Taco Bell’s hot sauce packets are getting a second life.
The chain will make its spicy condiment packets recyclable through a partnership with international industry leader Terracycle in company first, it was announced Monday.
A whopping 8.2 billion hot sauce packets are used in the U.S. each year, according to Taco Bell. And to prevent all of those wrappers from ending up in landfills, it’s piloting a recycling program later this year where the used packets would be remade into something new.
Demand for condiment packets became hotter than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, with many restaurants opting to remove communal bottles of ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper and other high-touch fixings from tables to prevent the spread of the virus. Plus, with more people ordering delivery, the surge created an apparent ketchup shortage.
Taco Bell said there is no widely available solution for recycling condiment packets made of flexible film packaging. The Yum! Brands-owned chain says it plans to make its food packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025.
More fast-food chains have recently heightened sustainability efforts, too. In October, Burger King said it was testing out a reusable packaging program with containers and beverage cups. Earlier this month, Starbucks announced it was trialing a reusable cup program at select coffee shops in Seattle. Through the pilot, customers can purchase a reusable cup for a $1 deposit and get a credit back once they return the cup to stores.