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PepsiCo Recycling Program in Latin America Offers Ecoin Incentives to Consumers

PepsiCo has launched an initiative to promote recycling across Latin America and the Caribbean. The company will use consumer incentives and a rewards program in the hopes of increasing recycling; the program, “Recycling with a Purpose,” will be expanded to 10 countries in Latin America over the next two years, the company says.

PepsiCo Latin America is partnering with ecoins, an initiative that was founded in Costa Rica that aims to increase the collection of PET materials. The program allows consumers to exchange their plastic materials for ecoins, a virtual currency, which they can then use to earn discounts on a variety of products and services. Ecoins was launched in 2018 in response to an increasing demand from consumers to be active in solving environmental problems – particularly in countries that lack an adequate system of separation, collection and recovery of waste.

PepsiCo is focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean in part because recycling rates there are significantly below the global average.

“Recycling with Purpose” has three components: a consumer incentive approach that helps educate and involve consumers in recycling; partnerships with civil society organizations that promote inclusive recycling; and efforts to strengthen the local recycling industry. PepsiCo says the program supports its global commitment to building “a world where plastics need never become waste.”

More than half of the plastics ever produced have been made in the past 16 years, and of those produced each year, only 5% are effectively recycled for future use, PepsiCo says. The company strives to transform 100% of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025, increase recycled materials in plastic packaging, reduce the packaging’s carbon impact, and increase recycling rates with the PepsiCo Foundation and partners.

PepsiCo’s announcement follows on the heels of a recycling commitment from rival food-and-bev giant, Coca-Cola. That company’s philanthropic arm, the Coca-Cola Foundation, announced last week that it is awarding $5.4 million in charitable grants to fund community recycling pilots in seven cities across the United States. This includes $4 million for a three-year program with the Recycling Partnership in Atlanta.

Coca-Cola’s philanthropic arm gave funding to the Recycling Partnership, the Green Blue Institute, Keep Houston Beautiful, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Foundation for pilots in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Houston as well as Essex County, New Jersey, Long Beach, California, and Orange County, Florida.

In each pilot city, local partners will work together to identify barriers to recycling on a local level and to “test a range of solutions,” said Carlos Pagoaga, group director of community partnerships for the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Atlanta has already completed a successful pilot. The national nonprofit organization Recycling Partnership, with funding from Coca-Cola North America, reached 5,000 households for a recycling education project in 2017. Now, with the new grant, the organization plans to expand the city program to 10,000 households over the next three years.

Street teams will go to every zip code in the city and look at recycling bins. Team members “tag” each bin with a card that informs residents what they can and can’t recycle.

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