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Taco Bell Is Finally Kicking Off Its New Sauce Packet Initiative

Sign up, sauce, send, repeat.

Taco Bell is taking one major step forward in its attempt to reduce waste that ends up in landfills. As announced several months ago, the chain is now kicking off a partnership with a major recycling company which will make it very easy for customers to send in their single-use sauce packets for recycling.

According to a press release, about 8.2 billion packets of Taco Bell sauce are used in the United States each year. Unfortunately, those little plastic sachets are currently single-use and not recyclable, which means they end up in landfills. In fact, the fast-food industry as a whole doesn't have a good solution for recycling condiment packets, which are made of flexible film packaging.

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Enter TerraCycle, an international recycling leader renowned for collecting traditionally non-recyclable materials to make new recycled products. Thanks to this partnership, your Taco Bell hot sauce packet could soon go on to have a second life as outdoor furniture, a plastic shipping pallet, storage container, flooring tile, or material used at playgrounds and athletic fields, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

"As simple as it sounds, it's important to remember to first reduce our consumption habits, then reuse products wherever possible, and then recycle," said Missy Schaaphok, Taco Bell's Director of Global Nutrition & Sustainability. "We're excited that TerraCycle has provided a way for us to extend the life cycle of our iconic sauce packets as we reevaluate the rest of our packaging suite."

So how will the program work? According to Taco Bell, it will require very low effort on the customers' part. After you're done with your Taco Bell order, you'll be able to take these four steps to recycle your sauce packets:

  • Sign up for a TerraCycle account, if you don't already have one.
  • Collect empty sauce packets within a cardboard box or any other recyclable container you already have on hand.
  • Once your collection box is full, log into your TerraCycle account to download and print a free shipping label.
  • Ship your box via UPS.

According to Taco Bell, while some may think this seems too complicated to actually work, TerraCycle has already seen success with similar collection programs for things like coffee capsules and chewing gum—so the concept has been proven to work. The chain is also hoping that others in the fast-food industry will follow their initiative.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura