PepsiCo is planning to replace its plastic bottles of Aquafina with aluminum cans at locations around the U.S.
The move is part of a broader initiative from the company to reduce its plastic use as a consumer backlash against plastic use grows across the country. Microplastics, found in both air and water, block up the guts of animals and insects and can potentially have incredibly harmful consequences on ocean ecosystems.
The move could be calamitous for startups like Liquid Death, the direct to consumer retail startup pitching canned “tallboys” of water with a metal message and a veneer of environmental responsibility.
Aluminum is nearly 100% recyclable and has a better overall environmental footprint as a packaging material than plastic, according to some advocates.
For now, Pepsi’s canned water will only be available at food vendors who stock its products, but the company is considering a broader transition to aluminum cans across its supply chain.
The company also announced that its LIFEWTR brand would only be sold in 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate and its bubly product will no longer be packaged in plastic.
The changes, which the company said will go into effect next year, will eliminate 8,000 metric tons of virgin plastic and roughly 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Pepsi has set a goal of using nothing but recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging by 2025, the company said.
“As one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, we recognize the significant role PepsiCo can play in helping to change the way society makes, uses, and disposes of plastics,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta, in a statement. “We are doing our part to address the issue head on by reducing, recycling and reinventing our packaging to make it more sustainable, and we won’t stop until we live in a world where plastics are renewed and reused.”
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