There’s a flurry of activity this week, as several heavy-hitters announce moves that promise big ripple effects in the plastics and packaging space.
PepsiCo, Inc. today announced a multi-year supply agreement with Loop Industries, Inc., a leading technology innovator in sustainable plastic, that will enable PepsiCo to purchase production capacity from Loop’s joint venture facility in the US and incorporate Loop™ PET plastic, which is 100 percent recycled material, into its product packaging by early 2020.
As the demand for sustainable packaging solutions continues to grow, Loop Industries has emerged with truly transformational technology that allows no- and low-value plastics to be diverted, recovered and recycled endlessly into new, virgin-quality Loop™ PET plastic. This innovation allows plastic bottles and packaging of any color, transparency or condition; carpet, clothing and other polyester textiles that may contain colors, dyes or additives; and even ocean plastics that have been degraded by sun and salt to meet FDA requirements for use in food-grade packaging.
As one of the largest purchasers of recycled PET plastic in the consumer goods space, PepsiCo has identified Loop™ PET as a commercially viable technology to expand the amount of recycled content in its product packaging and help meet its sustainability ambitions and consumer needs. This agreement aligns with PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose vision and highlights the company’s commitment to adopt different and creative approaches to the challenges of plastics and waste.
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“We are very proud to supply PepsiCo with Loop™ branded PET plastic,” said Daniel Solomita, founder and CEO of Loop Industries. “Working with a global food and beverage giant like PepsiCo will further establish the value proposition of the Loop brand and mission — to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable plastic and away from the traditional take, make and dispose economy.”
Designed to be easier to use and lighter to ship, the new Seventh Generation EasyDose™ Ultraconcentrated Laundry Detergent, now available on Amazon.com, incorporates several innovative new features, including:
- One-of-a-kind packaging: The new 23oz, transparent bottle is made of 100 percent recycled PET and is a first of its kind for mainstream laundry, made with 60 percent less plastic and 50 percent less water compared to the standard 100oz detergent bottle, enabling significant energy and materials savings. The bottle — which weighs a mere 1.6 pounds (75 percent less than the standard 100oz bottle), still delivers the same number of loads and makes it much easier for consumers to lift, pour and store.
- A simpler pour: The product features EasyDose™ — a new auto-dosing technology imbedded in the cap, which automatically stops the liquid flow once the proper amount of detergent is dispensed. It’s made with a proprietary compression chamber technology designed to deliver the right amount every time.
- Small dose, big clean: Seventh Generation developed a unique, plant-based and ultra-concentrated formula that is 99 percent bio-based and provides enough liquid detergent for 66 loads.
Launching as an eCommerce exclusive, the EasyDose™ Ultraconcentrated Laundry Detergent was also designed with optimal shipping efficiency in mind. The new smaller and lighter packaging allows for less damage while in transit and more efficient shipping due to its light weight.
“It’s imperative that we seek ways to lessen our impact on the planet, which is why we’ve reinvented the laundry bottle,” said Joey Bergstein, Chief Executive Officer of Seventh Generation. “We need to challenge the status quo in the industry, and EasyDose™ does just that. Imagine the unnecessary waste saved if we can eventually replace all 100oz laundry bottles sold both online and in store with this ultraconcentrate.”
Meanwhile, Closed Loop Fund (CLF) — of which PepsiCo is a member — announced today it is closer to closing the loop on plastic packaging in California, with a $1.5M investment in rPlanet Earth‘s first plant, located in Vernon CA. rPlanet Earth is the world’s first completely vertically integrated manufacturer of post-consumer recycled PET (rPET) and multiple high-rPET-content packaging products under a single roof, creating a much-needed market for PET packaging collected from curbside recycling programs across the state.
In addition to the CLF investment, rPlanet Earth also received a $3 million grant and $4 million in loans from California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).
“California needs more projects like this to overcome current global market challenges, which can be greatly alleviated by building a more robust recycling infrastructure within our own state,” said Scott Smithline, director of CalRecycle. “We’re pleased to see the private sector join us in these efforts, and encourage manufacturers to also help at the front end by reducing waste and improving product recyclability to further support recyclers and the markets they serve.”
As Ellen Martin, CLF’s VP of Impact, pointed out: “Recycling is good business if the infrastructure is optimized and markets are local. We are committed to investing our capital on the West Coast to help create jobs and rebuild America’s recycling markets. rPlanet Earth helps bring a closed loop solution for everyday plastic packaging to California.”
Products and packaging made with post-consumer recycled content are increasingly a global priority for the world’s largest consumer brands and retailers, including Closed Loop’s investors.
Using PET from California’s municipal recycling programs as feedstock, the Vernon facility will produce high-quality bottle preforms, thermoformed containers for deli and produce applications, and other packaging that exceed the Food & Drug Administration’s requirements for direct food contact applications.
According to Bob Daviduk, co-CEO of rPlanet Earth: “This announcement is just the beginning. By 2020, we plan to install a second parallel production line that will, by volume, make the plant the largest food grade rPET plant in the U.S and one of the largest in the world.”
rPlanet Earth will employ about 135 employees and process about 90 million pounds of post-consumer PET per year, with operations of the first post-consumer PET recycling and packaging manufacturing line commencing during Q4 2018. With the addition of the second production line, the company expects to employ 250 or more full-time employees and process at least 180 million pounds per year of post-consumer PET.
Due to rPlanet’s vertically integrated and streamlined manufacturing process, the company says the carbon footprint associated with its packaging will be the lowest in the industry. It estimates that every ton of PET recycled at its Vernon facility will help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 metric tons of CO2 — the equivalent of not using almost 6 barrels of oil for every ton of rPlanet Earth’s products.