Dec 8, 2021|

JD and ATRenew Co-launch Circular Economy Report


by Vivian Yang

The post-consumption electronic wastes generated in big cities represent the sleeping “metal mines” — if “waken up“ and fed into the recycling loop, they would create considerable economic and environmental benefits. This is the conclusion from the latest “2021 Circular Economy Research Report” released on Dec. 1,co-produced by, Kearney and ATRenew, a technology-driven used consumer electronics transactions and services platform in China and an investee of

The report noted that promoting trade-in services play a significant role in putting idle electronic products, primarily mobile phones, into the circular economy as well as boosting consumption, especially when it comes to big-sized home appliances in physical stores, according to data from JD and ATRenew’s user survey and second-hand goods sales data over the last four years.

In 2020, through close collaboration with and other retailers, ATRenew recycled more than 23 million second-hand products, mostly electronics, for resale or disposal in an environmentally responsible way. It enabled more than 100,000 SMEs to offer products’ trade-in services last year and dismantled about 225,000 electronic products, cutting down 36.1 tons of e-waste.

While the report emphasized the necessity of e-waste recycling both for the sake of metal parts value such as copper, gold, silver, palladium and other metals, and reducing heavy metal and battery pollution, it also revealed consumers’ various concerns over returning their electronic goods.

Around 46% of respondents claimed they don’t have a convenient way to dispose of their outdated electronic devices; 17.8% expressed concerns about data security; and 38% said they keep three or more idle electronic goods at home.

According to CINNO Research, an industry consultancy, 307 million mobile phones were sold in China in 2020. According to a JD Mobile user survey, roughly half of consumers replace their electronic items, mostly mobile phones, every two years.

To step up efforts on consumer electronics recycling, this July, ATRenew launched a pilot initiative called the “integrated city model” to bring together resources and capabilities of cities, merchants, retailers, and customers to increase the rate of circular economy adoption.

At the same time, announced a new 5-year low-carbon program in 2021, pledging to invest RMB 1 billion yuan in green supply chain construction and a 35 percent increase in carbon efficiency.