Government and logistics industry test reusable parcel packing to reduce waste

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : November 19, 2019, 16:33 | Updated : November 19, 2019, 16:33

[Courtesy of the Ministry of Environment]

SEOUL -- South Korea, known for the quick delivery of everything from food and clothes to electronic devices, will test standardized parcel packing made of reusable materials to reduce waste produced by parcel packing.

The Ministry of Environment said on Tuesday that it would cooperate with retail and parcel delivery companies such as CJ ENM O Shopping, the cable TV home shopping channel operator wing of South Korean conglomerate CJ Group, and LogisAll, a local logistics company, to test the potential of reusable parcel packaging.

South Korea has a six trillion-won ($5.1 billion) parcel delivery industry thanks to its rapidly growing e-commerce market that provides simple and easy one-stop shopping on smartphones and PCs. Some 2.54 billion parcels were delivered nationwide in 2018 and they were mainly packed in cardboard boxes or disposable polyethylene bags.

As the recycling of packaging materials is difficult due to adhesives such as tapes and glues, waste generated from parcel packaging has been mainly burned.

"In order to prevent the over-packing of parcels, voluntary participation and cooperation by businesses are essential along with government regulations," Lee Young-kee, an environment ministry director-general, was quoted as saying. He said the test of reusable packaging will contribute to the distribution of eco-friendly packaging.

Starting on November 20, CJ ENM O Shopping will deliver parcels using reusable packaging to selected customers. When customers receive parcels, LogisAll will collect packaging to clean and reuse them. The standardized size of reusable polyethylene packaging is 415㎜ × 280㎜ × 160㎜. The environment ministry will carry out a survey of customers who participated in the test program.

United Parcel Service (UPS), an American parcel delivery service, has teamed up with TerraCycle, a recycling company, in January this year to test a reusable and returnable system for parcel packaging. UPS has not yet released updates on the test.
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