PepsiCo Inc.'s Latin America operation is exploring the potential for pallets made with UBQ, a material made from unsorted household waste, that could soon replace the conventional pallets currently in use.
Developed by Israeli startup UBQ, the material is a thermoplastic converted from 100 percent unsorted municipal solid waste, including mixed plastics, paper, cardboard and organics, and is suitable to replace conventional polymers in various durable applications. In Brazil, PepsiCo is now exploring the use of this material in the production of "eco-pallets."
The pallets are being developed by PepsiCo's partner Ecoboxes Embalagens Plásticas, a company specialised in solutions focused on sustainability and circular economy.
With its smaller carbon footprint, the use of UBQ material in this initial project alone has been calculated to save the equivalent of more than 6,500 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of the annual carbon sequestration of 534 trees, according to UBQ. More than 739 kg of mixed waste will be redirected from landfills, to be reprocessed into new material
The first phase of the PepsiCo project will consist of the manufacture of 830 sustainable pallets for use in two of the company's logistics centers. Next to UBQ, the pallets will incorporate various recycled materials, including recycled PP resin and recycled biaxially oreinted PP, a plastic film used in the company's snack packing, which completes the circular economy cycle.
It is an exciting innovation for PepsiCo, said Raphael Cyjon, senior director of operations at PepsiCo LatAm. “Now we will go further, scale this solution in Brazil, Latin America and why not in other parts of the world.”
PepsiCo is also studying the possibility of implementing UBQ as a raw material for other applications across the supply chain. The company has set robust environmental goals that are part of its sustainable transformation agenda that include reducing GHG emissions by 40 percent in less than a decade and becoming Net-Zero by 2040.
Specific packaging targets include cutting virgin plastic by 50 percent across the entire food and beverage portfolio and using 50 percent recycled content in its plastic packaging by 2030; designing all packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable; and investing to increase recycling rates in key markets by 2025.