Few people know the potential of an empty Lay’s bag the way Anchalee Surapanpairoge does. She sees classroom chairs or bricks for a new building. And it starts in her own home – she’s taught her two daughters to recycle and repurpose
packaging because Anchalee knows these small actions can be a part of a big picture plan to keep waste out of landfills. “Sorting waste is a common practice for us,” says Anchalee. “If we start with ourselves and within the comfort
of our homes, these actions can grow to a larger scale.”
Anchalee is working on a much larger scale as the Corporate Affairs Lead in PepsiCo Thailand. Her team leads the Journey to Zero Waste Project, a PepsiCo initiative in Thailand that’s creating potential solutions to reduce and upcycle flexible or
multi–layer plastic packaging (like chips bags). While this is just one step on the path to build a circular economy, the program offers a way to reduce litter and the amount of waste going to landfill or incineration. “The ultimate aim
is to get towards bag-to-bag recycling,” says Anchalee.
The post-consumer MLP packaging collected as part of the Journey to Zero Waste Project served as the material to form more than 100 sets of chairs and tables for schools which are then provided to rural communities in need. She’s also collaborated
with local organizations on a collection and upcycle project that combines post-consumer MLP packaging with cement and sand to create bricks to landscape community gardens. There are also plans in development to create upcycled building material that
resembles wood. “PepsiCo Thailand is focused on processing any discarded packaging we collect to raise awareness that waste is not useless,” says Anchalee.
If we start with ourselves and within the comfort of our homes, these actions can grow to a larger scale.
Finding innovative ways to repurpose packaging is one element of a strategy designed to help PepsiCo work towards its pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) goals. As part of the efforts to create a more Positive Value Chain, PepsiCo aims for 100% of the company's packaging
to be recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable by 2025. PepsiCo also aims to cut virgin plastic from non-renewable sources per serving across its global beverages and convenient foods portfolio by 50 percent by 2030 (against a 2020 baseline).
These goals can make a positive impact for the planet and people in a country that is seeking waste solutions. Thailand produces roughly two million tons of plastic refuse annually, according to the country's Pollution Control Department. That’s
12% of the country’s total waste. The Journey to Zero Waste Project is working to address that, Anchalee explains. “By creating value out of discarded waste, we aim to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills,” she says.
Anchalee isn’t alone in her mission – she’s getting more of her fellow associates involved. Through PepsiCo’s digital volunteerism platform, One Smile at a Time,
her team and other associates in Thailand are educating the surrounding communities about the benefits of recycling. Last year, Anchalee and her team worked with more than 25 communities to collect three tons of plastic waste in a span of four months.
"We are trying to show everyone that if you have the will for it, every little thing counts,” says Anchalee.