PepsiCo to use household waste to develop sustainable pallets

PepsiCo has announced the use of UBQ material developed by the Israeli start-up of the same name to develop a sustainable pallet that uses unsorted household waste, including organics, in its composition.

During the manufacturing process of UBQ material, waste is diverted and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are prevented. In this initial project alone, the material implementation saves the equivalent of more than 6,500 kg of GHG emissions – the equivalent of the annual carbon sequestration of 534 trees*. More than 739 kg of mixed waste will be redirected from landfills, looped back into the material as a valuable resource. The pallets are developed by PepsiCo’s partner Ecoboxes Embalagens Plásticas, which specializes in solutions focused on sustainability and circular economy.

The UBQ material is a bio-based thermoplastic converted from 100 per cent unsorted municipal solid waste, including mixed plastics, paper, cardboard, and organics, and is suitable to substitute conventional polymers in various durable applications.

The first phase of the PepsiCo project includes the manufacturing of 830 ecological pallets for use in two of the company’s logistics centres. In addition to UBQ™, the pallets are made from recycled materials that include recycled PP resin and recycled BOPP (a plastic film used in the company’s snack packaging), which completes the circular economy cycle.

Raphael Cyjon, Senior Director of Operations at PepsiCo LatAm, said: “This innovation is very exciting for PepsiCo because it helps us on our journey through materials that replace virgin plastic while at the same time working on CO2 reduction. In addition, this is a differentiated material because it represents an alternative to the chain as a whole, especially with regard to collection, sorting, transportation and final disposal in landfills. Now we will go further, scale this solution in Brazil, Latin America and why not in other parts of the world.”

Also being studied is the possibility of implementing UBQ as a raw material for other applications across the supply chain, demonstrating the commitment of PepsiCo and its partners in the search for solutions that help accelerate its ESG agenda.

Commitment to the planet

PepsiCo has set robust environmental goals that are part of its sustainable transformation agenda, PepsiCo Positive (pep+). These include reducing GHG emissions by 40% in less than a decade and becoming Net-Zero by 2040. In packaging, it also has global objectives that guide it in concrete actions in search of a world where plastic does not become garbage.

They include cutting virgin plastic by 50% across the entire food and beverage portfolio and using 50% recycled content in its plastic packaging by 2030; designing 100% of packaging to be recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable; and investing to increase recycling rates in key markets by 2025.

*These values were calculated using GWP20 (global warming potential over a 20-year time period)

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