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Behavior Change
PepsiCo Latin America’s ‘Recycling with Purpose’ Incentivizes Circular Consumer Practices

Launched on Global Recycling Day (March 18), the program focuses on the new consumer incentive and rewards program in alliance with ecoins, and will be expanded to 10 countries in Latin America over the next two years.

On Monday, in honor of Global Recycling Day, PepsiCo launched “Recycling with Purpose,” a circular economy model that promotes recycling across Latin America and the Caribbean. This initiative will support PepsiCo’s commitment to build a world where plastics need never become waste through a vision rooted in three pillars: reducing, recycling and reinventing.

More than half of the plastics ever produced have been made in the past 16 years, and of those produced each year, only five percent are effectively recycled for future use, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. PepsiCo says “Recycling with Purpose” encourages consumer involvement and education, promotes inclusive recycling through work with civil society organizations, and strengthens the local recycling industry.

For more than a decade, PepsiCo Latin America has worked to promote inclusive recycling by working with the recycling industry and civil society partners to ensure that recyclers and their associations are an integral part of its recycling efforts.

PepsiCo has ambitious goals for the circularity of its packaging — the food and beverage giant aims to transform 100 percent 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. Some highlights of the company’s progress include:

  • In PepsiCo Latin America Beverages (LAB), 92.9 percent of the materials used are recyclable. By 2025, 100 percent of its packaging will be recyclable.

  • Through its work with Danimer Scientific, PepsiCo is developing biodegradable packaging. This material is currently in pilot in Chile under the Artesanas brand.

The launch of “Recycling with Purpose” focuses on the new consumer incentive and rewards program in alliance with ecoins, an initiative that was founded in Costa Rica that aims to increase the collection of PET materials. Similar in concept to The Plastic Bank, 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.

“At PepsiCo, we understand that recycling rates across the food and beverage industry are insufficient. We are deeply committed to becoming part of the solution especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, where recycling rates are significantly below the global average,” said Laxman Narasimhan, PepsiCo Global CCO and CEO of PepsiCo Latin America. “Through this partnership with ecoins, we’re working to make sustainable plastic a reality in the region by creating a circular economy in which plastics become currency, not waste.”

To join the program and begin earning discounts, participants first create a virtual profile where they can use their email address to store ecoins in a virtual account. Participants can then take clean, dry, separated materials to collection centers where they will receive ecoins in exchange for the items.

"Ecoins was created in Costa Rica and launched in 2018 in response to an increasing demand from conscious consumers to be active in solving environmental problems in countries that lack an adequate system of separation, collection and recovery of waste,” said Karla Chaves, director of the program. “It integrates concepts such as discounts, loyalty, digital marketing, gamification, which are so familiar in our system of consumption, but from a new vision: that of the circular economy. The experience that ecoins offers is that of facilitating the consumer's learning of the process of the separation of valuable materials, while increasing the volume and profitability of the collection centers.¨

Through this partnership, PepsiCo will support the expansion of the ecoins platform to 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean over the next two years — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Guatemala and Jamaica. In 2019, PepsiCo estimates that ecoins will have 300,000 accounts and provide recycling awareness to nearly one million people through strategic social media campaigns covering seven countries.