Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA) announced a $35 million investment with Closed Loop Partners that will create the "Closed Loop Local Recycling Fund," an innovative circular economy initiative to advance new small-scale, modular recycling systems in communities across the United States, it says.

The fund aims to increase recycling in areas with no or limited access to recycling, reducing waste and unlocking a new supply of recycled plastic (rPET), among other valuable materials, to support PepsiCo's pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) sustainable packaging goals, it adds.

“As companies ― including PepsiCo ― set ambitious goals to use more recycled content in their packaging, there is more need than ever for partnerships and investments to increase recycling in the U.S.,” said Jason Blake, chief sustainability officer and senior vice president at PepsiCo Beverages North America, in a statement. “We need to develop the infrastructure that makes recycling available to more Americans so we can recover the high-quality material that can be used in our packaging.

“Through pep+, our end-to-end strategic transformation, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do,” he continues. “As the exclusive investor in the Closed Loop Local Recycling Fund, we are actively driving the changes needed to transform the U.S. recycling system and move towards a circular economy.”

Closed Loop Partners will use the investment to deploy small-scale modular Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in underserved communities that currently lack access to larger municipal MRFs, it says. The smaller, local MRFs lay the groundwork for the future of recycling, introducing a new way to meet and adapt to the various needs of communities across the United States, it adds.

“This first-of-a-kind investment from PepsiCo ushers in a new future for local recycling, empowering communities across rural America and small cities to reduce waste and harness the value of their recycled commodities,” said Ron Gonen, founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners, in a statement. “By closing the loop on these commodities, which can then re-enter local manufacturing supply chains, we are better equipping communities with the tools needed for resilience against a globally changing climate, while also creating new revenue opportunities and jobs. We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with PepsiCo to build and strengthen circular supply chains.”

The investment aims to support PepsiCo’s goal to cut virgin plastic from non-renewable sources across our food and beverage portfolios by 50% by 2030, the company says.

The announcement comes on the heels of a $15 million PBNA investment in Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund, a private equity fund that seeks to acquire and grow companies, including those in the packaging value chain; these investments are part of a long history of PepsiCo partnering with Closed Loop Partners.

As the Closed Loop Local Recycling Fund begins investing in community recycling, municipalities across the United States, as well as local haulers, can reach out to Closed Loop Partners if they are interested in exploring a small-scale, modular MRF in their community.