PepsiCo has launched a pilot program in the Washington, D.C., area to test green, or climate-friendly, vending machines. The Purchase, N.Y.-based beverage company says this marks the first time that vending machines cooled by CO2 have been introduced in the United States.
In addition to the CO2-cooled machines, PepsiCo is testing thousands of machines around the world that use other green refrigerants, specifically isobutane and propane, that also have a lower climate impact than current HFC refrigerants.
Last year, Coke’s quest for green vending machines, along with a coalition of companies that sell cold drinks and ice cream, hit a roadblock because independent bottlers didn’t want to pay extra for HFC-free units. In addition, manufacturers said they didn’t want to spend the necessary money to retool production lines in order to produce them in bulk.
Under the new PepsiCo U.S. program, The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) is placing 30 energy-efficient Pepsi-Cola vending machines in high-consumer traffic areas with machines comprised of all-natural refrigeration systems. The machines, which feature the new Pepsi logo along with a special green refrigerant sticker, use less energy and generate 12 percent less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than current vending machines.
This project is part of PepsiCo’s commitment to reducing the environmental footprint of the vending and cooling equipment used to sell its drinks. On average, 2008 model vending machines, which all meet EPA Energy Star requirements, use 51 percent less energy than 2003 models, and 2008 coolers consume 44 percent less energy than their 2004 counterparts.
In addition, PepsiCo said it was the first in the industry to mandate that the foam used to insulate its vending machines and coolers be free of HFCs. Through these improvements, PepsiCo has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from its refrigeration equipment by 598,000 metric tons, an average of 282,000 metric tons/year.
PepsiCo also has been working on using less plastic in its beverage bottles. Aqufina’s 10.9-gram half-liter Eco-Fina plastic water bottle is made with 50 percent less plastic and its 500ml flavored non-carbonated beverage bottles for Lipton Iced Tea, Tropicana juice, Aquafina FlavorSplash and Aquafina Alive brands use 20-percent less plastic.