ST interactive graphics unpack issue of online packaging waste

The interactive graphics on The Straits Times website aim to answer questions such as whether retailers can work towards using more sustainable packaging.
The interactive graphics on The Straits Times website aim to answer questions such as whether retailers can work towards using more sustainable packaging. ST PHOTO

It is clear that Singaporeans love the thrill of online shopping, with online retailers raking in more than $201 million here in January.

As the figure is set to soar in the coming years, online retailers and consumers are starting to wonder: Can all that shopping, in particular the excessive packaging waste that comes with it, be bad for the planet?

To mark Earth Day today, The Straits Times has launched interactive graphics to look into the problem of e-commerce packaging waste.

The project aims to answer these questions: Just how much "air" is delivered with the products you order online? Are mostly empty parcels necessary? And can retailers work towards using more sustainable packaging?

 

In South-east Asia, e-commerce was worth $31.5 billion last year. Already, online retail giant Amazon has pledged to improve processes to make half of its shipping carbon-neutral by 2030. Small online retailers like Brooklyn's Package Free Shop are also offering green packaging.

The interactive project comes as Singapore marks 2019 as its Year Towards Zero Waste. The zero-waste drive, which follows last year's Year of Climate Action, hopes to raise awareness of the need to treasure precious environmental resources. It includes initiatives such as the #RecycleRight movement to get Singaporeans to recycle correctly.

Earth Day will mark its 50th anniversary next year.


Correction note: An earlier version of the story said that Earth Day would be marking its 50th anniversary this year. The anniversary is next year. This has been corrected.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2019, with the headline 'ST interactive graphics unpack issue of online packaging waste'. Print Edition | Subscribe