The PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the company, and national nonprofit The Recycling Partnership, announced that their All In On Recycling challenge has raised $25 million in a little more than one year since its launch in July 2018.
The All In On Recycling challenge seeks to make recycling easier for more than 25 million U.S. families and support a circular economy with investments in infrastructure and education. Due to a lack of infrastructure, widely varying municipal recycling programs and low awareness of proper recycling practices, more than half of the materials that could be recycled from U.S. households are lost.
Funds raised from the challenge are helping cities invest in new infrastructure, like curbside carts, which are a proven way to double the number of recyclables recovered. The Recycling Partnership has found that in some places, only one of every four aluminum cans and one out of every three water bottles ends up in a recycling bin. In comparison, the total amount of materials collected from a single home can increase as much as 120 pounds per year with a switch from a small bin to a larger cart, according to The Recycling Partnership.
Funding is also supporting education programs to teach residents what can and cannot be recycled. Education can help prevent residents from “wishcycling” — tossing items that seem recyclable in with their household recycling, which can damage recycling machines and contaminate other recyclables.
“When The Recycling Partnership and PepsiCo launched this challenge a year ago, we recognized the need for significant collective action to improve recycling in the U.S., and we are pleased to see our partners and peers step up and lend support to this effort,” said Simon Lowden, chief sustainability officer at PepsiCo. “However, this is only the beginning, and we must continue to work together to create the scale of change needed to strengthen our recycling system. This is critical to reduce waste that ends up in our oceans and environments, to meet the growing demand for recycled content that powers the circular economy and to support a more sustainable future.”
Over the past year, through the challenge, The Recycling Partnership has made investments to improve recycling programs in Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Texas and New Jersey, and will expand to North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee and others in the next year. To date, nearly 115,000 carts have been distributed or are in the process of going to households across the country as a result of this effort — significant progress towards the challenge’s five-year goal to distribute carts to more than 550,000 households. The new carts are expected to capture 55 million pounds of new recyclables per year. It's estimated that the efforts to help Americans recycle more and recycle better will reach more than 19 million households within the next year.