PepsiCo to slash plastic use in sustainability push

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store in Pasadena, California, U.S., July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

By Siddharth Cavale

(Reuters) – Soda giant PepsiCo (NASDAQ:) will cut back on the use of virgin plastic and expand its SodaStream sparkling-water business to more markets amid growing calls from consumers, clients and climate change advocates to combat plastic waste.

As part of a new initiative called “pep+”, the Lays chips and Pepsi maker said on Wednesday it aims to reduce virgin plastic use per serving by half across all brands by 2030, and use 50% recycled content in all its plastic packaging.

Its standard of measurement will be the amount of plastic used to serve 12 oz (ounces) of beverages and 1 oz of food, helping the company easily gauge its plastic footprint across a diverse portfolio that includes chips and snacks to sodas and oatmeal.

Rival Coca-Cola (NYSE:) also plans to sell bottles made from fully recycled plastic in the United States, as the company and PepsiCo emerge as new targets for global activism because of the amount of single-use plastic waste they generate.

According to a Greenpeace report, Coca-Cola generates over 100 billion bottles of single-use plastic annually, while PepsiCo uses 2.3 million metric tonnes of plastic over the same period.

PepsiCo’s ambitious plan to scale its SodaStream sparkling-water business globally could, if successful, help reduce the usage of more than 200 billion plastic bottles by 2030, Chief Executive Ramon Laguarta told Reuters in an interview.

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SodaStream, acquired by PepsiCo in 2018, makes machines and refillable cylinders that let users make their own soda or carbonated water drinks at home.

The brand, currently in 40 countries, will bring new flavors into 23 more markets, and will also introduce its new SodaStream Professional platform aimed at businesses in 10 additional markets by 2022, the company said in a statement

“While recycled plastic is part of the solution, we are creating a whole new model with SodaStream, which is essential to our growth strategy in beverages,” Laguarta said.

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