Taco Bell Becomes First in Industry to Recycle Hot Sauce Packets Through New Collaboration

The initiative is a first in the quick service restaurant industry and will give new life to the single-use hot sauce packets at Taco Bell

Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Taco Bell

Taco Bell is collaborating with international recycling leader TerraCycle to give its sauce packets a second life that doesn't involve a landfill.

According to Taco Bell, fans know that the restaurant chain has a mild obsession with its hot sauce packets, with 8.2 billion sauce packets used in the U.S. each year.

Taco Bell is the first quick service restaurant brand to partner with TerraCycle to tackle recycling flexible film packets.

The companies will announce details of a national U.S. recycling pilot program later this year, Taco Bell said.

According to Taco Bell, customer participation will be easy and will involve 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," Liz Matthews, Taco Bell's Global Chief Food Innovation Officer, said. "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."

The pilot launch of the program slated to take place later this year, and its results will determine how to move forward, including potential program expansion.

"Now more than ever, consumers don't want to sacrifice the planet no matter how delicious the meal," TerraCycle CEO and Founder, Tom Szaky, said. "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.'"

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