PLANO, TEXAS — The implementation of new technologies over the past year has allowed Frito-Lay, Inc. to reduce the absolute greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of its Modesto, Calif., transportation fleet by 53% while lowering fleet diesel usage by 78%.

The improvements are just a few of the changes PepsiCo, Inc. announced on March 25 as part of an update on its Frito-Lay manufacturing site in Modesto.

PepsiCo first announced it would be transforming the 50,000-square-foot Frito-Lay plant in October 2019, part of a broader sustainability strategy for the Purchase, NY-based company that includes changes across its end-to-end value chain to build a more sustainable food system and reduce its environmental impact. Since the $30.8 million project was announced, PepsiCo said its efforts in Modesto have “further evolved into an industry-leading showcase for environmentally sustainable manufacturing, warehousing and distribution.”

In addition to using zero-emission and near-zero-emission technologies to reduce the Modesto site’s fleet absolute GHG emissions by more than half, the Modesto site has been able to convert to 100% renewable electricity for direct operations through a combination of renewable electricity certificates and on-site generation, due in part to PepsiCo achieving 100% renewable electricity in the United States in January 2021.

“Frito-Lay and PepsiCo are dedicated to reducing our environmental impact, especially in the more than 200 communities where we operate,” said Steve Hanson, senior director, fleet operations, engineering and sustainability for Frito-Lay. “We anticipate overall absolute GHG emissions will be reduced by 5,480 metric tons annually and diesel usage will be eliminated entirely from the Modesto fleet operations when fully implemented, the equivalent of removing nearly 13 million miles driven by passenger cars.”

PepsiCo said approximately 60 tractors, box trucks, yard trucks and forklifts are powered by electric, lithium-ion technologies or natural gas with renewable attributes at the Modesto plant. An additional 15 electric tractors are expected to deploy later this year, the company said. PepsiCo said it has access to a natural gas station with renewable attributes, as well as solar carports, battery storage, truck charging systems and employee electric vehicle charging stations.

PepsiCo is partnering on the project with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), which received a grant from California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment. CCI funding is awarded by several state agencies, including the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The grant is matched by investments from Frito-Lay and American Natural Gas, a Beyond6 company, as well as in-kind contributions from Café Coop, to support the Modesto sustainability initiative.

“We applaud the progress Frito-Lay has achieved thus far with its Modesto site project, despite the current landscape implications with the pandemic,” said Sydney Vergis, chief of CARB’s Mobile Source Control Division. “This project is so important to the Valley as it will improve air quality and reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions. It also aligns with the mission of CCI, putting Cap-and-Trade dollars back into communities to improve health, promote economic development and address climate change.”