Popular fast food chain, Taco Bell, is already a plant-based eater’s dream come true. Making planet-friendly swaps is a cinch, like being able to order something “Fresco style” and have all the dairy ingredients (like cheese and mayo) replaced with diced tomatoes. The chain is also working on a meatless taco. But its latest initiative is something that might surprise you: A hot sauce packet recycling program.
Taco Bell has officially launched its nationwide pilot program with TerraCycle, an international recycling leader that collects traditionally non-recyclable items and gives them new life. The partnership is part of an industry-wide solution to help recycle the 8.2 billion sauce packets that are used—and ultimately tossed into landfills—each year.
While Taco Bell’s sauce packets are beloved by many, but the single-use flexible film materials used to create them are harmful to the planet. The fast-food chain has a goal to “make all consumer-facing packaging recyclable, compostable, or reusable by 2025 in its restaurants across the globe,” and this is a great first step in the right direction.
“Now more than ever, consumers don’t want to sacrifice the planet no matter how delicious the meal,” said Tom Szaky, the CEO and founder of TerraCycle, in a press release. “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.'”
As you may be aware, recycling is typically easier said than done. Because of that, there are a few very important steps you’ll need to take to ensure your packets are actually being recycled properly. Since most Taco Bell consumers are going through the drive-thru, TerraCycle has made it possible to mail in your sauce packets—and there’s four steps to get the job done.
How to Recycle Taco Bell Sauce Packets
1. Sign up for a TerraCycle account.
2. Collect your empty sauce packets within a cardboard box or another recyclable container. You’ll want to ensure all of the sauce is gone from the packets. Any leftover materials or sauce can contaminate recycling.
3. Once your collection box is full, log into your TerraCycle account to download and print your shipping label.
4. Ship your box via UPS. This is the only way to submit your packets. Do not put this in your own curbside bins or at your local drop-off.
It’s that easy! The next time you order extra hot sauce with your Taco Supreme, skip the garbage and take these small steps that keep your packets out of the landfill.
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