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Coca-Cola and Pepsi Commit to Sustainable Plastic Usage

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

Emma Reynolds tells us about the bold moves taken by these industry leaders by taking sustainable steps in the fight against plastic | Nature and Environmental

Photo by Alex Loup

Two of the world’s largest plastic bottle manufacturers, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have decided to commit to a better, more sustainable future.

Both of the companies have chosen to increase their commitment to recycling materials they use, and to encourage their customers to do the same. They are trying to incorporate more recycled plastics into their bottles, and therefore create a more sustainable manufacturing process.

The companies were formerly members of the Plastics Industry Association. A company that practises plastics lobbying, which encourages the use of plastic, and offers careers in plastic manufacturing. They seek to make plastic bans illegal in America, a goal which hindered Coca-Cola and Pepsi’s plans for supporting more sustainable practices. For this reason, both companies have withdrawn from the organisation.

Greenpeace were a large part of the reason why the companies chose to leave the Plastics Industry Association as they denounced the scientific logic behind the organisation’s supposedly sustainable practices.

The fact that such globally influential companies have chosen to cut ties with the Association is a positive step forward. John Hocevar the Campaign Director of Greenpeace USA Oceans commented:

“companies understand that we cannot publicly say they want to end plastic pollution, while financially supporting an association that lobbies for our continued reliance on throwaway plastics”

New Plastic Priorities

The two globally recognised brands are choosing to make a larger difference in their plastic usage and are experimenting with more sustainable alternatives such as aluminium packaging. In 2019, PepsiCo announced that its Aquafina branded water is soon going to be sold in aluminium cans at fast food US restaurants, with the plan being to implement this in retail stores in the near future.

Pepsi has committed to using only recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging by 2025, also pledging to make new plastic bottles using 25% recycled material. "Tackling plastic waste is one of my top priorities and I take this challenge personally," PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said. "We are doing our part to address the issue head on by reducing, recycling and reinventing our packaging."

These plans are a huge victory for sustainability and eco-friendly activists as it is a chance for two globally renowned companies to make significant change in the war that we are fighting against excessive plastic use.

Even if the act of becoming more sustainable is just a marketing ploy to improve the companies’ image in a time when ethical and environmental practice is heavily scrutinised by consumers, the change is being made nonetheless. If such huge companies are making a commitment to helping the environment, then hopefully others will follow suit.

Let’s keep fighting for plastic change, together.


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