Pepsi pledges to halve non-recycled plastic in packaging by 2030
Pepsi released new sustainability goals on Wednesday as part of an initiative called pep +, or PepsiCo Positive.
The company said it wants to use recycled materials in half of its plastic packaging. Pepsi plans to halve its use of “virgin” plastic, which is not made from recycled products. The company is giving itself until 2030 to do everything.
Oceanworks is a recycled plastic wholesaler that collects used plastic, some of which is found in the ocean, according to CEO Vanessa Coleman.
“You can imagine this plastic waste going into a processing plant. It comes in bundles of bottles, ”she said.
It is crushed into flakes, then melted into a plastic noodle. This is cut into pellets and sold to companies, like Clorox, which uses pellets in some plastic bags.
It matters to customers, Coleman said.
“Millennials of Gen Z are looking to buy more sustainably. And what that means is that they pay attention to the ingredients that go into their products, ”she said.
The burden of recycling has shifted from consumers to businesses, said Reid Liveset, a researcher at Yale. “My guess is that the industry sees that this public concern has not gone away,” he said.
But are there still enough plastic recyclers to serve big companies like Pepsi?
“That’s a great question because… a lot has to change,” Lifeset said.
This would include more bottle collection centers and better curbside collection systems. Professor Kate O’Neill of the University of California at Berkeley agrees.
“It will also have a cost,” she said. “I mean, it’s not cheap to recycle plastic in a reusable state.”
Pepsi must balance that expense with the cost of losing customers, said Jim Watson, analyst at Rabobank. “It’s the least popular beverage packaging right now, the one with the worst connotations behind it.”
It will be up to consumers and investors, Watson said, to keep Pepsi’s changes on track.