- The new investment will help upgrade recycling infrastructure in the United States to increase access to recovered packaging materials.
- In October 2021, the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo were named as top plastic polluters for the fourth year in a row.
PURCHASE, N.Y., Dec. 14, 2021 – PepsiCo Beverages North America has announced a $15 million investment in Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund, a private equity fund that acquires and grows companies, including in the packaging value chain, to strengthen recycling infrastructure and build circular supply chains that keep materials out of landfills. This latest announcement comes after Pepsico was named in October as one of the globe’s top plastic polluters for the fourth year in a row, and does not significantly move the needle on the issue of ocean debris.
In the Break Free from Plastic campaign, global beach cleanups were carried out by more than 11,000 volunteers in 45 countries to identify the most common plastic polluters. This year’s Brand Audit found nearly 20,000 Coca-Cola branded products, which represents more pollution than the next two top polluters combined—as has been the case each year since 2019. This suggests that Coca-Cola’s pledge to collect one bottle for every one sold is having little impact on the company’s plastic pollution.
PepsiCo also remains one of the top three plastic polluters for the third year in a row. Despite the company’s recent voluntary commitments to halve the use of virgin plastic by 2030, PepsiCo will need to make a more ambitious shift to reusable containers in order to move down the list, Break Free from Plastic noted, given the sheer volume of PepsiCo branded plastic pollution being collected around the world.
Pepsico has not responded to a request to comment on the Break Free from Plastic audit results. The company continues, however, to take modest steps toward sustainability.
“The recycling landscape in America continues to be challenging, and as companies – including PepsiCo – set ambitious goals to use more recycled content in their packaging, there is more need than ever for partnerships and action to increase access to recycled material,” said Jason Blake, Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP at PepsiCo Beverages North America. “Through PepsiCo Positive, our end-to-end strategic transformation agenda, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We are honored to expand our partnership with Closed Loop Partners through this investment to advocate for and advance the necessary work that is being done to transform the recycling system.”
“Demand for recycled materials in packaging is growing at an unprecedented rate, signaling an opportunity for greater investment in the recycling infrastructure that keeps these commodities in play. At Closed Loop Partners, we are committed to strengthening the circular systems that make this possible,” says Ron Gonen, Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “PepsiCo’s investment in the Closed Loop Leadership Fund builds on its existing partnership with our firm, setting a clear path forward for the food and beverage industry to advance circular supply chains for packaging. We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with PepsiCo and the beverage industry in building a more waste-free world.”
PepsiCo says that the investment reinforces its desire to create a world where packaging never becomes waste and the company’s plans to increase recycling rates in the United States, while simultaneously unlocking access to incremental recycled plastic supply. It aims to help propel progress against PepsiCo’s target to cut virgin plastic from non-renewable sources across our food and beverage portfolios by 50% by 2030.
In the U.S., all Pepsi-branded products are expected to be converted to 100% rPET bottles by 2030, with Pepsi Zero Sugar beginning to be sold in 100% rPET bottles by 2022. As shared in the 2020 Sustainability Report, PepsiCo reported that 87% of its packaging is recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable and this investment with Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund will only help to drive even more collection of these valuable materials for use in our packaging.
PepsiCo has a long history of partnering with Closed Loop Partners to make strides on material recovery and infrastructure advancements:
- In 2014, PepsiCo became a founding member of the Closed Loop Fund, now known as the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund, which has provided investments that cities, counties, and businesses in the U.S. use to take the steps necessary to move recycling to the next level, including new trucks for pick-up/hauling and cutting-edge technology to make materials recovery facilities work more efficiently.
- Through American Beverage’s Every Bottle Back Initiative, PepsiCo is an investor in the Closed Loop Partners’ Beverage Fund, which seeks to improve the collection of the industry’s valuable plastic bottles so they can be made into new bottles using rPET. This fund partners with other beverage companies, as well as nonprofits and NGOs like The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund to reduce their plastic footprints, improve recycling access, provide education to residents, and modernize recycling infrastructure in communities across the country.
- In 2021, PepsiCo became a founding partner of Closed Loop Partners’ Composting Consortium, which brings together leading voices in the composting ecosystem in the United States to identify the best path forward to increase the recovery of compostable food packaging and drive toward circular outcomes.