Taco Bell will team up with Terracycle to recycle its hot sauce packets, with 8.2 billion sauce packets used in the U.S. each year. Taco Bell is the first QSR brand to partner with TerraCycle to tackle recycling flexible film packets. While the companies will announce details of a national U.S. recycling pilot program later this year, customer participation will reportedly be easy and will incorporate free shipping. TerraCycle is known for collecting traditionally non-recyclable materials, cleaning them, then melting and remolding them into hard plastic that can be used to make new recycled products.
"In the food industry today, there is no widely available solution for recycling the flexible film packets that are so commonly used for condiments," saysd Liz Matthews, Taco Bell's global chief food innovation officer. "So, we're thrilled to leverage the expertise of TerraCycle to recycle our iconic sauce packet packaging in a way that's as bold and innovative as our menu."
According to Taco Bell, the ability to recycle sauce packets is very important in achieving its goal of making all consumer-facing packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 in restaurants across the globe. The pilot launch is slated to take place later this year and its results will determine the most viable solutions moving forward, including potential program expansion.
"Now more than ever, consumers don't want to sacrifice the planet no matter how delicious the meal," says TerraCycle CEO and founder, Tom Szaky. "Together, Taco Bell and TerraCycle will push the quick service industry by finally finding a way to recycle this type of product. This effort takes us one step closer to keeping packets out of landfills and our mission of 'Eliminating the Idea of Waste.'"
For customers who may already be eager to recycle their sauce packets, there are steps they currently can take to leave a lighter footprint. Be sure to check the specific recycling and composting guidelines of your local municipality when disposing packaging, and if you don't use each packet from your Taco Bell order, save it for later to add some kick to other meals.