Coca-Cola and Unilever to develop circular economy in China

The Coca-Cola Company has partnered with Chinese online retailer to encourage plastics recycling and help drive the circular economy in China.

JD plans to use its nationwide logistics system to help collect used beverage bottles from households. The collected bottles will be sent to recycling facilities in partnership with Coca-Cola, where they will enter the circular value chain.

The two companies piloted the recycling programme for two weeks in Shanghai last month. JD’s courier team collected used bottles from 50,000 households when they delivered packages to consumers. An expansion of this partnership is now being considered.

“No single company can solve the packaging waste problem alone,” said Coca-Cola’s chairman and chief executive James Quincey. “Our new partnership with, with its in-house logistics infrastructure and e-commerce platform, is an exciting opportunity to explore a localised approach to bring back used PET bottles and recycle them into other useful products.”

The recycled PET materials are expected to be used in JD couriers’ uniforms or other lifestyle products.

“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,” said Zhenhui Wang, chief executive of JD Logistics.

Meanwhile, Unilever has signed a memorandum of understanding with JD Logistics to develop sustainable business initiatives in the supply chain and explore opportunities to digitise and modernise plastics recycling and collection, develop efficient delivery solutions and create less carbon intense transportation initiatives.

“JD Logistics’ network and technology offer exciting opportunities to enhance our consumer logistics and transportation capabilities, and to deliver even greater transparency, speed and efficiency across our supply chain,” said Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief supply chain officer. “Together we can leverage our collective expertise and scale to give consumers better and informed choices and drive sustainable and responsible growth.”