Home » Technology » Delivery, package size, plastic hunting … Faced with the boom in e-commerce, packages are looking to become green

Delivery, package size, plastic hunting … Faced with the boom in e-commerce, packages are looking to become green

Within a fortnight, at the height of the wave of online Christmas gift orders, La Poste postmen and subcontractors will drop off more than 5,000 parcels per minute in French letterboxes. That is four million Colissimo per day, not counting express deliveries from Chronopost. To orchestrate this period of peak activity, the public group is mobilizing all its forces and has already recruited 6,000 seasonal workers.

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The passion of the French for parcels is not limited to the end of year celebrations. While the mail collapses, La Poste has established 1,700 postmen on permanent contracts (CDI) since the start of the year, mainly to deliver packages. With the Covid-19 pandemic and its confinements, “The parcel market grew by three years in one in 2020,” considers the operator. And, in 2021, Internet sales increased by 15% in the third quarter, notes the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling.

Now, 42 million French people buy online, or 1.5 million more than in 2019. The frequency of their orders has increased: a third of households now receive 51 packages per year – one per week, on average. And that’s only the beginning. La Poste, which claims 70% of the French parcel market, is investing heavily to be able to manage one billion Colissimo per year by 2030, i.e. twice as many as today.

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This frenzy is not without causing damage to the environment. Behind each order placed, there is a shipment by boat, plane or road, to the sorting platforms, then again the “last mile” to go, that is to say between the last warehouse and home or relay point. In addition, the billion packages delivered to France each year already generates 137,000 tonnes of packaging in our bins, according to La Poste.

Value efforts

In the midst of a boom, the e-commerce sector knows that it is under a certain pressure, from public opinion and politicians. In 2020, the environmental association Les Amis de la Terre, the Confederation of French traders and several deputies, including Delphine Batho (Deux-Sèvres, not registered), campaigned to impose a moratorium on new online sales warehouses, with Amazon in the crosshairs. The idea was dismissed by the government. The executive preferred to order a report on the sustainable development of e-commerce, which led to the signing of a charter at the end of July.

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