Make haste to reduce waste

Harming the environment: An aerial photo showing a flock of birds flying over plastic waste at a collection site in Alue Lim village in Lhokseumawe, Aceh province. — AFP

Hundreds of environmentalists have sent an open letter to leaders of e-commerce and marketplace companies to realise a single-use plastic-free lifestyle amid the increasing frequency of online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic, activists said.

In their 2021 Plastic-Free Parade, they asked online shopping companies to provide consumers with choices to minimise single-use plastic and set environmentally friendly shipping alternatives.

Tiza Mafira, an activist from the Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement, said that this option is one solution to reduce the negative impact of accumulating plastic waste on the environment and so far there have been several e-commerce entities that provide “no plastic” or “packaging returns” options on their checkout page but they are only a few.

“Imagine if all e-commerce companies provided options like this to their consumers, surely the positive impact on the environment would be felt,” Mafira said.

According to research by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) last year, plastic waste from online shopping increased to 96% during the Covid-19 pandemic, in line with the rising transactions on the marketplace to 62% and food delivery service to 47%.

Meanwhile, a Greenpeace Indonesia study in a report titled “Earth without Plastic” concluded that 75% of the total 623 respondents agreed to reduce or even stop the use of single-use plastic for packaging, and only 20% considered single-use plastic packaging harmless.

So far, the obligation to arrange a waste reduction roadmap only applies to producing companies, but not to those selling their products by e-commerce.

As of June 2021, only 23 producers have submitted their waste reduction roadmap plans to the Environment and Forestry Ministry.

The activists also asked e-commerce and marketplace entities to provide training for their delivery service partners on how to package goods in a way to minimise single-use plastic. — Xinhua

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