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Online shoppers care about shopping-induced waste, so it’s time e-commerce platforms do, too

Online shoppers care about shopping-induced waste, so it’s time e-commerce platforms do, too

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  • Greenpeace Philippines, Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines, and JuanBag are leading a petition for major e-commerce platforms to “reveal, reduce, and redesign” their waste systems
packages with plastic bubble wrap

It’s no surprise at this point that e-commerce has boomed exponentially this pandemic. We’ve all resorted to shopping online at least once (or once a week… don’t look at me like that), owing to a myriad of factors—convenience and the ever-changing community quarantine restrictions foremost among these.

But this constant need to shop safely online is contributing to an already-present environmental problem: plastic waste. 

While there is no public data available yet on how much waste the rise in online sales has produced, we can only surmise that they have a direct correlation.

And although sustainable solutions for waste disposal have popped up, these may seem to be just a drop in the pond unless greater action is taken.

[READ: Don’t throw away online shopping plastic bags. This service collects and recycles them for you]

As such, Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines, along with Greenpeace Philippines, and returnable and reusable packaging provider JuanBag are calling for accountability from large e-commerce platforms. Their petition, signed by 14,000 individuals as of this writing, asks the companies to “reveal data on waste estimates; reduce current waste production by introducing reduction targets; and redesign current systems by exploring reusable and returnable packaging and incentives for both buyers and sellers.”

The petition initiated by Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines calls on major e-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee to “reveal, reduce, redesign.” Screengrab from the Youth Strike 4 Climate petition on Bataris.org.ph

In the online press conference hosted by Greenpeace Philippines today, it was noted that though the e-commerce companies have “publicized efforts to implement more ‘eco-friendly’ practices,” we have yet to see the effects and concrete action points of these pronouncements.

[READ: Here’s what these ‘sustainability’ terms meant before they became greenwashing buzzwords]

It’s important now for companies to take sustainability more seriously, instead of just treating it as a means for positive publicity (read: corporate social responsibility). According to the 2021 Sustainability Leaders survey by GlobeScan, experts now look at how sustainability is incorporated into the core of a company’s business model and strategy as a major factor in considering them as sustainability leaders. 

[READ: Dear companies, recycling is not the answer to plastic pollution and you know it]

Online shopping *is* the new normal. If e-commerce companies claim to be truly committed to operating in a way that’s friendlier to the earth, it’s high time to work hand in hand with consumers and authorities to implement more transparent and more sustainable systems.

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