August 31, 2021


PepsiCo, Walmart and Sam’s Club pilot new recycling program in Oklahoma

PepsiCo Beverages North America, Walmart and Sam’s Club are piloting a new program to increase recycling awareness and participation in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Tulsa-area shoppers can bring their beverage containers to be recycled Thursday to Sunday at two Walmart and two Sam’s Club locations all in Tulsa.

“We routinely work with a broad group of partners, including industry peers, nonprofit organizations, companies throughout the plastics supply chain and individual people to drive change,” says Tom Mooradian, senior manager of Environmental Sustainability at PepsiCo. “This is a case where our strengths and capabilities are able to complement each other to enable us to provide a powerful and hopefully impactful solution.

"We chose to launch the pilot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, because, like many other cities, opportunities for people to recycle in that area haven’t been as widespread as we would like to see. Our goal is to directly address areas that need to provide more opportunities for people to recycle, and we hope this is just the beginning.”

Through the partnership, those four stores will provide on-site recycling services. Mooradian says the stores will collect polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and aluminum beverage containers. The stores will feature trailers and visible signage in the parking lots to invite shoppers to drop off PET bottles and aluminum cans Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each trailer has different slots for PET bottles and aluminum cans.

“Our hope is to produce really high-quality bales of each material with very minimal contamination,” Mooradian says.

As the trailers fill up, he adds that the pilot program’s partner, Replenysh, will take collected materials to local recycling facilities, where they will be baled and shipped to processors.

“We are very excited about the ability to verify where each load goes and close the loop by incorporating the material back into our supply chain," Mooradian says. "This will help advance PepsiCo’s goal to use 25 percent recycled content in all of our plastic packaging globally by 2025.”

Shoppers also will be incentivized to participate by earning rewards and prizes each week by using the Replenysh app. Mooradian says after five unique visits to drop off recyclables, shoppers can receive a $5 credit to the store.

According to a news release from PepsiCo Beverages North America, Oklahoma has one mixed recycling facility to serve the state’s 4 million residents. Providing on-site recycling at these four locations will help to build out a decentralized recycling network to make recycling more accessible for Oklahoma residents.

Mooradian adds, “It is particularly exciting to be able to partner with our largest customer, Walmart/Sam’s Club, to develop highly visible and convenient new recycling locations in places where recycling opportunities are otherwise scarce.”

PepsiCo reports that the collection of these recyclables at these stores will become part of a closed loop, maximizing recycling convenience and increasing access to clean recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET). The company says this ultimately supports a circular economy and helps to advance the shared mission of PepsiCo, Sam’s Club and Walmart to achieve 100 percent recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. Mooradian says 87 percent of PepsiCo’s packaging is currently recyclable where facilities exist, compostable or biodegradable. He adds that Walmart and Sam’s Club hit 62 percent of its private brand packaging as being recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable.

“This pilot serves as a way to bring recycling to more individuals, helping to increase the amount of recycled plastics we can turn back into bottles, directly driving progress toward our goals,” he adds. “We are working to plug the holes in current recycling systems and establish new, more convenient or effective models where possible. This particular pilot is a great example of something that we are testing in hopes of scaling to provide a much greater impact in the future. Our intent for this pilot is to test the approach, determine how much impact it can make and hopefully expand it to make our broader efforts to create a closed-loop system in which our bottles and cans get to become new bottles and cans multiple times.”


Related articles