Alibaba's logistics affiliate this week announced an agreement to help recycle the billions of plastic bags and cardboard boxes used for parcel shipments in China each year.
The South China Morning Post — a Hong Kong publication that’s owned by the Chinese e-commerce giant — reports that the pact established the Cainiao Green Alliance Foundation, a Beijing-based nonprofit that includes Alibaba's Cainiao Network, the Alibaba Foundation, the China Environmental Protection Foundation and six other Chinese logistics companies.
The foundation plans to spend more than $43 million on research to implement environmentally-friendly processes in the logistics supply chain, the Post reported. The initiative will also target new innovations in packaging and encourage the adoption of clean delivery vehicles and the use of analytics to optimize resources.
“Cainiao Network and Alibaba Group have a responsibility to take the lead in promoting environmental protection and green logistics,” Cainiao Network chairwoman Judy Tong told the publication.
Data from the Chinese Institute of Graphic Communication showed that China's parcel shipping sector used 7.5 billion plastic bags, 10 billion cardboard boxes and 17 billion meters of wrapping tape in 2015. Those materials often end up in landfills since the tape makes recycling much more cumbersome.
The agreement also comes as e-commerce booms both in China and around the world. Government statistics showed that more than 31 billion packages were shipped in China last year — a 50 percent increase compared to 2015.