Belgian-owned beer brand Corona has teamed up with Alibaba’s retail chain Freshippo for a recycling scheme in southern tech hub Shenzhen.
Throughout the month of June, Shenzhen locals can exchange plastic waste for a refreshing bottle of Corona at selected Freshippo outlets. After tossing plastic waste into the Corona x Freshippo “Plastic Pay machine”, the customer is awarded money based on the overall weight of the plastic items. Small and medium-sized plastic items, like coffee cups or soap dispensers, are worth 1 RMB, whilst larger 2 litre or more containers are worth 2 RMB. Customers can use these accumulated rewards to purchase Corona at the plastic payment station.
Also on display at the Plastic Pay stations are examples of clothing items and accessories that will be made from the re-processed recycled plastic donated by shoppers. This works as a visually pleasing way to communicate Corona’s commitment to sustainable business practices, which the brand also shared on social media when promoting the campaign. Alongside its regular beach clean-ups and partnerships with organisations like Blue Ribbon, Corona has also pledged to recycle 279 tonnes of plastic waste this year.
Social responsibility is increasingly key consideration among China’s Gen Z fashion lovers, but this is sometimes more about effective brand storytelling that emphasizes a connection to the local area than it is about a deep understanding of the carbon footprint of products. When it comes to sustainable fashion in particular, much of what is available are high-end products, which have become less accessible for many younger people as “rational” consumption becomes the new normal.
Campaigns like Corona’s help galvanise young people by making sustainability a fun and inclusive activity, as well as inviting them to have a new experience.