It is one of Chinese consumers’ favorite days — Double Eleven, or Singles’ Day. Originally meant to celebrate singledom, it has become a day where millions of people shop online for items on sale.
But with so many parcels being delivered across the nation, China’s e-commerce platforms and postal services are facing challenges, one of which is environmental protection.
Green logistics is the process of minimizing damage to the environment, while still maintaining efficiency. The Chinese government started to promote the environment-friendly operation two years ago. Earlier this year in May, the Provisional Regulations on Express Delivery came into effect.
“The goals are improving the efficiency of package utilization, reducing package consumption, and tackling pollution,” said Liu Chong, a senior staff member of the Beijing Municipal Postal Administration.
“To learn more about the solution of green packaging that can be eventually duplicated and widely-used, the state post office has chosen Shun Feng Express, JD and six other enterprises to carry out a pilot project on green packaging for parcel delivery,” he added.
Shun Feng Express established its first packing lab in 2013. They use environment-friendly material in making their boxes and packaging tape. This year, they’ve also developed a new type of box that is reusable, called Feng Box.
“It saves a lot of fillers, and its design becomes more normative and practical. For example, ten million Feng Boxes can substitute five hundred million original used delivery boxes. Since we can recycle and reuse it nearly 50 times, it’s making a great contribution to environmental protection,” Yao Hongxu, the Deputy General Manager of Shun Feng Express explained.
Energy conservation and emission reduction is another concern. Shun Feng Express has invested in more than 8,000 new energy vehicles to substitute fuel-powered vehicles over the past two years, which are used in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and some 30 other cities.
“In the next few years, Shun Feng plans to invest in 15,000 new energy vehicles. After that, we plan to save about 30,000 tons of energy and reduce emissions by more than 100,000 tons,” Yao added.
Although China’s logistics industry has already implemented some green measures, Liu believes there’s still much to be done.
“The cost of the existing new green packaging materials is high. The cost of biodegradable materials is two to three times higher than ordinary plastic materials, and the price of reusable free tape cartons is 40 percent higher than current cartons. At present, it is difficult to popularize green packing across the entire industry.”
Despite all the difficulties, green logistics remains to be a central goal of China’s express and logistics market.