Need to design recyclable plastic packaging

Flipkart’s sustainable packaging solutions. Flipkart photo

A large majority of sellers in Flipkart’s marketplace are working on sustainable packaging, with adoption rates for these practices as high as 75%, says Mahesh Singh, the company’s sustainability manager. Flipkart first targeted 70 hubs in the state of Maharashtra with this effort and today it covers over 700 of its hubs across the country.

“The majority of sellers on our marketplace have phased out single-use plastic. However, it took a lot of effort. It was a complex problem to solve because we have a large number of sellers on the platform. But we managed to do it,” says Mahesh Pratap Singh, Head of Sustainability and Social Responsibility at Flipkart.

Meanwhile, Singh claims that Flipkart itself has reached the milestone of 100% elimination of single-use plastic in its own supply chain spanning over 70 facilities across India. Flipkart is currently trying to galvanize the use of sustainable packaging across all of its various sectors of the value chain.

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Mahesh Pratap Singh from Flipkart

Flipkart has a dedicated supply chain and last-mile infrastructure with several hundred large and medium-sized distribution centers and mother hubs across the country, which helps the company deliver millions of shipments every day across the country.

Design and development for zero discharge

To achieve zero packaging waste, Flipkart has adopted methods to improve the use of recyclable packaging materials throughout its value chain. The first pilot projects in 2019 to reduce and reuse packaging and recycle the plastic waste generated grew into an organization-wide program to find alternatives to the plastic materials used.

Its teams went through a design and development process looking for options to advance efforts to ensure waste-free landfills. It was important to ensure that the alternatives adopted could withstand the pressures of the e-commerce supply chain, be robust enough to adapt to the characteristics of different product categories and, above all, be affordable and scalable for partners. sellers.

Flipkart developed guidelines for sellers to adopt sustainable packaging, but also encouraged creativity and innovation from sellers who were then able to co-create a variety of viable packaging options. Packaging designed by internal teams has also been made available to selling partners.

Flipkart-WWF Un-Plastic Collaboration

WWF India recently published a case study on the Flipkart group and the group’s focus on sustainable packaging in e-commerce. Flipkart has collaborated with WWF India as part of the Un-Plastic Collective (UPC) – a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative, to drive corporate action towards solutions to plastic leakage. The goal was to break down barriers to circularity and create new business models to transform the plastic packaging industry by amplifying the collective voice of multiple stakeholders across the value chain.

WWF believes that plastic does not belong in nature. As part of its global strategy, WWF India envisions a plastic-free future in nature and aims to reduce the flow of plastic into our ecosystems by 2030.

“We believe in building relationships and building collaborative partnerships to amplify the collective voice of multiple stakeholders to generate a compelling narrative about sustainable business practices. The idea is to bring about transformational change in supply chains and drive policy while raising awareness and catalyzing practical and sustainable solutions,” says Varun Agarwal, Associate Director of WWF.

Agarwal says tackling plastic packaging waste is an important issue and multi-level collaboration is needed to address it. Brands and businesses should consider removing non-required packaging materials and redesigning packaging materials to be reusable and recyclable, Agarwal said, adding that authorities should also step up efforts by building infrastructure. segregation and recycling. “This is a long-term process and all stakeholders need to step up and look at the gaps,” he says.

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Abdul J. Gaspar