New versatile uses of packaging waste materials from potato chip packets may potentially help companies reduce their environmental impacts according to US-based recycling group Terracycle.
Terracycle, recycler and supplier of food and beverage packaging since 2003, claims a new partnership with Frito Lay highlights ongoing projects with some of most prominent global consumer goods groups to more provide mutually beneficial sustainability drives. Terracycle's Albe Zakes says chip packet waste materials have the potential to be used for various end-of-life applications like bags, pencil cases and even building products.
The new partnership comes at a time when snack groups are under growing pressure to reduce the environmental impacts of their operations in areas like landfill waste. Increasingly food companies are implementing environmental and sustainable practices into their packaging operations, such as using up to 100 per cent recycled content and using biodegradable materials.
A recent study from Freedonia confirms that demand for eco-friendly protective packaging in the US will grow 4.6 percent annually over the next four years.
TerraCycle is looking to entice a growing number of companies like Frito-Lay to join up to its ‘upcycling' program that encourages collections of packaging waste to be actively recycled into other consumer goods, reports BakeryandSnacks.com's Neil Merrett.
Zakes commented: "TerraCycle's upcycling programs takes what used to be single-use packaging sustainable by extending its life-cycle indefinitely: this benefits partners like Frito-Lay by allowing them to avoid incineration or landfill costs and by creating branded durable goods."
Besides applications in sewn goods, the company says that development is focusing on ways to bring even more value to crisp wrapper waste, with possible usages including making sustainable building materials reports Merrett.
"The greatest challenge is that none of this has ever been done! Naturally, this means finding ways to efficiently clean and prepare packages for reuse," said Zakes. "Waste management and recyclers have all written these packages off as single-use and non-recyclable, but we're redefining the category and what it means to be recyclable."
Cost saving potential
In working with consumer groups like Frito Lay, TerraCycle claims manufacturers that sign up to the scheme have been able to make certain savings in reducing waste packaging.
"Frito-Lay products are ubiquitous, and use a tremendous amount of packaging every day," says Zakes.
"This partnership allows TerraCycle to engage snackers across America, South America, and soon Europe, and gain their help in saving the environment."
As part of its cooperation with TerraCycle, Frito-Lay will supply funding to sponsor schemes like the Chip Bag Brigade, which encourages schools and non-profit organisations through cash incentives to collect and store crisp packets for collection by the group.
The funding is also used to partly run post-consumer collection programs and cover shipping and packaging costs, the company says.