Circular Future for Packaging

PepsiCo Goals on Sustainability

In an efficient food system, packaging helps make safe, high-quality products accessible to all, extending shelf life and helping to limit food waste. But, for it to have a role in a more sustainable food system, we must eliminate packaging waste.

We have set an ambitious target to reduce 35 percent of virgin plastic use across our beverage portfolio by 2025. Progress will be driven by the increased use of recycled content and alternative packaging materials. Across PepsiCo’s business and our brands, we’ve made it a business imperative to help build a circular future for packaging and a world where plastics need never become waste.

Questions about plastic & packaging, answered

See how we're rethinking packaging and what you can do to help.

Why Use Plastics?
Global Context
Plastic, when recycled, is an effective and sustainable material for packaging. Food grade plastics protect quality and freshness and also make products more convenient for today’s busy consumers. Plastic like polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, is also easily recyclable and can be used again and again for packaging, allowing potential for a circular economy for our packaging.
PepsiCo View
At PepsiCo, we recognize that plastics aren’t always recycled. So, we’re investing in partnerships to improve recycling and collection infrastructure around the world to help increase recycling rates. We’re reducing the amount of packaging we are using through lightweighting and our Beyond the Bottle and Outside the Bag offerings that provide alternatives to our traditional single-use packaging. And we’re investing in innovative, new forms of packaging, such as the biodegradable and compostable packaging we are developing in partnership with Danimer Scientific.
What is a circular economy and why is it important?
Global Context

A circular plastics economy is one where we try to get the maximum value from the plastics we produce by keeping them in use as long as possible through reuse and recycling. We're also finding alternative to single-use plastic, expanding Beyond the Bottle and developing packaging that is biodegradable.

PepsiCo View

At PepsiCo, helping to create a circular plastics economy for bottles starts with something called polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is a form of plastic that can be recycled repeatedly without degrading. We are striving to use more recycled PET, or rPET, in our bottles, with a goal using 25% recycled plastic content in our plastic packaging by 2025. But in order for us to use more rPET, more needs to become available to purchase.

PepsiCo is already one of the largest rPET purchasers in the world. If there were more rPET available, we would buy it. But here’s the challenge; today, due to low recycling rates and limited processing capacity there simply isn’t enough high-quality, food-packaging-grade rPET on the market. If we want to create a circular plastics economy, we are going to need to transform the entire recycling ecosystem, and so, PepsiCo supports efforts around the world to significantly improve our current collection and recycling infrastructure.

How can we prevent plastic from ending up in the ocean?
Global Context

Keeping plastic from ending up in the ocean starts with understanding how it gets there. It’s estimated that three-quarters of the plastics in our seas come from litter in the environment that gets washed into rivers and streams by storm water, eventually making its way into the ocean. Much of it comes from countries with poor waste and recycling infrastructure, mainly in Asia.

Preventing plastic from ending up in our oceans requires changes in how we think about, use, and dispose of plastic, and importantly, improving infrastructure in those countries to stop the flow of plastics into our oceans. For consumers, this means recycling the plastic we use. For companies, it means using innovative types of plastic in packaging, designing packaging to be 100% recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable, and helping improve recycling infrastructure. And for governments, it means stepping up infrastructure investments and regulations to help boost recycling rates, particularly in those countries that are the largest contributors to this problem.

Ocean plastic is an issue that transcends borders. We all have a role to play in reducing it at the local and regional level.

PepsiCo View
At PepsiCo, we are working to minimize the amount of plastics leaking into the oceans by supporting recycling initiatives in regions most acutely affected by ocean plastics, reducing the amount of plastics we use in our packaging, and increasing the recycled content in our packaging. In October 2018, the PepsiCo Foundation announced that it was among the first investors in Circulate Capital, contributing US$15 million to catalyse investment in solutions to reduce ocean plastic pollution in South and Southeast Asia. In September 2018, we announced that PepsiCo would collaborate in the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), led by the World Economic Forum, which will work with stakeholders in coastal economies to show how businesses, communities and governments can redesign their waste management systems to create a circular model. And in February 2019, we joined the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a consortium of chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, recyclers, and waste management companies working to make the dream of a world without plastic waste a reality. In the last year alone, PepsiCo has invested more than $50 million around the world in collaborative initiatives to boost recycling rates.
How do I recycle better?
Global Context
There is a lot of information available to learn how to recycle better. If you are in the U.S., start with Earth 911. Try buying products at the supermarket that can be recycled. You can usually tell if a product is eco-friendly by looking at the label on the packaging. Also, be sure to check with your town to find out what can and cannot be recycled and for any information they may have about your local recycling process.
PepsiCo View
At PepsiCo, we are helping to increase recycling rates by supporting initiatives that aim to improve consumer education and local recycling infrastructure. In the United States, for example, as part of PepsiCo's Recycle Rally, we have helped create a free online library of resources that help teachers educate students about recycling. In July 2018, The PepsiCo Foundation and The Recycling Partnership announced the launch of All in on Recycling, the largest ever industry-wide residential recycling challenge to help make it easier for 25 million families across the US to recycle. In the last year alone, PepsiCo has invested more than $50 million around the world in collaborative initiatives to boost recycling rates.
What do I do if I can't recycle in my town?
Global Context
Some communities, especially in rural areas, still have a long way to go in stepping up their recycling programs. Many lack sufficient recycling infrastructure to keep up with demand, some municipalities don’t have recycling programs at all, and if they do, some may not have bins for at-home collection. If you live in one of these towns, you may consider encouraging your lawmakers to increase their recycling efforts.
PepsiCo View

At PepsiCo, we advocate for better recycling programs and use our reach and the resources of the PepsiCo Foundation to support efforts to improve recycling infrastructure. For example, we support The Recycling Partnership, which works with local municipalities to improve their recycling infrastructure. We also encourage policy makers to support public funding and incentives that encourage collection of post-consumer material and expand and modernize processing capacity. If you live in a community with limited recycling options, consider reaching out to your mayor or other local officials to encourage them invest in recycling services for your community.

Beyond our efforts to boost recycling rates, we are exploring offerings Beyond the Bottle and Outside the Bag to provide convenient alternatives to single-use packaging, which can be used by consumers everywhere to minimize packaging waste.

What is single-use plastic?
Global Context
Single-use plastics, otherwise known as disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. They include things like plastic bags, straws, soda and water bottles, and most food packaging.
PepsiCo View
At PepsiCo, we’re striving to build a world where plastics need never become waste. As one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, we recognize the significant role we can play in helping to change the way society makes, uses, and disposes of plastics, and we are doing our part to help make sustainable plastics a reality. And so, we’re pursuing a strategy of reducing, recycling and reinventing our plastic packaging to help create a circular economy for plastics.
Does everything I put in the recycling bin get recycled?
Global Context
Many of the plastic, cans, bottles and boxes you recycle can be broken down into raw materials again through the recycling process and sold to manufacturers like PepsiCo, who can use these recycled materials to create new packaging. This process can be repeated many times. But there are some materials that ultimately can’t be recycled by the programs that collect them, such as food waste, rubber hoses, wire, or low-grade plastics. Be sure to follow your local recycling rules to help keep the process running smoothly.
PepsiCo View

At PepsiCo, we know there are limits to what can be recycled. We are progressing towards our goal of making 100% of our packaging recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by 2025. In order to improve recycling rates, we are investing in recycling infrastructure and working with partners to help local recycling centers accept more plastic packaging. And we have started a number of programs and initiatives aimed at educating consumers on how to recycle better in order to reduce waste.

But merely improving recycling rates is not enough. There have been many recent reports about China ceasing imports of plastics for recycling, leading markets like the US to have more used plastics than they are capable of recycling. Some reports have suggested that this is leading to plastics that have been put in recycling bins ending up in landfill.

We understand and share concerns about these reports. It is vital that appropriate resources are put into recycling infrastructure to avoid future over-capacity issues. That is why PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation have invested around $50 million in improving infrastructure around the world, and we work with industry and with government to help ensure that it is funded adequately.

Why not always use plastic alternatives like glass or aluminum?
Global Context
Plastic is a highly recyclable material that is lightweight, durable, and convenient, with a resealable cap. When choosing what materials to use in packaging, manufactures have to consider environmental impact, food safety, affordability, and consumer preferences, and often, plastic is the best option.
PepsiCo View

PepsiCo uses returnable glass, or other materials such as aluminum or sustainably sourced, paper cartons for select beverage categories in some markets. But each option has an impact on consumers, retailers, and the environment. For example, glass is heavy and can cause a greater impact from greenhouse gas emissions. It is also has a very low post-recycled value limiting recyclers ability to resell the material to packaging producers.

Currently 85% of our food and beverage packaging by weight is recyclable and we’re working to improve on that. We’re also looking to the future by working with Danimer Scientific to develop snack packaging that is biodegradable.

What is rPET and why is it used?
Global Context
rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) is a recycled version of PET or polyethylene terephthalate, which is a popular food-grade plastic used to create bottles and food packaging. It’s different from plastic made from virgin materials, as it comes from PET that has been previously used for packaging and does not require using new petroleum. Because of this, rPET also has a lower greenhouse gas footprint currently than virgin plastics.
PepsiCo View
rPET is an important part of the Recycle pillar of PepsiCo’s plastics strategy. We’re already among the largest buyers of rPET in the beverage industry, and we would buy more of it, if it were available. But to do that, we need to increase recycling rates. So, alongside key partners, we’re investing in recycling infrastructure and consumer education. In the last year alone, PepsiCo has invested more than $50 million around the world in collaborative initiatives to boost recycling rates.
What is food grade recycled plastic?
Global Context
Food grade plastic is used to package beverages and food products. For plastic to qualify as food grade it must meet certain standards of purity. It cannot contain dyes, other additives, or recycled plastic products deemed harmful to humans. A common form of food grade plastic is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is identified by the plastic code 1. Food grade rPET is recycled PET that meets the strict food grade standards, set by food safety agencies like the Federal Food and Drug Administration in the United States or the European Food Safety Authority in the European Union.
PepsiCo View
At PepsiCo, packaging is an important part of our business that helps ensure a safe, high quality product reaches our consumers. Recycled PET is an important part of this effort, and PepsiCo is already one of the largest purchasers of rPET in the world. We would buy more of it if it were available. We are currently working with local municipalities to improve recycling rates and ensure the proper procedures and standards are in place to produce more food grade rPET for our beverage bottles.

Our Sustainable Plastics Vision

We are working toward a circular economy for plastics.

At PepsiCo, we’re striving to build a world where plastics need never become waste. We share concern over the growing threat that plastic packaging waste poses to our communities and marine environments. As one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, we recognize the significant role we can play in helping to change the way society makes, uses, and disposes of plastics, and we are doing our part to help make sustainable plastics a reality.

Our sustainable plastics vision is rooted in three pillars: Reducing the amount of plastics we use; Recycling the plastics we bring to market; and Reinventing our plastic packaging.

We know it will take big ideas and even bigger goals to get there. So, we’re already hard at work. We committed to making 100% of our packaging recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by 2025, and we are striving to use 25% recycled plastic content in our plastic packaging by 2025. Additionally, we aim to reduce 35% of virgin plastic use across our beverage portfolio and, driven by SodaStream, avoid an estimated 67 billion single-use plastic bottles by 2025.


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    Get Involved 

    Discover some of our key partners below and learn how you can help make an impact. 

    Closed Loop Fund Logo | PepsiCo Partner Plastics

    We are a founding partner of the Closed Loop Fund, which is investing $100 million by 2020 to raise recycling rates in the U.S., including through improved curbside recycling infrastructure and materials processing.

    Discover more

    The Recycling Partnership TRP Logo | PepsiCo Partner Plastics


    The Recycling Partnership is a grassroots organization with the goal of increasing curbside recycling rates across the U.S. through residential home bin placement.



    How2Recycle Logo | PepsiCo Plastics Partner

    How2Recycle is a simple on pack logo indicating in a clear and concise way, how to recycle each component of a package, with additional information on its website about local recycling resources and consumer education videos.

    Get involved

    Trash Free Seas Alliance Logo | PepsiCo Partnership Plastics

    The Ocean Conservancy's Trash Free Seas Alliance is an alliance joining industry, academia, and conservation thought leaders with a common goal of reducing the amount of plastic waste leaking into the ocean annually by 50% by 2025.

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    Alliance to End Plastic Waste Logo | PepsiCo Partner

    PepsiCo is an investor in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a non-profit organization partnering with the finance community, government and civil society that has raised $1.5 billion to bring new ideas to end plastic waste.

    Get Involved

    Carbios Logo | PepsiCo Plastics Partner

    PepsiCo is a partner of Carbios, a company pioneering new, bio-industrial solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers.

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    New Plastics Economy Logo | PepsiCo Plastics Partnership

    The New Plastics Economy is a global initiative that works to move towards a 70% recycling rate for all plastic packaging. This initiative, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, brings together industry, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), scientists, and students with the goal of building a more sustainable approach to plastics.

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    TerraCycle Logo| PepsiCo Partner Plastics

    In January 2019, we announced a partnership with TerraCycle to launch a new initiative called Loop. The Loop initiative will pilot a model that delivers products in redesigned durable containers to consumers that will later be picked up to be cleaned and refilled.

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    Circulate Capital Logo | PepsiCo Plastics Partner

    The PepsiCo Foundation is the founding investor in Circulate Capital, which aims to catalyze investment in solutions to reduce ocean plastic pollution in South and Southeast Asia. The fund will finance initiatives that aim to improve on waste collection and processing.


    PepsiCo is founding partner of EIT Food for Sustainable Food System

    PepsiCo is a founding partner of EIT Food, a consortium of 50 partners from leading businesses, research centers and universities across Europe, with the ambition to create a future proof and effective food sector through a connected food system. Including efforts to increase sustainability through resource stewardship, developing solutions to transform the traditional “produce-use-dispose” model into a circular bio-economy.

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