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Old 2nd July 2020, 19:47   #1
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Default On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

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Amazon India today announced that it has achieved a significant milestone in its efforts towards sustainability by eliminating all single-use plastic in packaging originating from its 50+ fulfilment centers in India. In September 2019 the company had pledged to meet this goal in an accelerated timeframe by June 2020, in an effort to build an environmentally sustainable supply chain.

Amazon India has taken several steps to achieve complete elimination of single-use plastic in its own fulfilment network. The first milestone towards this goal was achieved in December 2019 when the company replaced plastic packaging material, such as bubble wraps and air pillows, with ‘paper cushion’ in its packaging. The company then introduced 100% plastic-free and biodegradable paper tape earlier this year, which is used to seal and secure customer shipments. Additionally, the company has replaced thin cling films for customer deliveries among other material with packaging options that are not single-use plastic in nature. All other plastic packaging material originating from the Amazon Fulfilment Centers is 100% recyclable through available collection, segregation and recycling channels. Amazon India continues to educate sellers, who directly fulfil customer orders, to join in this directional change in packaging.


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Visit Amazon’s sustainability website for information and sustainability metrics that share the progress the company is making towards reaching The Climate Pledge. Earlier in June 2020, Verizon, Infosys, and Reckitt Benckiser (RB) signed The Climate Pledge, to join Amazon in meeting the Paris Agreement 10 years early to address the climate crisis right away. The goals, commitments, investments, and programs build on Amazon’s long-term commitment to sustainability through existing innovative programs, including Shipment Zero – Amazon’s vision to make all shipments net zero carbon, with 50% net zero carbon by 2030; sustainable packaging initiatives like Frustration-Free Packaging and Ship in Own Container, which have reduced packaging waste by 25% since 2015; renewable energy programs; investments in the circular economy with the Closed Loop Fund; and numerous other initiatives happening every day and led by teams across Amazon.
Full Press Release
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Old 2nd July 2020, 23:26   #2
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Default re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

This is a great step towards a more sustainable future but India's recycling infrastructure is almost none existent.. So I don't know how much this will actually effect waste generation
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Old 3rd July 2020, 04:37   #3
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Default re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

Very good news. This should prevent tons of plastic that usually ends up in landfills. The bubble-wrap envelopes are the worst because paper glued to plastic is totally un-recyclable.

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Originally Posted by Nikhildrao View Post
This is a great step towards a more sustainable future but India's recycling infrastructure is almost none existent.. So I don't know how much this will actually effect waste generation
The good thing with cardboard is that even if it ends up not being recycled, it does decompose eventually and naturally. Unlike plastic which ends up littering, being an eye-sore, and remainng in that state for hundreds to thousands of years.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 09:12   #4
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Default re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

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Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Sorry, not true. Packages still come in layers of plastics as of yesterday. Especially the thin/single use plastics that they have mentioned in the above press release.

I'm sure somewhere in the follow up press releases they would have mentioned caveats :
- Being rolled out over X months / years across all major cities
- does not apply to 3rd party sellers
- dependency on sellers using their warehouses/fulfillment centers to commit to agreed sustainability terms, etc.
- cities garbage collection to ensure recycling aspects

--------

Here's a suggestion - let's specify threads like these as 'Press Releases' or something as otherwise the view goes very counterwise to the actual truth on the ground. Especially when the thread heading is such bold statements.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 3rd July 2020 at 09:22.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 09:22   #5
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Default re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

Another news, Apple is not shipping phones with chargers anymore.



This may actually start a new trend where you just buy the phone and use your old cables. In case of fast chargers, you can just get the brick without the cable.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 10:28   #6
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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Sorry, not true. Packages still come in layers of plastics as of yesterday. Especially the thin/single use plastics that they have mentioned in the above press release.
Yes, you have a point. And I think the below reason is the most likely case. Sellers shipping orders themselves (not fulfilled by Amazon) may not be under this.
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- does not apply to 3rd party sellers
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Old 3rd July 2020, 12:04   #7
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

Mod Note: Thread title changed to make this a general discussion on plastics & the environment (not just Amazon).
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Old 3rd July 2020, 12:20   #8
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

Good that this thread has gone to general discussions instead of being limited to Amazon only. IMO , company , community , individual initiatives make no difference to the larger picture. The problem has to be tackled at source. The only way to stop single use plastic is to ban completely the manufacture , import , wholesale , retail of basic raw material used in plastic bags/ plastic . Don't leave anything to the choice of public.

In case , the new packaging is costlier without plastics then buyers can also be encouraged by companies like Amazon to return back the basic packing for a refundable fee so that they can be reused. After all no one keeps the package after you have "unboxed" the product.
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Old 4th July 2020, 10:10   #9
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

I have pleasantly noted the change. I also intend to change the ordering pattern. Ordering multiple items at a go helps in eliminated multiple boxes (if sent from common fulfillment center) and needs less visits from delivery person. I have been keeping at least two cloth bags in car and refuse to plastic bags at shops.

The ideal state would be something like this shown in this video. If I can go to a shop and refill - nothing like it to cut down waste. I am mindful of corona situation too.

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Old 5th July 2020, 07:36   #10
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

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Originally Posted by Thilak29 View Post
The ideal state would be something like this shown in this video. If I can go to a shop and refill - nothing like it to cut down waste. I am mindful of corona situation too.
It's a pitiful irony that things used to be this 2 decades ago. I remember my childhood visits to local kirana shops where every grain would be in different sacks/ huge aluminum boxes where the ordering amounts would be scooped up and packaged in newspaper/waste-paper packings. Many times, pages from used books would be torn off and made into 1/2 to 2 kg packages, and so on. 'Khula saman' was the norm.

Liquids like cooking oil, etc would be in 5 / 10-liter aluminum tins or we'd carry our own bottles for him to fill.

For larger # of consignments, one would give the list to the shopowner (or call him and give him the list), and later a delivery boy would bring all the stuff in a huge bag with a written down list to go over the items one by one. But again they would be packaged in paper, not plastic.

Commercialization has made us used to the current situation. But these local kirana shops are still around; atleast some of the items (grains, etc.) are still stored and sold in the same manner. Let's use that as much as possible.

***To all***
Ignore the BigBasket or other online grocery delivery app for now. Walk out to the neighboring kirana shop and try to reduce the plastic wastage as much as possible!
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Old 5th July 2020, 09:35   #11
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

Thanks for editing the topic, the content wasn't much when it was just about Amazon.

Single use plastics are increasingly discouraged. Some states in our country have already banned single use plastics. Last year, GOI was talking about blanket ban. I guess, this could be one of the drivers for Amazon to adopt because regulation is catching up anyway, better be prepared.

Single use plastics are truly global. There have no borders, can get airborne or carried by underwater currents across continents.

I work for one of a leading petrochemical company that manufactuers plastics. Being in R&D department, let me tell you, there is a paradigm shift in technology development. The focus on sustainability has increased multifold. We are gearing up for "Circular economy", wherein you design plastics that are fully recyclable and you design your whole business around recycled raw materials.

The general outline looks like this,
1. Mechanical recycle: simply re-melt used plastics and reformulate, you may lose some quality specifications but this would work for a few cycles.
2. Chemical recycle: convert used plastics into chemicals/ raw materials and make virgin plastic. This would retain factory quality, but is expensive.
3. Make basic chemicals, for example we can pyrolise used plastics and use them as feedstock for oil-crackers which in turn feeds plastics industry.
4. Bio sourced plastics
5. Bio degradable plastics

The subject is vast, very difficult to bring it in a single post. Anyhow, the goodnews is, things are marching in right direction.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 5th July 2020 at 10:03.
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Old 5th July 2020, 09:59   #12
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

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Originally Posted by 2000rpm View Post
Another news, Apple is not shipping phones with chargers anymore.

This may actually start a new trend where you just buy the phone and use your old cables. In case of fast chargers, you can just get the brick without the cable.
This has nothing to do with saving the environment. Rather it has everything to do with padding their profits. Removing the charger which barely costs 5$ has a huge impact on the number of units that can be packed in a carton and reduces logistics costs by a significant margin.

Then there is a question of liability - Now that you use a 3rd party charger, if the battery gets damaged, apple can wash its hands off saying charging done by a charger that supplied excess current. Either way, the consumer loses.

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
***To all***
Ignore the BigBasket or other online grocery delivery app for now. Walk out to the neighboring kirana shop and try to reduce the plastic wastage as much as possible!
Well this would be great advice during normal times but right now in covid19 times, you are exponentially increasing the chance of infecting yourself and others with this disease. I'd personally sit tight and order everything at home.

Last edited by reignofchaos : 5th July 2020 at 10:05.
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Old 5th July 2020, 10:03   #13
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

Hi,

The TN government did something like this last year(January 2019). They ordered a complete ban on single-use plastics. The ban was effective for the first 3 months if I'm right. The officials were strict and fines were heavy. But now, it actually disappeared. I see shops selling goods in plastic covers which used cloth bags a year back.

If they can use cloth bags on compulsions(ban), I don't know why they aren't doing the same voluntarily. From my memory, the plastics manufacturing companies suffered a lot and even protested to take back the ban, but they could have turned to cloth and paper bags to save for the future. They are living at our cause! I hope that it will be back again with strict norms.

Thanks!
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Old 5th July 2020, 13:26   #14
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/n...%20the%20ocean.

Plastic waste has been found at over 35,000 feet under the sea in the Marinas Trench the deepest geographic area of the seabed. If plastic is to be found there where is it not to be found. 89% of the plastic littering the ocean floor is the ‘single use plastic’ type…the one’s we use for carrying groceries or those ubiquitous drinking water or aerated drink bottles.

In the 1960s and 70s, in fact till the early ’80s you carried a bag or basket from home to cart your purchases back because there was no choice. Now we simply do not remember to carry a bag along and use the single use plastic bags thoughtfully supplied by the shop keeper. Earlier old newspaper and magazine paper was converted to make gummed paper bags of different sizes and purchased goods could be brought home in those. Other than being environmentally friendly they also spawned a vast cottage industry for under privileged women.

Don’t even get me started on the current trend to order everything from a dessert to a shaving stick via online shopping thus contributing each time to packaging, labelling, fuel burn to deliver it individually, and what not.

Covid19 was not just a pandemic. It was Mother Earth reminding us that we are temporary guests who need to respect the environment. The bottom most photo courtesy www.telegraph.co.uk is the one taken at 35,000+ feet beneath the sea! Let's dwell on that for a moment.
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Old 5th July 2020, 13:47   #15
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Default Re: On environmental sustainability & single use plastics

Not a very long time ago, plastics were touted to be the savior of the environment by replacing cardboard and paper packaging which were essentially derived from tree leaves and wood. Thus plastic was bestowed with the honor of protecting the trees and forests. What has changed now? Is paper/cardboard manufactured synthetically today? Or do they still come from felled trees?
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