PepsiCo plans to package its bottled water brand Lifewatr in 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) starting this year, the company says. The move should help the beverage giant advance its goal of using 25% recycled plastic content in all plastic packaging by 2025.
Besides the shift to 100% rPET packaging, PepsiCo says their sparkling water brand Bubly will no longer be packaged in plastic and their Aquafina water brand will offer aluminum can packaging in US food service outlets. Altogether, the 2019 packaging changes are expected to eliminate more than 8,000 metric tons of virgin plastic and around 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the company.
Since 2009, PepsiCo says that their Naked Juice brand of fruit and veggie juices and smoothies has been working on making bottles from 100% rPET, a material that can be repeatedly turned back into new bottles. Using rPET uses about 25% less energy than virgin plastic, the company says.
“Tackling plastic waste is one of my top priorities,” said PepsiCo chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta. “We are doing our part to address the issue head on by reducing, recycling, and reinventing our packaging to make it more sustainable, and we won’t stop until we live in a world where plastics are renewed and reused.”
In addition to their plastic packaging goal for 2025, PepsiCo aims to make 100% of its packaging recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by that date. Already this year, PepsiCo North America reported reaching about 95% recyclable beverage packaging. The company is also testing refill stations as part of their Beyond the Bottle initiative. In 2018, they set up three dozen market prototypes.
At the Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference (ELEMCON) in Denver this year, John Marler, vice president of energy and environment for AEG Worldwide called this type of refill station “disruptive technology” that gives customers options while ensuring a revenue stream.