PepsiCo Inc. wants to cut use of virgin plastic beverage packaging by more than a third by the middle of next decade.
The Purchase, New York-based soda and snack food giant said increased use of recycled plastic, as well as alternative packaging, will help the company reach its 35% reduction goal.
PepsiCo's SodaStream business, which uses home machines to made soda in reusable packaging, is also being counted on to cut single-use plastics at the company.
"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," CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement. "Even as we work to accelerate business growth, we continue to make important progress toward a circular economy for packaging."
The 13 Sept news of the virgin plastic reduction goal comes as PepsiCo previously said it wanted to have all packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025. The company also wants to increase recycled content in packaging to 25% in the same time frame.
There has been increasing talk of aluminium taking market share from plastics in the single-serve beverage business as a whole, but that remains to be seen in the long run.
PepsiCo has said, however, that its Bubly brand of sparkling water will no longer be packaged in plastic starting next year.
Also, Aquafina water will start offering canned water to foodservice locations in the United States in 2020.
Another brand, LIFEWTR, is transitioning to 100% recycled PET in the United States, and the company's Tropicana brand aims to reach 100% recycled PET use in Western Europe by 2025.
PepsiCo said its "sustainable plastics vision is rooted in three pillars" — reduction of plastic use, increasing recycling rates and reinventing packaging.
"We're intentionally setting ambitious goals to drive meaningful progress," said Simon Lowden, president of PepsiCo Global Foods, in a statement. "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."
Lowden leads the company's "plastic agenda," PepsiCo said.
PepsiCo is using 2018 numbers as a baseline to measure reduction. The company used 4.8 billion pounds of virgin plastic that year.
Oceana, an environmental group, called for the promotion of alternatives to plastic packaging in reaction to PepsiCo’s announcement.
"The only way to deal with the burgeoning plastics crisis is to use less plastic, and PepsiCo is well-positioned to do just that using its SodaStream model as one alternative method of delivering its beverages, including Pepsi itself. Fountain sodas can be expanded, there is a lot PepsiCo could do. We look forward to learning more about their approach,” Oceana Chief Policy Officer Jacqueline Savitz said in a statement.
Greenpeace, another environmental group, also said it wants more information from PepsiCo, but indicated encouragement by PepsiCo saying its work in this area is not complete.
“To truly make a difference for our oceans, waterways and communities, PepsiCo must continue to shift its business model away from single-use packaging altogether and toward systems of refill and reuse,” said John Hocevar, director of Greenpeace USA’s oceans campaign, in a statement.
“Corporations of all sizes are realising that the days of single-use plastics are numbered. PepsiCo has committed to reducing the amount of plastic used in its products, but the proof will be in what that actually looks like on store shelves,” he continued.