Peru has become the first country to implement PepsiCo’s Recycling with Purpose circular economy model. The program was announced earlier this year as one that would be rolled out in 10 countries over the next two years; Peru is the first to put the PepsiCo program into place, complete with a consumer engagement program and a push to involve grassroots recyclers to strengthen local recycling.
PepsiCo has been actively involved in the recycling arena in Latin America, and Recycling with Purpose incorporates the learnings from that involvement to help build a circular economy “where the plastics never become waste,” the PepsiCo Latin America says.
The company describes Recycling with Purpose as a circular economy model for Latin America based on consumer involvement and education, inclusive recycling, and strengthening of the local recycling industry.
In order to improve local recycling, the company says it must work with grassroots recyclers to help them become integrated into municipal waste management systems and involve them in the push for a circular economy. In this regard, PepsiCo Latin America has a long-standing partnership with the non-governmental organization Ciudad Saludable, a catalyst of the recycling ecosystem in Peru. Since 2008, Ciudad Saludable, with PepsiCo’s support, has trained 3,162 grassroots recyclers and 210 public workers, reaching 22 municipalities with access to environmental management tools.
PepsiCo’s nonprofit arm, The PepsiCo Foundation, has awarded a $2 million USD grant to Ciudad Saludable to support the inclusion of 1,000 grassroots recyclers in recycling collection routes across eight countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru). The program is also expected to indirectly benefit 800,000 people at the community level with improved recycling services and aims to collect 6,000 tons of recyclable materials.
By 2021, the company expects Recycling with Purpose to be operating in 10 countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Guatemala and Jamaica.
For the consumer portion of the program, 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, the company says.