Alibaba set up 75,000 stations across China to recycle packaging this week as it sold $38.4 billion (RMB268.4 billion) of goods during its annual Singles Day event, up 26% year-on-year.
The Chinese ecommerce giant allowed customers to recycle unwanted packaging at 40,000 stations set up by subsidiary Cainaio and 35,000 set up by courier partners.
Customers recycling packaging can scan a QR code via one of Alibaba’s apps to receive “green energy points”, which can be redeemed in various sustainability projects in China. Customers could also pledge in advance to recycle and receive discounts during the sale, with 20 million people doing so as of 11 November.
The network was set up during the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Alibaba’s annual shopping festival, which is also known as Singles Day. The stations will stay in place permanently. Alibaba said in an article on its Alizila site that it wanted to make the world’s largest one-day sale as much about sustainability as consumption.
From 1 to 11 November, the company also hosted a trade-in programme for used electronics, allowing customers to book pick up used devices and receive compensation and discounts.
Cainaio processed 1.3 billion delivery orders during the 11.11 event, Alibaba said.
Niu Zhijing, head of Cainiao’s Go Green Campaign, said: “Green logistics are an essential part of our business model.
“We believe that sustainability can be only tackled through joint efforts across the value chain, from packaging suppliers, ecommerce platforms and brands to express-delivery companies, consumers and policymakers. All stakeholders need to act together.”
“We want to inspire consumers to action, too, by making it easier to participate through small actions.”
Last week, Alibaba invested $3.3 billion to increase its majority stake in Cainaio from 51% to 63%.
The new funds will allow Cainaio to invest in technologies and infrastructure to enhance its logistics network.
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group executive chairman and CEO, said: “Logistics is a key pillar of the Alibaba Business Operating System. It allows us to offer the best service to customers and to effectively advance our New Retail strategy.
“Cainiao strives to enhance service and user experience for merchants and consumers through superior technology and digital solutions, both within China and around the world. We are committed to supporting its ongoing development, to realising greater synergies throughout the entire Alibaba Economy and accelerating digitization of the logistics industry.”