A lot of bottle: Coca-Cola and JD unite to promote PET plastic recycling in China

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

JD courier staff wearing uniform made from recycled plastic bottles ©JD
JD courier staff wearing uniform made from recycled plastic bottles ©JD

Related tags: JD.com, Coca-cola, Pet bottle, Recycling, China

Coca-Cola China and JD.com are working on a partnership to increase the recycling of Coca-Cola’s PET beverage bottles.

In December 2019, the two firms had conducted a two-week pilot recycling program in Shanghai, where JD’s door-to-door delivery couriers collected used bottles from 50,000 households when dropping off new goods.

The bottles were then shipped to Coca-Cola's recycling facilities to become recycled PET raw materials, re-entering the value chain again.

The recycled PET materials can be made into uniforms for JD’s couriers, or other products.

The companies said doing so will help the public better understand the value of recycling, promote recycling, waste sorting and lead the way in sustainable consumption.

Two goals, two firms

In 2018, Coca-Cola had set a goal, World Without Waste, to use 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030, as well as collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally.

One year earlier, JD launched its Green Stream Initiative to reduce the environmental impact of its logistics activities. Efforts to promote sustainability include paperless operations, recycling and reduction of packaging such as cardboard boxes, clothing and toys nationwide. 

From June 2017 to December 2019, JD managed to reduce disposable packaging by nearly 30,000 tons and saved approximately one million tons of paper.

The current partnership will rely on JD’ logistics to recover the bottles, and Coca-Cola’s recycling facilities.

Zhenhui Wang, CEO of JD Logistics said in an official statement: “JD.com has dedicated to sustainable development of people and the world, and this pilot program is an important component of our ‘Green Stream Initiative’ sustainability strategy.

“Through the partnership, we are excited 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 chairman and CEO James Quincey added: “Our World Without Waste initiative includes a major focus on working with partners, because no single company can solve the packaging waste problem alone​.”

This recycling initiative claims to be the first collaboration between an international company and a Chinese e-commerce company.

Coca-Cola uses 128 billion PET bottles and makes about three million tons of plastic packaging a year globally.

At the Davos World Economic Forum this year, Coca-Cola said it would not abandon its plastic packaging despite pressure from environmentalists.

While it has no plans to replace its plastic packaging any time soon, it has rolled out aluminium cans for its water products to reduce plastic pollution. In Sweden, the firm also pledged to switch to PET bottles made from 50% recycled plastic by Q1 2020.

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