(CNN) – Taco Bells plastic sauce packages have a short lifespan. What else should you do with them after they have been pressed to death?
That will change soon: The fast food chain is working with the recycling company TerraCycle to give its parcels a “spicier second life without landfill,” said Taco Bell in a press release.
According to Taco Bell, more than 8 billion packages of sauces are used in the US each year, an enormous number that is potentially harmful to the environment. According to a study recently published in Science, around 710 million tons of plastic will pollute the environment by 2040 if no action is taken.
Specific details on how the program works have not been disclosed. However, Taco Bell announced that the recycling pilot program will start later this year and that it will be easy to participate and will include free shipping. The ultimate goal is for the discarded sauce packets to have an “exciting future as something completely new”.
Taco Bell said it will be the first fast food brand to use TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based company helping big businesses become greener. It has worked with Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nestlé to support the production of reusable packaging instead of single-use packaging that ends up in landfill.
In this case, non-recyclable materials are collected, melted down and transformed into a hard plastic that can be recycled again after use.
“In today’s food industry, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for recycling the flexible film packaging that is so widely used for condiments,” said Liz Matthews, Taco Bell’s global chief food innovation officer, in the press release.
Taco Bell hopes that the packaging used by its customers will be fully “recyclable, compostable or reusable” at all 7,000 locations worldwide by 2024. It is using this pilot program to shape its future recycling efforts.
Last year, Taco Bell claimed it dropped its popular Mexican pizza because of its packaging, which used more than 7 million pounds of cardboard a year.