China’s online shopping addiction is killing its green packaging drive

Online shopping has become such a key driver of China’s domestic economy, especially during the pandemic, that authorities have been reluctant to institute rules that could hurt the industry. — TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

If you worry about all the waste generated by the annual rush of holiday shopping and gift giving, it’s nothing compared to the mountains of discarded packaging that comes from a single event in China.

On Nov 11 each year, the world’s biggest consumer market goes into overdrive as e-commerce giants like Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd and Inc lure shoppers with huge bargains during the Singles’ Day bonanza. Alibaba reported almost 500 billion yuan (RM308.85bil) of sales this year, nearly four times US Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending combined. On its Tmall platform, transactions reached a peak when 583,000 orders were made in a single second.

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