We're working toward our vision of a world where plastics need never become waste
Building a circular future for packaging
Packaging waste is an urgent global problem. While plastic is a lightweight and highly effective packaging material that helps to keep food safe, accessible, and affordable, only 14% of what is used is effectively recycled.
PepsiCo envisions a world where plastics need never become waste. We share concern over the growing threat that packaging waste poses to our communities and marine environment. As a global leader in food and beverages, we have an important role to play in making sustainable packaging a reality. It will require fundamental changes in how packaging is made and disposed of, along with rethinking its forms and functions.
Our approach is based on three interconnected strategies: reducing the amount of plastic that we use, recycling more plastic to support a circular economy, and reinventing the plastic packaging we use.
To truly scale a circular future for plastics, it will require innovation and cooperation at every stage of the plastics value chain. PepsiCo will drive change by working with a broad group of partners, including industry peers, nonprofit organizations, and people and companies throughout the plastics supply chain. We are investing in and advocating for improved recycling infrastructure, as well as educating and actively empowering consumers.
Learn more about our vision to build a world where plastics need never become waste.
"As a Core Partner of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative, PepsiCo is working closely with the initiative's stakeholders to advance a common vision of a world where plastic never becomes waste. By setting ambitious 2025 targets and working aggressively to reduce, reuse, recycle, and reinvent their packaging, PepsiCo is helping to create a circular economy for packaging, keeping it in the economy and out of the environment."
Lead of the New Plastics Economy initiative at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
"Supporting a circular economy is at the heart of PepsiCo’s vision for a world where plastics need never become waste. Innovative solutions and partnerships are critical to supporting a circular economy for plastics. That’s why we are proud to be a part of the broad group of key stakeholders The New Plastics Economy has assembled."
Vice President, Global Sustainable Plastics, PepsiCo
Beyond the Bottle
PepsiCo is continually expanding our portfolio to go “Beyond the Bottle” and find ways to deliver beverages free from single-use plastic. These efforts contribute to our vision of building a world where plastics need never become waste.
In 2019, we made progress toward reinventing how our products are delivered to consumers through the expansion of our SodaStream business and the introduction of our new hydration platform, SodaStream Professional.
In 2020, SodaStream announced that it will switch all of its flavors from plastic to metal bottles. Production is expected to start in 2021, which will eliminate nearly another 200 million single-use plastic bottles over the next five years. We also announced that new Pepsi by SodaStream flavors will launch in select European markets, including Norway, Sweden, Germany, and France.
SodaStream is the #1 sparkling water brand in the world by volume1 and one of PepsiCo's billion-dollar brands. 2019 was the first full year that SodaStream was a part of the PepsiCo family, providing consumers the option to prepare personalized beverages at home in reusable bottles. SodaStream empowers consumers to quickly transform ordinary tap water into plain or flavored sparkling water in an environmentally sustainable way.
Over its lifetime, one SodaStream bottle can help avoid the use of thousands of single-use bottles. Through growth of our SodaStream business, an estimated 67 billion single-use plastic bottles will be avoided through 2025.
1Total global volumes taken from GlobalData's Global Packaged Water Report 2018, compared with SodaStream company information.
First previewed on Earth Day 2019 when pilot tests began, SodaStream Professional is building on the sustainability roots of the SodaStream brand as it lets people personalize and digitally track their water intake while cutting back on plastic bottles. Designed to deliver customizable hydration on-the-go, the platform’s ecosystem is made up of three components: a beautifully designed water-forward beverage dispenser, a smartphone app called SodaStream Connect, and an individualized QR code sticker for reusable bottles that recognizes users when they fill up. Users can choose from various unsweetened flavors, carbonation levels, and temperature options to make the perfect drink while using the app to record their preferences and environmental impact.
In a pilot program in 2019 and early 2020, we placed 30 units in select workplaces, universities, and hospitality partners across the U.S., avoiding nearly 160,000 bottles. The commercial launch of the platform continues to expand, as many businesses reimagine the future of away from home beverage experiences that are both healthy for consumers and for the planet.
PepsiCo aims to design all of our packaging with the most efficient use of materials possible. We will continue to work to reduce the plastic that we use. One way we do this is by making our PET bottles lighter, thereby reducing the amount of packaging material.
We also use a process called “charge compaction” in our snacks packaging. This allows the snacks to settle to the bottom of a bag before sealing to reduce the overall amount of packaging required. It also enables us to transport more bags in each truck. These efficiencies help to reduce carbon emissions from our snacks packaging portfolio. They are already being implemented in Canada and, in 2019, we began testing them across all sectors.
Here are some other examples of how we’re working to improve and reduce the packaging for our products.
Innovating and Shifting to Alternative Materials
We are innovating to transform our packaging. From 2018-2019, we tested 100% industrially compostable thin-film plant-based packaging for snack products. From these pilot programs in the U.S., India, and Chile, we’ve collected insights that will inform our continued partnership with Danimer Scientific and further develop packaging that will compost under the widest range of conditions. We’re also working with Origin Materials and peer companies in the NaturALL Bottle Alliance to develop fully recyclable, 100% renewable plastic bottles.
Improving our packaging also helps to reduce our carbon footprint. Natural packaging alternatives, including plant-based materials, have the potential to provide safe, efficient packaging while supporting a more circular economy. We aim for the materials to be made from renewable feedstocks, like sustainably farmed trees, that avoid the use of food resources and are less carbon-intensive than oil-based plastics. Increasing recycled content in our packaging, often by using recycled PET (rPET), which has a smaller carbon footprint than PET, is another approach.
Progress toward our target to reduce 35% of virgin plastic content across our beverage portfolio by 2025, will be driven by increased use of recycled content and alternative packaging materials. For example, in the U.S. bubly will no longer be packaged in plastic bottles and instead sold in 16 oz. aluminum cans. In the U.K., we introduced Doritos Stax in a canister that can be widely recycled, progressing toward 100% of our packaging being recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by 2025.
In early 2020, we piloted an innovative solution to eliminate plastic-ring multi-can packaging. In Sacramento, California, we tested two recyclable alternatives. For four weeks, Pepsi and Sierra Mist mini-can six-packs were held together by a paper-based material, similar to an egg carton, and new 4-sided paperboard, respectively. We will analyze the data on performance and consumer acceptance of these innovative materials.
Partnering with Foodservice Providers to Drive Plastic Reduction
Around the world, PepsiCo partners with our foodservice customers to drive sustainability forward. Foodservice channels are uniquely positioned to make an impact at scale through high-volume consumer touch points from restaurants and workplaces to hotels and sports & entertainment venues and beyond. PepsiCo partners with its customers to co-create sustainability initiatives that address short-term business requirements while working to reach longer-term ambitions.
One example is our partnership with Vail Resorts, which recognized PepsiCo as “Sustainability Partner of the Year” for keeping more than 250,000 single-use cups out of landfills during their 2018-2019 ski season. Our initiative provided the resort’s restaurants with compostable Pepsi paper cups and, where dishwashing was available, reusable Pepsi tumblers. The program was aligned with the resort’s Zero Waste to Landfill goal. So far, this partnership has helped the resort avoid sending 7,750 lbs. of waste to landfill.
Increasing the supply of recycled plastic will enable us to use more recycled content in our packaging. Improving regional collection rates helps to increase that supply, so it’s a key focus for us. We’re using the power of our brands to educate consumers about the importance of proper and consistent recycling, while working with government and local stakeholders to improve recycling infrastructure through strategic partnerships and investments.
Pepsi MAX #RecyclingThrowdown in the U.K.: The #RecyclingThrowdown used the power of the Pepsi MAX brand and sponsorship of the London NFL games to help consumers recycle in a fun and engaging way. One recycled can counted for one vote for their favorite team. It helped drive the message that our cans are easily recycled and allowed fans to dispose of our product responsibly.
Aquafina Plastic-Waste-Free Race Day in Saudi Arabia: Aquafina, one of PepsiCo’s brands of bottled water and the hydration partner of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, made this season’s opener in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, free of plastic waste, a first for Formula E. The event delivered high-intensity electric car racing and encouraged attendees to recycle plastic at stations that had staff on hand to educate visitors. Formula E visitors helped recycle over 5,700 lbs. of plastic at the Aquafina stations.
Live On Consumer Campaign in the UAE: In November 2019, PepsiCo launched a new sustainability platform for the UAE called Live On. The platform kicked off with a campaign encouraging consumers to recycle to “Feel Good.” Featuring new Aquafina labels prompting consumers to recycle, the campaign was designed to show the positive impact that recycling has on the environment and the feel-good factor that comes from protecting our planet.
Pepsi Zero Sugar – Recycling Roadster in the U.S.: PepsiCo’s Recycling Roadster is a hybrid vehicle that travels around the U.S. to educate on the importance of recycling. It was created to engage and inform people at events about recycling in their communities. In 2019, the Roadster traveled for 111 days, stopped at 76 events, engaged more than 270,000 consumers, and collected more than 275,000 containers. In early 2020, the Roadster made a stop at Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
PepsiCo and The PepsiCo Foundation are investing in efforts around the world to increase and improve recycling and clean up natural environments.
PepsiCo and The PepsiCo Foundation are accelerating efforts to boost recycling rates and collection across the world. Between 2018 and early 2020, we pledged $65 million.
Some examples of our partnership initiatives:
Driving Catalytic Capital
PepsiCo and The PepsiCo Foundation are driving progress by helping to unlock seed capital for circular economy programs. Our strategic approach to partnership investing increases the impact of these programs.
In collaboration with The Recycling Partnership (TRP), our All In On Recycling became the largest ever industry-led residential recycling challenge in the United States, successfully raising $25 million in a little more than a year since its launch in July 2018. More than 2,800 communities are expected to participate in the initiative, which will triple the collective investment, catalyzing roughly $75 million in municipal funding and bringing the total amount of support to $100 million.
Circulate Capital, the investment management firm focused on circular solutions to plastic waste in Southeast Asia, closed a $106 million round of financing. The funds will be deployed to promising companies in Southeast Asia (including India, Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia) working on solutions that prevent plastic leakage into waterways. For example, Circulate Capital recently announced that it will invest more than $6 million in two companies in India and Indonesia that recycle local plastic waste into useful products. The PepsiCo Foundation was the first investor in Circulate Capital upon its founding in 2018.
The PepsiCo Foundation is a founding member of the Closed Loop Fund, which provides investment that cities, counties, and businesses use to help move recycling to the next level. In early 2020, it announced a $2 million investment in Reterra, an advanced recycling company that turns recycling-byproduct PET streams into high-value products. Reterra creates a market for material that would otherwise typically end up in a landfill, while also improving the overall economics of PET recycling.
Partnering to Educate and Inspire
Partnership is key to reaching consumers with recycling education and inspiring more sustainable behaviors. Examples of this approach include:
PepsiCo recently launched a partnership with waste management firm Nepra Foundation to educate school children and drive understanding of how different types of plastic can be recycled and recovered. PepsiCo and Nepra will work together to create eco-clubs in local schools and urge students to donate plastic waste, which will be collected and repurposed into useful products like school tables and chairs.
In Latin America, PepsiCo has launched Recycling with Purpose – an inclusive recycling initiative that promotes consumer engagement through incentives and a rewards program designed to increase recycling. The program also encourages consumer involvement and education, promotes inclusive recycling through work with civil society organizations, and strengthens the local recycling industry.
In Australia, PepsiCo partners with a recycling organization called REDcycle. This partnership allows consumers to drop used flexible packaging at supermarket collection sites. The films are then made into recycled plastic products such as durable plastic benches or other outdoor furniture. PepsiCo also partners with a recycler in the U.K. to collect flex packs through public drop-off locations.
Partnering to Drive Innovation
Innovation requires partnership across the full supply chain and we are working with peers pre-competitively through these partnerships, which highlight how collective action will drive progress toward a circular economy for plastic.
Carbios, a French company, is pioneering a new enhanced recycling technology that uses a biological enzyme to break down all kinds of PET into its original building blocks, which are used to produce high-quality PET plastic. In 2019, PepsiCo joined a consortium of peer companies who are invested in developing and scaling the technology, which will reduce the amount of PET that becomes waste.
In 2019, The Recycling Partnership launched a Film & Flexibles Coalition to define, pilot, and scale recycling solutions for an over $31 billion U.S. packaging category including plastic film, bags, and pouches. PepsiCo is a founding member of the Task Force.
PepsiCo India is part of a national consortium, Waste Efficient Collection and Recycling Efforts (WeCare), including more than 35 consumer goods companies that are working toward sustainable management of post-consumer plastic packaging and to promote circular economy efforts for consumer goods packaging. Along with the local Pollution Control Board, this consortium has been able to showcase industry intent and provide policy inputs for harmonized plastic waste management in India.
By displacing virgin plastic with recycled plastic, PepsiCo can lower our dependency on non-renewable fossil resources and boost the carbon and resource efficiency of our packaging.
PET is the main material used to make beverage bottles and is the most widely recycled plastic. Recycled PET (rPET) is part of a closed loop recycling solution for beverage bottles, carrying a lower carbon footprint than virgin PET – specifically, 63% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 79% lower energy consumption.
PepsiCo is already one of the largest customers of food-grade rPET in the world. If there was more available, we would buy it, and if there were more markets where it could be used, we’d utilize it. Currently demand outpaces supply, especially for food-grade rPET.
To increase rPET in our packaging:
We’re making sure our packaging materials are recyclable, on our way to being 100% recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by 2025.
We’re supporting recycling infrastructure, including enhanced recycling, through our global investments and partnerships.
We’re using the power of our brands to educate consumers about the importance of recycling properly and more frequently. Improved regional collection rates means increased recycled supply.
Some countries do not allow recycled materials in food-grade packaging, so we’re advocating for policy changes to enable recycled content in all markets. This will build the pipeline for a circular future for packaging.
We're reclaiming the recycled material to incorporate into our packaging, including brands like Naked Juice, Tazo, and LIFEWTR, which all will be bottled in 100% recycled content by the end of 2020.
Watch this video for more on how PepsiCo Recycling is building a world where plastics need never become waste.
BRANDS INCORPORATING rPET
In Latin America, Europe, and North America, we have started moving toward 100% rPET packaging. We're steadily increasing the recycled content in our plastic packaging, achieving 4% in 2019, as we head toward our global goal of 25% by 2025.
We’re working toward a new target of a 35% reduction of virgin PET in our beverage portfolio by 2025, starting with a 1% reduction in 2019. In order to ensure there is enough recycled plastic packaging to continue to incorporate rPET in our packaging, we need to continue to increase worldwide recycling rates.
Examples of some of our brands moving toward 100% rPET: