SRODA SLASKA, POLAND — PepsiCo, Inc. opened its fifth production plant in Poland on May 31.

The company has invested more than $238.6 million in what it’s calling “the most environmentally sustainable, technologically advanced and innovative PepsiCo facility in the European Union,” with $30.3 million of that amount going toward environmental solutions. The investment also contributes to the expansion of product range and increase in the scale of production for 20 European markets. According to PepsiCo, the total area of the plant — complete with office space, warehouse and modern sewage treatment plant — is approximately 13.5 acres (equivalent to seven football fields) while the adjacent production hall is approximately close to 6 acres. The facility will employ 450 people, mainly from the region, and will be fully operational in 2025, PepsiCo noted.

“We are proud to announce that less than 20 months after laying the foundation stone, the production of potato chips and Doritos nachos has started at the PepsiCo plant in Swiatem near Sroda Slsska,” said Tomasz Grzelczyk, senior director of end-to-end supply chain at PepsiCo. “This is a very important day for all PepsiCo employees, especially for the project team of over 150 people. I would like to thank our general contractor, Budimex, the ARUP design office, representatives of the LSEZ, PAIH, as well as local and local government authorities, without whose help and support we would not have been able to complete this project.”

PepsiCo said the plant consists of three technologically advanced and energy-efficient production lines: within an hour, two of the lines will produce 12,500 packs of Lay’s potato chips while the third will produce 30,000 packs of Doritos nachos, making it the first time a Polish snack plant produces this specific product. The plant also uses an innovative heat recovery system from the potato frying process, which involves using 100% of the biogas generated from natural resource-based product production to heat the treatment plant building. As is, the generated power from the production lines is 3 megawatts, which is 60% of the heat needed for the entire building, in addition to the 3.2 megawatts generated from an electric steam boiler that significantly reduces the facility’s carbon footprint.

The plant also uses an above-ground tank to collect and recover rainwater for the plant’s needs, a process that consists of purifying and desalting the collected rainwater in a nanofiltration system for use in technological processes, such as in the cooling cycle, and then returning it to the atmosphere, according to PepsiCo. Other ways the plant recycles water is from potato cutting, which in turn is reused for the initial potato rinsing, as well as hot water for washing from the cooking oil cooling process. Another environmentally friendly water resource that the facility has instituted is absorption devices called chillers, which absorb heat from the environment and convert it into cold air to ventilate the production space, PepsiCo said.

“Poland is a strategic market with great development potential, where we have been investing for over 30 years,” said Silviu Popovici, president of PepsiCo Europe. “The opening of this new, environmentally sustainable snack establishment marks a milestone for PepsiCo in Europe. I would like to thank our stakeholders and employees for their help in implementing the assumptions regarding food production in accordance with our PEP+ vision. I am proud that this facility was opened in such a short time.”

PepsiCo said it invested $46 million in multiple sustainability projects in 2022, such as the production of recyclable rPET packaging, the collection and recycling of snack packaging waste as part of the ReFlex project, the powering of four plants and the company’s headquarters in Warsaw from renewable energy sources, and the company’s own photovoltaic farms. PepsiCo also has been cooperating with farmers and communities across Poland, with more than 70 farms participating in the company’s agrarian program. PepsiCo is currently known as an entity that purchases the largest number of potatoes in Poland for the production of snacks, and the new plant will provide further opportunities for cooperative potato supplying. PepsiCo will continue to invest in environmentally friendly solutions for the facility, including wind turbines, a decentralized biogas plants that uses leftover biomass from the production process, and the expansion of the treatment plant to produce biofertilizer. The company aims for the facility to achieve zero net emissions by 2035.