 and this rapid growth is changing the retail landscape as we know it. Product has traditionally been transported in secondary packaging from source to distribution hubs before being transported onto stores where it would be unpacked for display on-shelf. The nature of this model allowed for secondary packaging to be collected in bulk at store to be recycled or repurposed. The ecommerce model sees products travelling all the way to the end-user in their protective secondary packaging, making it a good deal more difficult to manage and collect for recycling.
Millions of individual pieces of packaging spread across countless countries is a recycling nightmare. This leaves the responsibility to recycle resting squarely with the consumer and even if they are able and willing, the current set-up for community recycling is probably inadequate to meet the growth in volume
photo courtesy of bt.com
How can manufacturers and retailers step up to the challenge of dealing with their packaging's end of life management? How can they hope to tackle a problem that is growing day by day? Many are already trying to address the issue – e.g. Amazon with their right-sized packaging initiative 'box on demand' which is looking to reduce the volume of packaging to what is absolutely necessary. Others are investing in sustainable bio-based packaging solutions or supply chain optimization but who is looking at the problems of collecting in-home packaging waste or investing in helping consumers recycle?