Walmart-owned e-commerce firm Flipkart on Thursday announced the roll-out 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. Flipkart will send out an intimation to consumers asking them to voluntarily hand over plastic packaging to Flipkart delivery executives (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. The delivery executives have also been provided proper training in explaining the various facets of this initiative to consumers to ensure high participation.
“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,” said Rajneesh Kumar, chief corporate affairs officer, Flipkart Group. “We are proud to be the first-ever e-commerce marketplace to channelize plastic packaging back into the system through a door-to-door collection with the help of our wishmasters. We believe a collective approach of all stakeholders would help us in achieving... the country's vision to phase out single-use plastic,” said Kumar.
This programme is in continuation of Flipkart’s sustainability agenda under which it has already reduced the utilization of single-use plastic by 33 per cent. It 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.
Flipkart is working on various initiatives, including the introduction of eco-friendly paper shreds and replacing poly pouches with recycled paper bags. It is also replacing bubble wraps and airbags with carton waste shredded material, and 2-ply roll 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 fulfillment centres, Flipkart optimizes the type and volume of packaging to be used, instead of leaving it to human decision.