PepsiCo Accelerates Plastic Waste Reduction Efforts

A stinking residential area in India's capital New Delhi which is among the dirtiest and the most polluted cities of the world. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service
A stinking residential area in India’s capital New Delhi which is among the dirtiest and the most polluted cities of the world. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service

PepsiCo, Inc. has announced a new target to reduce 35% of virgin plastic content across its beverage portfolio by 2025, which equates to the elimination of 2.5 million metric tons of cumulative virgin plastic.

Progress will be driven by the company’s increased use of recycled content and alternative packaging materials for its beverage brands, including LIFEWTR, bubly, and Aquafina, which recently announced sustainable packaging efforts.

Additionally, through the expansion of PepsiCo’s SodaStream business, an estimated 67 billion plastic bottles will be avoided through 2025. These targets advance PepsiCo’s sustainable packaging vision and reinforce its “Beyond the Bottle” strategy which, in addition to SodaStream, includes the mobile-enabled Hydration Platform and other offerings that deliver beverages without single-use plastic bottles.

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“While our efforts are far from done, this is one more step in PepsiCo’s journey toward helping to build a world where plastics need never become waste,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO, Ramon Laguarta. “Even as we work to accelerate business growth, we continue to make important progress toward a circular economy for packaging, a responsibility we take very seriously.”

PepsiCo’s sustainable plastics vision is rooted in three pillars: Reducing the amount of plastics used, Boosting recycling rates, and Reinventing plastic packaging.

“We’re intentionally setting ambitious goals to drive meaningful progress,” said Simon Lowden, President, PepsiCo Global Foods, who leads PepsiCo’s Plastic Agenda. “PepsiCo is already one of the world’s largest buyers of recycled plastic, and if there was more available, we’d buy it – and if there were more markets where we could use it, we would. We are committed, and partnership is key.”

The announcement builds upon the company’s already announced packaging goals to, by 2025: make 100% of its packaging recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable; and increase its use of recycled content in plastics packaging to 25%.

The targets are based off a 2018 baseline. In 2018, PepsiCo’s total virgin plastic volume use was 2.2 million metric tons.

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Rakesh Raman