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PepsiCo trials 50% recycled plastic flexible packaging for Sunbites brand in cross-industry collaboration

#PepsiCo trials 50% recycled plastic flexible packaging for Sunbites brand in cross-industry collaboration

15 Mar 2024 — Flexible food packaging supply chain partners have come together to introduce a premium-quality snack pack for PepsiCo’s Sunbites brand in the UK and Ireland. The new packaging, crafted with 50% recycled plastic derived through an advanced recycling process, is part of PepsiCo Positive (pep+), the company’s end-to-end transformation strategy.

“We are excited about Sunbites’ new packaging in the UK, and we look forward to learning from this pilot market and expanding it across more countries in the near future,” says Archana Jagannathan, chief sustainability officer at PepsiCo Europe.

“Collaboration is key to progress on our ambition to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastic in all our crisp and chip packaging in Europe by the end of 2030.”

The project involved a coordinated effort among various stakeholders along the flexible food packaging supply chain, including GreenDot, Ineos, Irplast and Amcor.

Packaging value chain
GreenDot, facilitates the sourcing and supply of post-consumer plastic packaging waste, which is transformed into Tacoil (pyrolysis oil) generated by UK recycling specialist Plastic Energy.

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“GreenDot has announced a new ambition in Europe to recycle more plastic post-consumer waste into quality circular polymers for food plastic packaging. Next to our goal of becoming a feedstock provider for advanced recycling, GreenDot is acting as an enabler of providing pyrolysis oil, working with partners to return plastic waste currently lost from the value chain back into the recycling loop together with our partners,” says Laurent Auguste, GreenDot’s CEO.

Ineos Olefins & Polymers Europe leverages the pyrolysis oil as an alternative to conventional fossil feedstock, creating virgin-quality recycled PP resin at its Lavera, France plant.

“Successfully producing high quality, food contact packaging from plastic waste demonstrates that alongside mechanical recycling, advanced recycling is vital for creating materials that can be used in demanding applications,” shares Rob Ingram, CEO at Ineos Olefins & Polymers Europe North.

“We look forward to working with partners to leverage the range of solutions our business has invested in to accelerate packaging circularity. Examples include our Recycl-IN hybrid polymer range and new pilot line for fully recyclable machine-direction orientation films.”

Food safe certified
Irplast uses the Ineos resin to fashion plastic packaging films boasting 50% PCR materials, meeting food contact performance standards. Amcor subsequently transforms these films into printed packaging that met the exacting standards set by PepsiCo.

“We are building a future where flexible packaging is part of the circular economy. Together with PepsiCo, we enhanced the material technologies on PepsiCo’s new crisp packet to make it easier to recycle,” remarks Gerald Rebitzer, sustainability director at Amcor.

“We are beginning to integrate renewable and recycled content into PepsiCo’s packaging. To meet the demands of our clients like PepsiCo, we encourage more partners upstream to invest in the supply chains of these new materials.”

The certification of the recycled polymer content under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC Plus) scheme underscores the packaging’s eco-credentials.

The partners detail that the achievement demonstrates that advanced recycling technologies can play a “critical role in meeting the growing demand for the safe, circular use of recycled materials in food contact products, helping the EU to achieve its 10% recycled content objective for contact-sensitive plastic packaging by 2030.”

Edited by Radhika Sikaria

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