Consumers willing to return eCommerce empty boxes and plastic packaging for a small incentive to reduce waste generation


  • • 48% consumers currently throwing or giving away ecommerce packaging
  • • A large majority willing to return eCommerce empty boxes and plastic packaging for a small incentive

2nd September 2019, New Delhi: Everything that we purchase from ecommerce sites comes nicely packed to ensure its safety during transportation. It is wrapped in a lot of plastic, bubble wrap, air pouches and cardboard. But all this comes at a cost. At nature’s cost. Consumers on LocalCircles have realized this and have started discussing ways in which eCommerce can be made environment friendly.

LocalCircles conducted a survey to understand if people would be willing to do their bit towards carefully handling ecommerce packaging. This 3-poll survey received nearly 17,000 votes from 10,000+ consumers located in 112 cities of India.

In the first question, consumers were asked if an ecommerce company collected the empty box from them when delivering a package, would they be willing to return it for a small cashback/incentive of Rs. 50. The result showed that 89% consumers are willing to try this while 10% were unwilling.

89% consumers willing to return eCommerce empty boxes for a small incentive

89% consumers willing to return eCommerce empty boxes for a small incentive

It is being widely speculated that single use items may soon be banned. The growing worldwide concern about plastic pollution has led to many Governments and corporates from around the world saying no to usage of plastic.

In the second question, consumers were asked what they currently did with the package boxes received via ecommerce sites. 48% said they mostly give it away or dispose in trash while 38% said they accumulate it and sell to scrap dealers. 2% said they keep accumulating it and 12% did not shop via ecommerce.

48% consumers currently give away or trash the packaging received via eCommerce

48% consumers currently give away or trash the packaging received via eCommerce

All of us love shopping online but we tend to close our eyes to the effect it has on the environment, in the form of packaging waste. The last question asked consumers if they were willing to return the outside plastic packaging of ecommerce provider to the delivery person for a small incentive. 92% respondents were willing to do it while a small 6% were unwilling.

92% consumers willing to return eCommerce plastic packaging for a small incentive

92% consumers willing to return eCommerce plastic packaging for a small incentive

In various structured discussions on LocalCircles, many consumers said that steps should be taken to ensure that the huge amount of ecommerce packaging generated is recycled properly. Some of these suggestions included packaging of delivered products to be taken back by the company at delivery in exchange for cashback/reward points or incentive for future purchases, ecommerce companies to ensure consumer returns do not require outer eCommerce company packaging and logistics and deliveries to be planned such that the delivery personnel collecting these empty packages go back to the merchandise pick up point and deposit them. Other suggestions included consumers to be given the option of scheduling bulk package return (20+ boxes) for incentive and those collections could be executed by an eCommerce company partner, drop off points to be created for the customers where they could return this packaging in bulk and get the credit, from where the ecommerce company can collect the empty boxes and recycle them and a third-party package pickup vendor/registered waste recycler to be empanelled by each e-commerce company whose contact details should be mentioned on the cardboard boxes.

India’s e-commerce packaging industry is expected to grow to rapidly. Millions of shipments are dispatched each month to different parts of India, creating an incredibly high amount of packaging waste. Some innovative steps will have to be taken immediately to prevent this sea of waste from increasing.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles takes Social Media to the next level and makes it about Communities, Governance and Utility. It enables citizens to connect with communities for most aspects of urban daily life like Neighborhood, Constituency, City, Government, Causes, Interests and Needs, seek information/assistance when needed, come together for various initiatives and improve their urban daily life. LocalCircles is free for citizens and always will be!

Akshay Gupta - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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