Creating awareness on proper disposal of plastic packaging

Deccan Chronicle.

Lifestyle, Environment

New initiative to collect plastic packaging from customers’ doorstep.

Wishmasters collect back plastic packaging from consumers as part of Flipkart's consumer outreach initiative to responsibly dispose plastic packaging. (Photo: File)

Bengaluru: Flipkart, e-commerce marketplace, announced the rollout of a new initiative that focuses on creating awareness among consumers on the proper disposal of plastic packaging and make them active participants in its sustainability agenda. As part of this initiative, Flipkart is conducting a pilot project to collect plastic packaging back from consumers at select hubs across Mumbai, Bengaluru, Dehradun, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Ahmedabad.

The pilot aims at ensuring existing plastic packaging in the system is recycled and reused. Under the program, Flipkart will send out intimation to consumers asking them to voluntarily hand over plastic packaging to Flipkart wishmasters for its proper disposal, at the time of product delivery. The collected packets will then be sent to registered vendors to ensure it is disposed of responsibly to avoid ending up in landfills. Wishmasters have also been provided proper training in explaining the various facets of this initiative to consumers to ensure high participation. This industry-first initiative aims at inspiring people to actively contribute towards the proper disposal of plastic packaging and become Green Ambassadors.

This program is in continuation of Flipkart’s sustainability agenda under which it has already reduced the utilization of single-use plastic by 33 per cent and aims to move towards 100 per cent recycled plastic consumption in its supply chain by March 2021. Towards this goal, Flipkart has filed for EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and is targeting 30 per cent collection back in the first year. The company is also committed to maximizing recycled content in single-use plastic to boost the recycling ecosystem and reduce virgin plastic consumption.

Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group, said, “Flipkart is a committed corporate citizen who is mindful of its role towards environmental sustainability. We have taken bold steps towards reducing single-use plastic in the system by replacing it with various eco-friendly alternatives and are constantly innovating with our approaches. The recently initiated pilot program ensures that our biggest stakeholder - consumers, is one of the key enablers of this initiative and will help drive awareness. We are proud to be the first-ever e-commerce marketplace to channelise plastic packaging back into the system through the door-to-door collection with the help of our wishmasters. We believe a collective approach of all stakeholders would help us in achieving the dream of a Swachh and Samridha Bharat, and the country's vision to phase out single-use plastic.”

Flipkart is working on various initiatives, including the introduction of eco-friendly paper shreds, replacing poly pouches with recycled paper bags, replacing bubble wraps and airbags with carton waste shredded material, and 2-ply roll, to name a few as part of its long-term sustainability initiatives.

Earlier this year, the company announced the introduction of electric vehicles in its last-mile delivery network with the aim to replace nearly 40 per cent of its existing last-mile fleet of delivery vans with EVs by March 2020. By leveraging technology in its workflow at fulfilment centres, Flipkart optimises the type and volume of packaging to be used, instead of leaving it to the human decision and was also recently certified ISO 14001 for its strategic facilities, a crucial benchmark for the preparedness to prevent environmental pollution in the workplace.