PepsiCo and the Young Americas Business Trust Launch Eco-Challenge -11th edition- in Effort to Reduce Plastic Waste

Washington DC, October 17, 2019 – Through a partnership between PepsiCo and the Young Americas Business Trust, the Eco-Challenge 11th edition, will empower young adults in Latin America and the Caribbean to put forth new ideas focused on reducing plastic waste. The focus on identifying sustainable solutions with high-growth potential, will allow PepsiCo to advance toward their vision of helping to build a world where plastics need never become waste, through reducing the amount of plastics the company uses, recycling the plastics the company brings to market and reinventing their plastic packaging.

The Eco-Challenge program is the result of an eleven year old collaboration between PepsiCo and the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), with support from the Organization of American States (OAS).  The program seeks to promote entrepreneurship by empowering young people as agents of change, with the ability to contribute with creative and high-impact solutions.

As part of its sustainability goals, PepsiCo has made a commitment by 2025 to make 100% of their packaging recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable; and increase use of recycled content in plastics packaging to 25%. The company has also set a goal to reduce 35% of virgin plastic content across their beverage business by 2025, which equates to the elimination of 2.5 million metric tons of cumulative virgin plastic. 

PepsiCo knows that innovation often comes through partnership, so through this competition it invites young adults from Latin America and the Caribbean to be its partners in the search for solutions to plastic waste challenges. The goal is to be able to create additional solutions that will help to advance PepsiCo’s vision of a world where plastics need never become waste.

"For the past decade, PepsiCo Latin America has actively worked on recycling programs, supporting education, entrepreneurship, as well as empowering grassroots recyclers across the region," said Luis Montoya, President of PepsiCo Beverages Latin America. “However, we recognize that we cannot create sustainable change alone, so we are working to amplify our strategies through partnerships to increase their impact. We believe that the Eco-Challenge and our eleven year partnership with YABT, a strategic partner, is a great opportunity to expand our efforts to reduce plastic waste, through ideas for reducing plastic use, driving recycling rates and reinventing our packaging.  We invite young people in the region to be our allies in this process, and look forward to tapping into the great creativity that distinguishes them to find innovative solutions that allow us to continue advancing in this vision.” 

“Thanks to the Eco-Challenge program, young people in Latin America and the Caribbean have the opportunity to effectively contribute to the protection of our environment and to provide sustainable solutions to several of the challenges we face in our communities.  It is incredible to see the level of commitment they have to make a positive impact and to present innovations that combine their knowledge and skills, along with their expertise and understanding of science, technology, and sustainable development. Working with PepsiCo for over a decade has provided YABT with an outstanding opportunity to impact thousands of lives and to empower youth across the region”, said Mr. Luis Viguria, Chief Executive Officer of YABT.


With this in mind, the Eco-Challenge 11.0 presents the following three categories under the plastic waste reduction challenge:

  1. Beyond the Bottle and the Bag: Innovative solutions and new technologies focused on creating alternatives or replacements for PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and BOPP (biaxially-oriented polypropylene, used for flexible packaging) bags. Solutions to post consumer use of PET material will also be considered under this category.


  1. Recycling and Post Consumer use of BOPP: Innovative solutions to recycle BOPP (biaxially-oriented polypropylene, used for flexible packaging) as well as solutions to post consumer use of the material.


  1. Caribbean Innovation Eco-Challenge: A special opportunity for people from the Caribbean to develop and implement innovative solutions that address the priority areas defined above (reducing use of plastic, increasing recycling rates and reinventing plastic packaging).


Young people between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, from the OAS Member States, are encouraged to apply. The program provides free training to all participants, along with scholarships to the teams who make it to the final round and prizes of US $5,000 for the winners of each category, among other benefits.

“For the OAS, the partnership between YABT and PepsiCo, through the Eco-Challenge program, is very important. I have witnessed the high quality of the solutions presented by the young entrepreneurs that address current environmental challenges and reinforce their commitment to a positive change.  I look forward to continuing this cooperation that seeks to create more and better opportunities for young people in the region”, said Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States. 

The Eco-Challenge is a special category of sustainable innovation with multidimensional impact through the products and services developed by young entrepreneurs within the Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas (TIC Americas). The program was created in 2009 and, throughout its ten editions, has received 17,448 business proposals presented by 22,920 young people in more than 33 countries.

The photo album is available at: 

For more information about the Eco-Challenge and how to register, go to,or contact us.


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