Since 2018, when PepsiCo Inc. announced its intention to achieve 50 percent recycled PET usage across the European Union by 2030, technical developments have occurred that are allowing the company to speed up this ambition by a considerable margin.
Having already reached 30 percent toward its goal, the company today said it would completely eliminate the use of all virgin plastic from its Pepsi brand beverage bottles sold in nine European Union markets by 2022. Already, the company’s Tropicana, Naked Smoothies and Lipton Iced Tea brands are marketed in 100 percent recycled PET bottles across a number of EU markets.
innovations in the use of recycled PET in carbonated drink bottles, improvements in the appearance of recycled plastic, and greater availability of recycled materials on the market have all combined to make it possible for PepsiCo to accelerate its progress.
A critical part of increasing the availability of recycled plastics suitable for re-use in food packaging is ensuring that bottles are easily recyclable and recycled. Almost 90 percent of PepsiCo’s packaging portfolio is already recyclable, compostable or biodegradable.
The company is working to increase that percentage further through design improvements such as moving to clear bottles. PepsiCo will also continue growing reuse and refill systems such as SodaStream.
The move to 100 percent recycled PET for these beverage bottles is estimated to eliminate over 70,000 metric tons of virgin, fossil-fuel based plastic per year, and will lower carbon emissions per bottle by approximately 40 percent.
Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece and Spain will switch to 100 percent recycled PET in 2021, while France, Great Britain, Belgium and Luxembourg will be at 100 percent recycled PET in 2022. The move applies to both company-owned and franchise bottlers in the relevant markets.
In France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg the commitment goes beyond Pepsi brands, to include all soft drinks in the PepsiCo stable, including7Up, Mountain Dew and Lipton Ice Tea. Poland and Romania will also use 100 percent recycled PET in Mirinda brands.
The company will also continue its consumer education efforts to ensure that more of its packaging is placed in the recycling system rather than in the environment.