Taco Bell Is Making Its Hot Sauce Packets Recyclable

By the end of the year, Taco Bell hopes all of its sauce packets will be recyclable or, at the very least, well on their way. As part of its wider initiative to make all consumer-facing packaging recyclable or compostable within the next four years, the fast-food chain has struck a deal with TerraCycle to begin laying the initial groundwork.

According to a release distributed by the company on Monday, Taco Bell says it intends on making its sauce packets the first thing to be recyclable with a pilot program scheduled for launch sometime later this year. The chain estimates it distributes upwards of 8.2 billion sauce packets per year, all of which have to be tossed in the garbage.

"In the food industry today, there is no widely available solution for recycling the flexible film packets that are so commonly used for condiments," Taco Bell innovation lead Liz Matthews says in the release. "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."

TerraCycle is a company based in the United States to specializes in cleaning items that are made out of traditionally non-reyclable materials before melting them down and molding them into recyclable plastic.

"Now more than ever, consumers don't want to sacrifice the planet no matter how delicious the meal," TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky says. "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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Some Taco Bell locations already use compostable drink carriers, but most locations continue to use single-use plastic cups, lids, and straws. If you're looking for ideas on how to stretch the chain's non-recyclable stuff, Taco Bell does have some advice.

"For customers who may already be eager to recycle their sauce packets, there are steps they currently can take to leave a lighter footprint," the release concludes. "Be sure to check the specific recycling and composting guidelines of your local municipality when disposing packaging, and if you don't use each packet from your Taco Bell order, save it for later to add some kick to other meals. For more information on TerraCycle's recycling programs, visit www.terracycle.com."