The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, and JD.com, a large e-commerce platform and logistics business based in China, have partnered to explore new ways of plastics recycling to help drive the circular economy in China.
According to a news release from the Coca-Cola Co., JD.com plans to leverage its nationwide logistics system in a pilot program to help collect used beverage bottles from households. The collected bottles are being sent to recycling facilities in partnership with Coca-Cola, where they will enter the circular value chain.
Both companies have been involved in initiatives to try to help improve recycling rates. Coca-Cola first announced its World Without Waste vision two years ago, which includes a global goal to help collect and recycle 100 percent of its packaging by 2030. JD.com launched its Green Stream Initiative in 2017, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of its logistics activities.
Coca-Cola Co. and JD.com announced their partnership at the World Economic Forum 2020, which takes place Jan. 21-24 in Davos, Switzerland. Leaders from both companies, including Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO James Quincey, JD.com chief strategy officer Jon Liao, JD Retail CEO Lei Xu and JD Logistics CEO Zhenhui Wang, shared their plans during a panel discussion on Jan. 21 at the World Economic Forum.
“Our World Without Waste initiative includes a major focus on working with partners, because no single company can solve the packaging waste problem alone,” Quincey said during the panel discussion. “Our new partnership with JD.com, with its in-house logistics infrastructure and e-commerce platform, is an exciting opportunity to explore a localized approach to bring back used [polyethylene terephthalate] PET bottles and recycle them into other useful products.”
JD.com and Coca-Cola China had co-piloted a two-week recycling program in December 2019 in Shanghai, which leveraged JD’s courier team to collect used bottles from 50,000 households when the team delivered packages to consumers, according to a news release from Coca-Cola. The collected bottles are being sent to recycling facilities in partnership with Coca-Cola. The companies are looking into expanding this partnership.
Also, recycled PET materials are expected to be used in couriers’ uniforms or other lifestyle products to help more people understand the value of recycling and help shape their daily behaviors, including waste sorting, recycling and sustainable consumption, Coca-Cola reports.
“JD.com has long been dedicated to sustainable development of people and the world, and this pilot program is an important component of our Green Stream Initiative sustainability strategy,” Wang says. “Through the partnership, we are excited to create a reverse logistics system and, more broadly, to encourage the public, especially our consumers, to adopt responsible consumption and recycling in their everyday lives, thereby participating in a more sustainable circular economy.”
Coca-Cola reports that this initiative is a first attempt at cross-industry collaboration to explore a circular solution between an international company and a Chinese e-commerce company.