Packaging and recycling help mass consumption event ‘go green’

China’s shopping festivals are good news for consumers and brands, but there is an environmental price to be paid given that over a billion parcels are wrapped and sent as part of 11.11 festivities.

Alibaba is this year promoting more “sustainable consumption”, using recyclable packing materials and encouraging shoppers to deposit their used wrapping materials at recycling pick-up points in order to minimize the effect of 11.11 on the environment.

This year, it says almost 100% of the packaging shipped from its Cainiao warehouses is biodegradable, and nearly 50% of the paper packaging in its warehouses is tape-free.

Cainiao is encouraging consumers to recycle their own packaging and has set up around 80,000 recycling stations across China, where consumers can redeem “green energy” points on “Cainiao Ocean”, a mini-program within the Cainiao app.

Alibaba’s online grocery service, Tmall Supermarket, is also promoting more environmentally aware consumption by using four million reusable boxes for its orders this year. Last year’s 11.11 festival generated 1.3 billion orders for Alibaba alone, and this year’s sales are expected to exceed that.