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.
Circular Future for Packaging
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Discover some of our key partners below and learn how you can help make an impact.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
PepsiCo is a partner of Carbios, a company pioneering new, bio-industrial solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers.
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.
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.
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 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.