E-commerce is a booming business. In 2019, a total of 3.65 billion shipments were delivered in Germany alone, equivalent to 12 million items a day to up to 7 million recipients. The trend is upward with an annual forecast increase of +4,2% until 2024.1
When comparing conventional shopping regarding the hidden environmental costs for transport, heating, lights and storage in the stores, e-commerce often has a better overall ecological performance.2 However, the extremely short life of the packaging is one of the most important factors causing the footprint.
Mostly single-use disposable cardboard packaging is used. This causes an extremely high amount of waste paper and overflowing waste containers. Even though waste paper is recycled to a high degree and turned into new cardboard packaging, the process still costs excessive valuable resources such as water, energy, fresh paper fibres and produces environmentally damaging chemicals.3
With each reused package we avoid the production of a new one. We help to reduce the environmental footprint of e-commerce! The packaging material alone makes about 5% of the overall climate footprint of e-commerce4.
For an average cardboard packaging (150gr of weight) the savings per cardboard are 156gr5,6. Also, about 0,0024 trees7123 liters and of water are saved 8.
Thanks to the participating websites that regularly share the number of their user approvals with us, we can roughly measure the impact of the initiative.
- 1.BIEK Bundesverband Paket und Express Logistik. Zahlen & Fakten. BIEK Bundesverband Paket und Express Logistik. Accessed October 2020. https://www.biek.de/kep-branche/zahlen-und-fakten.html
- 2.Plaß C. Online-Shoppen: Viel zu viel Verpackungsmüll? NDR Online. Published July 2016. Accessed October 2020. https://www.ndr.de/ratgeber/Online-Shoppen-Viel-zu-viel-Verpackungsmuell,zerowaste130.html
- 3.Umweltbundesamt. Verpackungen. Umweltbundesamt. Published December 2018. Accessed October 2020. https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/themen/abfall-ressourcen/produktverantwortung-in-der-abfallwirtschaft/verpackungen/versandverpackungen%23leitfaden-des-umweltbundesamtes-fur-umweltgerechte-versandverpackungen-im-versand-und-onlinehandel-
- 4.Simon Malls. Does Shopping Behaviour Affect Sustainability? . Simon – 2016 Sustainability White Paper . Published March 2016. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://simon-malls.cld.bz/Simon-2016-Sustainability-White-Paper/4/
- 5.James K. Methodology for assessing the climate change impacts of packaging optimisation under the Courtauld Commitment Phase 2. Wrap. Published December 2010. Accessed October 25, 2020. http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Carbon_Methodology_-_Nov_2010_V101.f1571b4f.10324.pdf
- 6.RePack. RePack-Carbon-and-Waste-Footprint. RePack-Carbon-and-Waste-Footprint-. Published 2020. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://www.originalrepack.com/files/RePack-Carbon-and-Waste-Footprint-english.pdf
- 7.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Environmental Factoids. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://archive.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/smm/wastewise/web/html/factoid.html
- 8.van Oel PR, Hoekstra AY. The green and blue water footprint of paper products. Waterfootprint. Published July 2010. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Report46-WaterFootprintPaper_1.pdf