Frito-Lay cooperation targets cost value from crisp packet waste
TerraCycle, a US-based supplier of products derived from packaging waste, claims a new partnership with snack group Frito Lay reflects ongoing work with some of the world’s leading consumer goods groups to more provide mutually beneficial sustainability drives.
With snack groups coming under growing pressure to reduce the environmental impacts of their operations in areas like landfill waste, TerraCycle’s Albe Zakes suggests crisp packets have major potential for numerous end-of-life applications.
Amidst a number of schemes being pursued by snack makers, TerraCycle is looking to entice a growing number of companies like Frito-Lay to join up to its ‘upcycling’ program that encourages collections of packaging waste to be actively recycled into other consumer goods.
“TerraCycle's upcycling programs takes what used to be single-use packaging sustainable by extending its life-cycle indefinitely,” says Zakes. “This benefits partners like Frito-Lay by allowing them to avoid incineration or landfill costs and by creating branded durable goods.”
Besides applications in sewn goods, the company says that development is ongoing on ways to bring even more value to crisp wrapper waste, with possible usages including making sustainable building materials.
“The greatest challenge is that none of this has ever been done! Naturally, this means finding ways to efficiently clean and prepare packages for reuse,” states Zakes. “Waste management and recyclers have all written these packages off as single-use and non-recyclable, but we're redefining the category and what it means to be recyclable.”
Cost saving potential
In working with consumer groups like Frito Lay, TerraCycle claims manufacturers that sign up to the scheme have been able to make certain savings in reducing waste packaging.
The company says, for example, that by taking Frito-Lay’s post-industrial packaging, which includes end-runs and misprints, the company can save itself money compared to regular disposable methods.
“Frito-Lay products are ubiquitous, and use a tremendous amount of packaging every day,” says Zakes. “This partnership allows TerraCycle to engage snackers across America, South America, and soon Europe, and gain their help in saving the environment.”
As part of its cooperation with TerraCycle, Frito-Lay will supply funding to sponsor schemes like the Chip Bag Brigade, which encourages schools and non-profit organisations through cash incentives to collect and store crisp packets for collection by the group.
The funding is also used to partly run post-consumer collection programs and cover shipping and packaging costs, the company says.
Zakes says the company has itself been recycling food and beverage packaging since 2003, when it began converting plastic bottles for soft drinks into a product called worm casting fertiliser. The group claims that it continues to look at innovative projects to expand the types of packaging that it converts, as well as applications for final use.
“Today, TerraCycle turns bottles into bird feeders and uses them to package our fertilisers, cleaners, and pet products,” states the company. “We turn other food packaging such as plastic bags, drink pouches, yoghurt cups, cookie wrappers and more into school supplies, fashion accessories, reusable tote bags, and soon green building supplies.”