Policies needed to encourage e commerce to embrace circular economy


Policies needed to encourage e-commerce to embrace circular economy
Shippers are delivering parcels. By 2030, plastic wastes in e-commerce is predicted to amount to 800,000 tonnes. — Photo baotainguyenmoitruong.vn

Việt Nam needs to develop solutions to encourage fast-paced e-commerce to embrace circular economy and reduce the dumping of plastic wastes towards protecting the environment.

A recent report on plastic wastes from e-commerce by Việt Nam E-Commerce Association pointed out that e-commerce is growing rapidly with an average annual growth rate of more than 25 per cent, resulting in an increase in the use of plastic packaging which are negatively affecting the environment.

The online retailing market of Việt Nam was estimated at US$17.3 billion and online food delivery market at $1.4 billion.

The report estimated at around 332,000 tonnes of packaging were consumed in e-commerce in 2023, of which 171,000 tonnes were plastic. By 2030, plastic wastes in e-commerce is predicted to amount to 800,000 tonnes.

Carton boxes and plastic bags are poplar packaging used by sellers to pack orders on e-commerce platforms.

Especially, around 90 per cent of merchants in the clothing, fashion, and accessories industry use plastic packaging. Foam and air-bubble nylon foam are used in 30 per cent and 35 per cent of parcels. Most orders are packed with plastic tape.

Plastic bags are popularly used in online business, from e-commerce platforms, websites or social media platforms.

Nguyễn Thanh Hưng, a representative of Việt Nam E-Commerce Association, pointed out three reasons for sellers preferring plastic packaging to carton boxes.

First, plastic packaging is cheaper and has lower shipping fees thanks to its light weight. Products are often overpacked to reduce possible damage during transportation. In addition, Việt Nam has not had any regulations on environment protection standards of packaging in e-commerce. The rate of recycling of packaging in e-commerce is very modest.

According to Nguyễn Hữu Tuấn from Vietnam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to encourage e-commerce to embrace circular economy, it is necessary to have the participation of the State management agencies, consumers, e-commerce businesses and logistics together with enhancing communication to raise awareness.

Tuấn said the focus should be on developing policies to recognize green e-commerce business and sustainable e-commerce model together with developing standards for packaging towards prioritizing the use of recycled materials.

There should be policies to encourage sellers to apply environmentally friendly solutions in their business.


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