PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay is a $13bn convenience foods business unit headquartered in Purchase, New York, US. Frito-Lay’s manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, Arizona, mainly produces potato, corn and tortilla chips. It turns about 500,000 potatoes into potato chips every day.

The facility is one of the most environmentally sustainable projects. It does not rely on the city’s electricity grid and generates nearly zero landfill waste. It runs mostly on renewable energy sources and recycled water. The facility reached near net-zero in October 2011.

The plant employs about 350 people.

Frito-Lay is planning to implement its green technologies to achieve near net-zero objective across other plants. The company is also planning to reduce the fuel consumption across its fleet by 50% by 2020.


The facility manufactures chips under the brands Lay’s and Ruffles potato chips, Fritos corn chips, Tostitos and Doritos tortilla chips, and Cheetos cheese-flavoured snacks.


The 188,000ft2 facility was constructed on a 202-acre site in Pinal County. Located in the desert, the plant uses solar energy. The size and location of the plant became an added advantage in implementing energy efficient technology.

Design and construction

Frito-Lay reduced the plant’s electricity consumption by 90% and use of natural gas by 80%, cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. It also recycles about 75% of water. The installation process was completed by 2010.

"Frito-Lay reduced the plant’s water and electricity consumption by 90% and use of natural gas by 80%."

The facility was awarded LEED Existing Building Gold Certification in December 2009. It is the first food manufacturing site in Arizona to receive the certification. The plant received the award from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) following the verification of the plant by the Green Building Certification Institute.

A number of green design and construction features have been implemented by the facility in order to integrate the LEED principles, including technologies and methods for water and energy reduction, and recycling.


The facility incorporates highly efficient technology for minimising energy consumption such as heat recovery systems, skylights and high-efficiency ovens. The heat recovery systems use preheated cooking oil while the skylights substitute lighting systems.

About 10 million kWh of electricity is generated by five solar photovoltaic systems installed at the site of the plant. It also has a water recovery plant with membrane bio-reactor (MBR) and low pressure reverse osmosis (LPRO) technologies that produce Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved standard recycled water. Water saving and landscaping technologies were used in order to reduce water use by the plant’s production line by 17%.

To avoid sending its waste to landfill, the plant implemented a zero-landfill recycling programme. The programme also revived innovation credits from USGBC. Other initiatives included employee-led recycling schemes, the reuse of cardboard shipping boxes and the use of plant waste, such as potato peelings and corn husks, for livestock feed. A 60,000lb/h biomass boiler reduces the consumption of natural gas by burning agricultural wastes and wood to produce additional heat and electricity.