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The Next Economy
PepsiCo’s Multi-Pronged ‘Recycling with Purpose’ Initiative Launches in Peru

The PepsiCo Foundation’s US$2M grant to Ciudad Saludable will support recyclers and their organizations to become part of the recycling system within the country.

As part of PepsiCo’s goal for plastics to never become waste, PepsiCo Latin America has been working for the last decade to foster inclusive recycling in the region. Earlier this year, the company launched “Recycling with Purpose,” a circular economy model for Latin America based on consumer involvement and education, inclusive recycling and strengthening of local recycling industries. Today, Peru becomes the first country to implement the program.

“PepsiCo wants to be part of the solution and will work continuously to build a world where the plastics never become waste. For the past 10 years, we have been actively involved in the recycling arena in Latin America, and Recycling with Purpose incorporates the learnings acquired in this journey.” said Luis Montoya, President of PepsiCo Latin America Beverages. “Nevertheless, we acknowledge that we can’t close the loop alone — and beyond the improvements we are making to our own food and beverage packaging, it is imperative that we engage the consumer to increase material collection and boost recycling rates through the inclusion of grassroots recyclers with Ciudad Saludable.”

The first component of the Recycling with Purpose platform is an innovative consumer engagement program, with the potential to scale for the region. Through a partnership with ecoins — an initiative founded in Costa Rica that aims to increase the collection of PET materials in exchange for ecoins, a virtual currency — consumers in Peru can now earn discounts on a variety of products and services, in exchange for the collection of recyclable materials, including PET. The ecoins partnership aims to reach 1 million people with recycling awareness in its first year of operation across the region.

“As we lack recycling infrastructure in so many countries throughout the region, we need to involve consumers to make recycling sustainable, and ecoins is the ideal method by which to do so,” said Karla Chavez, Regional Director at ecoins. “Our partnership with PepsiCo, which goes beyond just funding to include knowledge sharing, will allow consumer education to truly reach the masses and make an impact with both short and long-term potential.”  

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The second component of the platform is including grassroots recyclers as an integral part of the circular economy model (similar to what The Body Shop is now doing in India). In this regard, PepsiCo Latin America has a long-standing partnership with the nonprofit Ciudad Saludable, a catalyst of the recycling ecosystem in Peru. Since 2008, PepsiCo has supported Ciudad Saludable in the training of 3,162 grassroots recyclers and 210 public workers, reaching 22 municipalities with access to environmental management tools. Moreover, 2,360 grassroots recyclers and 48 recycling associations were formalized, enabling them to be integrated into municipal waste management systems, generating increased income, obtaining access to financial services, and achieving improved quality of work and life.

Today, The PepsiCo Foundation is announcing 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.

“We have had a longstanding relationship with PepsiCo because they are committed to inclusive recycling and have dedicated over a decade to working alongside us to find solutions,” said Paloma Roldan, Executive Director at Ciudad Saludable. “We have our work cut out for us, and this grant from The PepsiCo Foundation will be vital to continue including grassroots recyclers as key actors of the recycling system and to move towards a circular economy in the region.”

The third component of Recycling with Purpose focuses on working with the local recycling industry to strengthen the recycling system and increase the availability of recycled materials.

By 2021, PepsiCo expects Recycling with Purpose to be operating in 10 countries in Latin America — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Guatemala and Jamaica. PepsiCo estimates that in its first year of operation, ecoins will have 300,000 accounts and provide recycling awareness to nearly one million people in the region. In addition, through the $2 million grant to Ciudad Saludable at least 1,000 recyclers will be integrated into the circular economy model by 2021. Recycling with Purpose aims to collect 6,000 tons of recyclable materials per year across the region.

Thankfully, this isn’t Peru’s first exposure to waste-saving on a grand scale: In April, Peruvian sustainable tourism and development group Inkaterra announced that an ongoing partnership with beverage giant AJE Group — which instituted plastic and organic waste management methods throughout the city of Machu Picchu Pueblo (aka Aguas Calientes) — made it the first Latin American city to manage 100 percent of its solid waste.