E-commerce giant Amazon India on Wednesday said it aims to eliminate single-use plastic from its packaging by June 2020 as part of its sustainability efforts in the country.
The move comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to shun single-use plastic to protect the environment.
Amazon, which is locked in an intense battle for market leadership against Walmart-owned Flipkart, said less than seven per cent of the packaging in Amazon fulfilment centres (FCs or warehouses) now is single-use plastic in nature.
“Amazon India is committed to a sustainable supply chain that leverages technology to build solutions that optimise the use of packaging material, reduce waste and create eco-friendly packaging," Amazon India Vice President, Customer Fulfillment, Akhil Saxena said.
He added that Amazon India will introduce ‘paper cushions’ that will replace plastic dunnage like air pillows and bubble wraps across its FCs in India.
This environment-friendly and fully-recyclable packaging solution has already been launched in select warehouses and will be extended across all Amazon FCs in the country by the year-end, he said.
Rival Flipkart had last week said it has reduced its usage of single-use plastic by 25 per cent across its packaging value chain and, as it aims to move towards 100 per cent recycled plastic consumption in its supply chain by March 2021.
Saxena said the company is also committed to collecting plastic, equivalent to all of the plastic packaging material used by the Amazon Fulfilment network in the country, from September 2019.
This is an extension of the initiative which has been underway in Maharashtra for about a year.
During his monthly radio address Mann ki Baat, PM Modi had urged people to observe the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year as a day to make India plastic-free and exhorted municipalities, NGOs and the corporate sector to come up with ways for safe disposal of accumulated plastic waste before Diwali.
Saxena explained that Amazon India is aggressively developing plastic-free alternatives for packaging mailers, bubble bags, stretch wrap and tape used in the packaging which will help the company eliminate all forms of plastic used in its packaging.
"We will also help educate our sellers who directly fulfil customer orders to join us in this directional change in packaging," he added.