By Lee Hsin-Yin
The China Post/Asia News Network
In anticipation of surging sales on the day, when retailers offer deep discounts to lure customers, Greenpeace said shops should take the initiative in reducing single-use plastics as they are one of the major sources of plastic waste.
It is not easy for retailers to phase out single-use plastics, but there are many creative ways to try, including encouraging customers to bring their own refillable containers for certain products, said Lo Tsu-chen (羅祖珍) of Greenpeace, whose work focuses on reducing plastics.
“We need the companies to get involved more aggressively so that these solutions become scalable, providing consumers with different choices and removing their dependence on non-recyclable plastic packaging,” Lo said.
To meet that end, the environmental group has carried out various campaigns to raise the awareness of both retailers and customers, including a flash mob event that projected the slogan “Who will take the lead to cut plastic waste?” on retailers’ walls on the eve of Singles’ Day.
Greenpeace also posted articles on its Facebook page to “help consumers fight against the temptation of Singles’ Day shopping campaigns” by revealing how fast fashion is closely connected to pollution as it uses a great deal of natural resources and hazardous chemicals.
In addition, the group named nine major retailers in Taiwan that are not doing enough to eliminate plastic packaging.
The biggest retail chain in Taiwan, PX Mart, is doing better than the other eight major retailers in reducing the use of plastic packaging but still only scored 22.7 out of 100, Greenpeace cited in a report it released last month.
Other retailers — Costco, Carrefour, RT-Mart, A.mart, Wellcome, FamilyMart, 7-Eleven and Simple Mart — scored an average 11.6 in the Greenpeace report on the use of plastic packaging.
Lo said it is important for retailers in Taiwan to join global efforts to reduce plastic packaging.
Earlier this year, Greenpeace found that 77 recent of the products in retail outlets in Taiwan are packaged in plastic, she said.
Plastic waste is regarded by the United Nations as a global crisis amid climate change, Greenpeace noted in its report.
Currently, only 14 percent of the plastic around the world is recycled, while 32 percent is improperly discarded, 40 percent buried in garbage landfill sites, and 14 percent burned in incinerators, the report said.
As a result of poor disposal practices, plastics are often found in the stomachs of beached whales and dolphins, according to Greenpeace.