The Recycling Partnership and the PepsiCo Foundation launch largest-ever industry challenge to boost residential recycling
The PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, and US nonprofit The Recycling Partnership announced the launch of “All In On Recycling,” the largest ever industry-wide residential recycling challenge to make recycling easier for 25 million families across the country – providing them with the resources they need to recycle more and recycle better.
The PepsiCo Foundation is providing US$10 million/£7.6 million in funding to jumpstart the historic challenge, which is one of the largest-ever public gifts of its kind. The goal of the challenge is to raise US$25 million/£19 million in total donations from leading businesses, companies, and organisations.
In addition to contributions from other corporations, the more than 2,800 communities that participate in the initiative are expected to triple the collective investment, catalysing roughly US$75 million/£57.1 million in municipal funding, and bringing the total amount of support to US$100 million/£76.1 million.
“I have always believed corporations do not operate in a vacuum – we have responsibilities to the communities we serve,” said Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
“Our collaboration with The Recycling Partnership represents a major step toward fulfilling those responsibilities by helping reverse the decline in recycling rates for aluminium and many common plastics. I hope other corporations across our industry and beyond will join us and commit to being All In On Recycling.”
Currently, due to lack of infrastructure, widely varying municipal recycling programmes, and low awareness of proper recycling practices, more than half of the material that could be recycled from US households is lost. However, the problem is not due to lack of desire: 94% of Americans want to recycle more, and would, with easily accessible recycling containers and clear information about proper recycling practices.
The Recycling Partnership estimates the “All In On Recycling” challenge will help the US capture 1.9 million tonnes of quality recyclable materials over the next five years, including 7 billion bottles and cans. This would result in a total greenhouse gas avoidance of 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of removing more than 1 million cars off the road for a year.
“We are thrilled with the PepsiCo Foundation’s generosity and leadership in creating a more sustainable future through recycling,” said Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. “The PepsiCo Foundation’s $10 million support not only allows us to make significant, measurable impact in communities, the environment, and people’s lives all over the country, but also sends a powerful industry-wide message that we can only transform recycling if we work together. Companies know that whilst they can be fierce competitors on the shelf, once their products hit the recycling cart, we’re all in this together.”
Half of the total funds raised by this challenge are expected to help provide: curbside carts to more than 550,000 households – a proven way to double the number of recyclables recovered; and the missing infrastructure needed to recover recyclables from multi-family homes such as apartment buildings and condos, which is one of the most challenging segments of the population to serve. The other half of the funding will support critical recycling education and operational programmes that will increase collection of recyclables whilst reducing contamination.
“We all must work to protect and reuse our world’s limited natural resources,” said Tim Carey, Senior Director of Sustainability at PepsiCo. “When it comes to US recycling, PepsiCo has a long history of working with stakeholders and investing to improve recycling rates, and we’ve learned a lot. Our holistic approach includes making packaging more sustainable and investing in infrastructure to make recycling easier and more convenient – all to get recyclable materials back and support a circular economy. I encourage everyone who wants to make a difference to join the challenge so that, together, we lift US recycling rates and close the loop.”
The plan is to utilise some of the funds raised from the bold initiative to provide recycling solutions across the country to cities such as Miami, Florida, and El Paso, Texas, as well as the State of Michigan and the Central Ohio region – to name a few places.
“On behalf of Central Ohio’s recycling programmes, we are grateful that The Recycling Partnership and the PepsiCo Foundation have created the All In On Recycling challenge,” said Ty Marsh, Executive Director, The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio. “Communities in Central Ohio still need funding for curbside recycling carts in order to provide the best possible access to recycling for our residents. We hope other major corporations join this challenge to reach $25 million in total funding so that thousands of cities and towns across the country can make improvements to their recycling systems.”
This largest-ever major residential recycling initiative is part of PepsiCo’s signature sustainability programme, Performance with Purpose, which aims to deliver sustainable, long-term growth whilst leaving a positive imprint on society and the environment. By 2025, PepsiCo’s goal is to design 100% of their packaging to be recyclable, compostable or, biodegradable; increase recycled materials in its plastic packaging; reduce packaging’s carbon impact; and, in partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation, work to increase recycling rates. Already PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation have invested approximately $55 million/£41.9 in recycling efforts in the US in the last 9 years alone.