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PepsiCo is looking for solutions to convert bio-based packaging back to starting materials or other high-value added chemicals (no fuels).


Compostable flexible packaging is a great alternative to polyolefin-based packaging. There are many work streams to make the collection and sorting of multi-layer flexible packages possible and when successful, it also makes sense for the bio-based and biodegradable packaging to be collected, sorted, and recycled using mechanical, chemical, or enzymatic routes.

Chemical recycling through pyrolysis is not suitable for compostable packaging made from aliphatic polyesters due to the presence of oxygen. Also, to get the right performance characteristics, mixture of biopolymers like PLA & PHA are used which means the monomers/oligomers after chemical /enzymatic recycling must be separated for greater value. Mechanical recycling from bag to bag can be challenging due to the multi-material structure too.

Key Success Criteria

Must-Have requirements

  • Technology should enable conversion to starting materials with high value applications.

Preferred requirements

  • Proof of concept with aliphatic polyesters.
  • Technology should enable separation of monomers.


Possible Approaches

  • Chemical Depolymerization (use of catalysts, heat, or solvents to reverse the polymerization reaction and recover the original building blocks of the polymer)
  • Enzymatic Hydrolysis (catalyze the hydrolysis of the bio-based packaging, breaking it down into simpler compounds such as monomers or smaller molecules that can be further processed or utilized as high-value chemicals)
  • Solvent Extraction
  • Pyrolysis and Gasification: While pyrolysis is not suitable for compostable packaging made from aliphatic polyesters due to the presence of oxygen, gasification under controlled conditions can break down the material into syngas and biochar. The syngas can then be used to produce valuable chemicals through downstream processes.
  • Feedstock for Chemical Reactions: The bio-based packaging can be used as a feedstock in various chemical reactions to synthesize valuable chemicals and intermediates with specific applications.
  • Fermentation: In the case of certain biopolymers like PHA, fermentation processes can be employed to produce bio-based chemicals or biofuels.
  • Mechanical Recycling with Chemical Modification: Mechanical recycling processes can be combined with chemical modification techniques to improve the quality and properties of the recovered materials, making them suitable for high-value applications.
  • Hybrid Recycling Approaches: Combining multiple techniques, such as enzymatic depolymerization followed by chemical conversion, can optimize the recovery of valuable chemicals from bio-based packaging


Approaches not of interest

Technologies related to Upgrading of biogenic waste streams into fuels


Preferred Collaboration types

PepsiCo is open to various modes of collaboration for a proof of concept including sponsored research. After successful POC, opportunity to become part of a consortium or pilot to advance the technology.


Additional Information

PepsiCo’s Desired Timeline: 6 months- 1 years for initial POC

Resources Available when collaborating with PepsiCo

  • Funding:
    • POC- $25,000 to $50,000
    • Phase 2- $50,000 to $100,000
  • Expertise: Collaboration with PepsiCo SME’s
  • Materials: Can supply films to evaluate the different recycling options for proof of concept.
  • TRL Level: TRL 1 will also be considered


Visit the PepsiCo OI Portal


Related TechNeeds:

PepsiCo Seeking: Recyclable closure for paper beverage bottles

PepsiCo Seeking: GHG gas reduction for packaging

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