The snacking giant also hopes the facility will be the catalyst to actively change industry standards by educating partners and stakeholders on the benefits of transitioning to compostable packaging and biodegradable materials.
While sustainability has been at the heart of PepsiCo for numerous decades, it officially formalised its role in 2021 with the announcement of the PepsiCo Positive strategy. An end-to-end transformation, pep+ focuses on three essential pillars, namely Positive Agriculture, Positive Value Chain and Positive Choices.
The facility – the first of its kind for PepsiCo (globally) and situated at the snacking giant’s R&D headquarters in Plano, Texas – represents a key milestone in its pep+ goal to design 100% of packaging that is recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable by 2025.
“Our sustainable packaging vision is to build a world where packaging need never becomes waste,” said Denise Lefebvre, senior VP of R&D for PepsiCo.
“We’re actively changing our own compostable snack packaging technologies.
“By sharing these technologies, we’re inviting the industry to make these changes as well. We are prioritising, investing in and expediting projects to build a more circular, inclusive economy.”
Driving the industry forward
PepsiCo’s R&D packaging team will use the Greenhouse Learning Centre to test the biodegradation properties of compostable packages in different environments to accelerate learnings and validate lab results through real-time experiments, especially as packaging formulations are improved and iterate packaging solutions faster.
It is also intended to enable packaging products to move from testing to certification-ready at least two to three times faster in an effort to drive not only the business but the entire industry forward.
“We look forward to leveraging key findings from the Greenhouse Learning Centre, alongside our scale, reach and expertise across North America and globally, to drive progress across our organisation and the entire industry,” said David Allen, chief sustainability officer, Frito-Lay and Quaker.
“We must work together to inspire positive change for the planet and people, and Frito-Lay and Quaker are proud to be leading the way.”
The centre complements PepsiCo’s existing prototyping lab where its R&D teams have been hard at work for many years to improve the packaging process. After releasing the world’s first 100% commercially compostable chip bags in 2010, Frito-Lay and Quaker continue to make progress in evolving its compostable packaging.
Building on learnings from the launch of next-generation, commercially compostable packaging for its Off The Eaten Path brand, PepsiCo’s expert team has also developed options made from 85% renewable plant materials that produce approximately 60% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than traditional snack bags.
Moving forward, the company will be focused on home-compostable packaging and packaging that’s biodegradable.
Research conducted at the Greenhouse Learning Centre will play a key role.