PepsiCo North America Reaches 95% Recyclable Beverage Packaging

PepsiCo North America
(Photo: PepsiCo global headquarters in Purchase, New York. Credit: PepsiCo)

PepsiCo North America has reached about 95% recyclable beverage packaging, the company’s director of recycling and sustainability said this week. By 2025, PepsiCo aims to design 100% of their global packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable.

Kathleen Niesen, director of recycling and sustainability for PepsiCo North America Beverages, shared the update with Packaging World. Niesen is responsible for packaging and recycling beverages as well as sustainable water and water replenishment with a focus on high-stress watersheds in the United States, the publication noted.

PepsiCo released its Performance with Purpose 2025 Agenda in 2016, which included the 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable goal. Speaking to Environmental Leader last year, Andrew Aulisi, senior director of global environmental policy at PepsiCo said that in 2017 approximately 85% of the company’s worldwide packaging met the criteria. Currently the global figure for beverages is now 90%, Packaging World reported.

Niesen told the outlet that material selection heavily influences beverage packaging recyclability for the company. “The capabilities and constraints, and the limitations and innovations that are available and happening all the time in the collection and sortation and processing industry very much inform PepsiCo in terms of making our packaging 100% recyclable,” she said.

Last October, PepsiCo increased its use of 100% recycled PET plastic in packaging through a multi-year agreement with Loop Industries. The company also invests in Closed Loop Partners along with corporations that include Coca-Cola, Danone North America, Nestlé Waters, and Keurig Dr Pepper.

Recycling infrastructure and post-consumer behavior are additional important factors, Niesen said. To help close the gaps, the company’s philanthropic arm teamed up with the Recycling Partnership last summer to make recycling easier millions of American families. The PepsiCo Foundation put $10 million in funding to kickstart an industry-wide residential recycling challenge called All In on Recycling.

In order to reach 100% on the North American beverage side, Niesen says the strategy entails supporting NGOs that help municipal solid waste management systems, working on innovative projects and systems, making sure that labels about recyclability are clear for consumers, and doing outreach informing the public about the benefits of recycling.

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