Bubble wraps, cartons and other packaging materials keep products safe during delivery but at the expense of environmental damage.
Amid another e-commerce shopping event on March 3, a local environmental group reminded the public of the harmful effects of “excessive” plastic packaging used by online stores.
Greenpeace Philippines shared a graphic that featured juxtaposed meme of John Lloyd in tears and a slice of what appears to be an onion.
The inside of an onion represented different plastic materials used for packaging such as a courier plastic, bubble wrap and a box of carton.
“Sa dami ng layers maiiyak ka talaga. (crying emoji) Kaya ngayong 3.3 sale, let’s continue the call for Lazada & Shopee to reduce their packaging waste. #PlasticFreeShopping now (earth emoji),” the post read.
Greenpeace and other environmental groups had been calling on e-commerce businesses to reduce their plastic packaging as part of their efforts to help save the environment.
Bubble wrap packaging can’t be helped?
Some Filipino online users, however, argued in the comments section that thick wrapping of goods can’t be helped sometimes, citing courier mishandling and customer demands.
One Facebook user pointed out that less packaging means less costs for the seller.
“Syempre pabor kay seller ang less balot para less expense sa packaging. Pero dahil nais ng seller na maging maayos at safe ang item pagdating kay buyer, napipilitan nalang si seller ibalot ng makapal para hindi masira ang item. To sum it all, dapat ayusin ng courier ang paghahandle ng package para less balot nalang,” a Facebook user said.
Another user echoed that bubble wrapping is often preferred because some couriers are not careful with handling their items.
“Mahal naman kase ang carton kesa plastic. As buyer ng mga online shop, dinadami ko pag order sa isang store tapos para i-box na lang lahat. Gusto ko rin na naka bubble wrap kasi ang courier walang pake sa gamit or package na kanilang hinahandle,” the user said.
Others also explained that delivery personnel normally carry many items, thus the need for proper packaging.
“Di kasi maiiwasan yan. Di nmn pwedeng lagyan ng sariling upuan yan o mg isa lang mag byahe para lng hindi ma-damage. Dahil sa bulk yung cargo na dala, dapat talaga balutin maigi yong item,” a Facebook user commented.
“Yung mga customers din kasi mareklamo kung hindi naka bubble wrap sabihin hindi well-packaged,” another added.
Packaging expert Ranpak Philippines, however, countered these arguments and said that there are alternatives to bubble wrap packaging.
In 2020, the packaging expert company said it has helped 315 businesses in the Philippines shift to eco-friendly packaging.
“That’s equivalent to 173,188 meters of plastic bubble wrap replaced by biodegradable paper,” it said.
“Imagine twelve 40-ft containers filed plastic bubble wrap. That’s how much plastic we avoided,” RanPak added.
It offers cushioning, eco-friendly, recyclable, biodegradable alternative to bubble wraps. These are made of honeycomb, cassava starch and other biodegradable materials to promote sustainable packaging.
Some stores and brands in the Philippines like cosmetic brand Garnier Philippines have adopted this environment-friendly practice.
RanPak is also supporting some local environmental groups’ collective call to reduce the amount of plastic packaging for delivery of items.
During the shopping event 9.9 last year, various environmental groups collectively called on Lazada and Shopee to shift to sustainable and eco-friendly packaging.
This initiative was part of the #Breakfreefromplastic Philippines project, which comprises EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA Asia Pacific, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care without Harm Southeast Asia, and Mother Earth Foundation in partnership with No Burn Pilipinas and Oceana International Philippines.