Guayakí’s ready-to-drink products are served in glass bottles or aluminum cans. Other major packaging and waste streams include cardboard cases, wood pallets, and flexible film used to protect product during transport and distribution. We have never used single-use plastic bottles for any of our current ready-to-drink product lines and the majority of our primary and secondary packaging is either recyclable or compostable, or made of post-consumer recycled or plant-based material. However, we also understand that packaging is only one piece of the waste puzzle and that gaps in local infrastructure and consumer awareness prevent some packaging from being diverted from landfill. As such, we are exploring industry collaborations and opportunities to improve the recycling, composting, and other diversion rates of our packaging that will benefit consumers, the environment, and the industry as a whole.
In 2022, 98% of our primary and secondary packaging purchased (by weight) was recyclable, including all of our aluminum cans, bottles, trays, and case boxes. Our goals include continuing to identify opportunities to improve the recycling rates of these materials through industry collaboration and policies as well as to increase the percentage of secondary aluminum content of our ready-to drink cans. We are also working with suppliers to explore innovations to the outer bag that holds our loose-leaf mate and 75-count mate sachets, as well as the sachets themselves. While mostly made of plant-based material, these bags and sachets are not currently compostable due to post-manufacturing inks and glues on the outer bag and the synthetic fibers used to seal the sachets.
Post-Consumer Recycled or Plant-Based Packaging
In 2022, 60% of all primary and secondary packaging purchased (by weight) contained post-consumer recycled (PCR) or plant-based material. Guayakí’s aluminum cans, glass bottles, and case boxes contain recycled material that can be a combination of post-consumer (recycled by consumer) and pre-consumer (scraps from manufacturing process).
Waste in our Operations
In 2022, we formalized a Zero Waste Committee to drive waste reduction efforts in our US facilities, including warehouses, storage units, and offices. We have set internal targets around zero waste and will be conducting waste audits in 2023 to better understand our baseline building on a promising internal audit of one large warehouse that showed >90% waste diversion by weight. We look forward to sharing these results next year.
At Guayakí Latin America’s office in Buenos Aires, Argentina, we implemented a new waste management project with a local social cooperative called Madreselvas, a cooperative of informal recyclers who collect and sell cardboard. This partnership not only allows us to have responsible management of the waste we generate, but it also offers an inclusion opportunity to people with chronic barriers to employment and a vulnerable sector of society.
All compostable waste from our processing facility and office in Turvo, Brazil, including mate leaves, sticks, dust, ashes from furnaces, wood chips, and kitchen leftovers, is composted and used within the property grounds.