The Recycling Partnership And PepsiCo Foundation Reach $25M Funding Goal One Year Into Five-Year Challenge

Posted On: 11/4/2019

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PURCHASE, NY -- PepsiCo announced that The Recycling Partnership's All In On Recycling challenge, the largest-ever industry-led residential recycling challenge in the United States, has raised $25 million in a little more than a year since its launch in July 2018.

The All In On Recycling challenge seeks to make recycling easier for more than 25 million U.S. families and support a circular economy with investments in infrastructure and education. Currently, due to a lack of infrastructure, widely varying municipal recycling programs and low awareness of proper recycling practices, more than half of the materials that could be recycled from U.S. households are lost.

Funds raised from the challenge are helping cities invest in new infrastructure, like curbside carts, which are a proven way to double the number of recyclables recovered. The Recycling Partnership has found that in some places, only one of every four aluminum cans and one out of every three water bottles ends up in a recycling bin. In comparison, the total amount of materials collected from a single home can increase as much as 120 lbs. per year with a switch from a small bin to a larger cart, according to The Recycling Partnership.

Funding is also supporting education programs to teach residents what can and cannot be recycled. Education can help prevent residents from "wishcycling" -- tossing items that seem recyclable in with their household recycling, which can damage recycling machines and contaminate other recyclables.

"When The Recycling Partnership and PepsiCo launched this challenge a year ago, we recognized the need for significant collective action to improve recycling in the U.S., and we are pleased to see our partners and peers step up and lend support to this effort," said PepsiCo chief sustainability officer Simon Lowden,. "However, this is only the beginning, and we must continue to work together to create the scale of change needed to strengthen our recycling system. This is critical to reduce waste that ends up in our oceans and environments, to meet the growing demand for recycled content that powers the circular economy and to support a more sustainable future."

Over the past year, through the All In On Recycling challenge, The Recycling Partnership has made investments to improve recycling programs in Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Texas and New Jersey, and will expand to North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee and others in the next year. To date, nearly 115,000 carts have been distributed or are in the process of going to households across the country as a result of this effort - significant progress towards the challenge's five-year goal to distribute carts to more than 550,000 households. The new carts are expected to capture 55 million lbs. of new recyclables per year. Additionally, it's estimated that the efforts to help Americans recycle more and recycle better will reach more than 19 million households within the next year.

Announced in July 2018, the All In On Recycling challenge was kickstarted with an initial $10 million in funding from The PepsiCo Foundation. Over the past year, $15 million in support has been raised from major companies and organizations across a wide variety of industries, including Alcoa Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive and Target. In addition to these contributions, more than 2,800 communities are expected to participate in the initiative, which will triple the collective investment, catalyzing roughly $75 million in municipal funding and bringing the total amount of support to $100 million. Currently, more than $12 million in municipal funding has been invested in U.S. recycling as a result of the challenge, with more in the pipeline.

The Recycling Partnership estimates this challenge will ultimately result in a total greenhouse gas avoidance of 5.5 million tons of CO2, which equates to the removal of more than 1 million cars from the road for a year. The projected 1.9 million tons of quality recyclable materials, including 7 billion bottles and cans will make this possible.

The PepsiCo Foundation's All In On Recycling challenge is part of PepsiCo's commitment to build a world where plastics need never become waste - focused on reducing the amount of plastics used, boosting recycling rates and reinventing plastic packaging.

As part of this effort, PepsiCo announced earlier this year that its premium water brand Lifewtr will be packaged in 100% rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) in the U.S., as the company's Naked Juice brand currently is. Additionally, its sparkling water brand bubly will no longer be packaged in plastic starting in 2020, and its Aquafina water will be available in aluminum cans in U.S. foodservice outlets while the brand tests the move to retail. PepsiCo has committed to make 100%of its packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025. In September, the company accelerated its plastic waste reduction efforts, announcing a new target to reduce 35% of virgin plastic content across its beverage portfolio by 2025, which equates to the elimination of 2.5 million metric tons of cumulative virgin plastic.