On 9 August 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the Ministry of Ecological Environment (MEE), the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD), the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), and the State Post Bureau (SPB), jointly issued the Guiding Opinions on Strengthening the Standardisation of Green Packaging for Express Delivery. The Guiding Opinions constitute a comprehensive plan, for the next three years, for standardisation work in the field of green packaging for express delivery services in China.
For the last six consecutive years, China has ranked first in the world in terms of volume of express deliveries. According to estimations, every year the industry generates more than 9 million tons of paper waste and about 1.8 million tons of plastic waste – and the figures are continuing to grow rapidly. The impact of the industry on the environment can no longer be neglected. Standards are seen as effective tools in this regard, especially for making express delivery packages greener, lighter and recyclable. Therefore, the strengthening of standardisation work for promoting green packaging and to curb pollution, has recently become a key requirement for the transformation, upgrading and sustainable development of China’s express delivery industry.
At present, China has already developed a series of standards on express delivery packaging, covering envelopes, bags, boxes, biodegradable tapes, and electronic waybills; they all play a positive role in supporting the green development of the express delivery industry. However, following the rapid transformation and development of the industry as well as its deeper integration with other sectors such as transportation and manufacturing, a set of urgently needed standards needs to be developed, covering new materials, technologies and products for green packaging, as well as the integrated operations of the industry.
In this context, and in order to promote “green, light and recyclable” packaging for the express delivery industry, the newly-released Guiding Opinions outline the overall goals of China’s standardisation work for express delivery green packaging in the next three years, mainly focused on overcoming four key existing problems:
- Upgrade the green packaging standard system for express delivery, by increasing its coverage to also include products, evaluation, management, safety, research and development, design, production, use, recycling, and treatment.
- Address the existing inadequacies of standards in certain key areas, by accelerating the development of important standards covering the application of new materials, the connection between the upstream and downstream industries, as well as the recycling system, so to improve the overall utilisation rate of express delivery packages.
- Promote the effective implementation of standards. On the one hand, relevant departments are encouraged to (i) adopt express delivery green packaging standards when formulating relevant laws and policies, (ii) strengthen coordination, and (iii) incorporate the implementation of standards into the overall supervision and management of the express delivery and e-commerce industries. On the other hand, e-commerce operators and express delivery enterprises are encouraged to purchase express packaging products in line with green standards.
- Improve the internationalisation of Chinese green standards, by strengthening international exchanges and cooperation, by showcasing China’s good practices in express delivery green packaging, and by actively participating in international standardisation activities to promote the development of relevant international standards.
In the following months, firmly grounded on the green concept outlined by the Guiding Opinions, SAMR will continue to guide the development of a set of important and urgently needed standards, and to constantly improve the express delivery green packaging standard system by incorporating the full life cycle of design, materials, production, use, evaluation, recycling and disposal. The efforts of SAMR will significantly contribute to the “green revolution” of express delivery packaging.
The Chinese version of the Guiding Opinions on Strengthening the Standardisation of Green Packaging for Express Delivery can be accessed, for free, at this link: http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/zhengceku/2020-08/09/content_5533459.htm.
By Haley WU on 31 August