Amazon said Wednesday it will ditch single-use plastic packaging in India by next year, joining Walmart-backed rival Flipkart in a major push by e-commerce giants in the South Asian nation.
India generates around 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, according to government figures, with New Delhi ramping up its “clean India” mission to eradicate single-use plastic in recent weeks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also called on businesses to join his campaign.
“Amazon India is committed to a sustainable supply chain,” Amazon India’s vice president Akhil Saxena said in a statement.
“Investment in protecting the environment ensures a triple win — it is good for our planet, good for our customers and community, and good for the business.”
Amazon India said it was developing plastic-free alternatives for bubble wraps and mailers, and would collect plastic at its warehouse networks from this month.
The online retailer aims to scrap single-use plastic packaging by June 2020 and have 50% of all shipments at zero net carbon by 2030.
Flipkart last week said it would eliminate single-use plastic in packaging and shift to 100% recycled plastic by 2021.
“It is a necessary and a crucial step to reduce plastic waste and in tandem with government policy,” Forrester Research analyst Satish Meena said.
“Both Flipkart and Amazon should learn from Chinese e-commerce industry on how to reduce packaging waste at the source and offer customers multiple options to reduce unwanted plastic packaging.”
National flag carrier Air India last week said it would stop using single-use plastic and replace packaging with eco-friendly paper and use wooden cutlery.
Amazon and Walmart — which bought a 77% share in Indian e-commerce behemoth Flipkart last year — are investing billions of dollars in the country’s rapidly growing online consumer market.
Amazon last month opened its largest-ever campus in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.