In an efficient food system, packaging helps make safe, high-quality products accessible to all, extending shelf life and helping to limit food waste. But, for it to have a role in a more sustainable food system, we must eliminate packaging waste.
In 2018, plastic represented just under half of the total packaging material PepsiCo used, with aluminium, glass and fibre making up most of the balance. In that year, we used 2.3 million metric tonnes of plastic to package products throughout our food and beverage portfolio. While plastic offers a highly effective, lightweight packaging material, producing petroleum-based plastic is a carbon-intensive process and, globally, only 14 percent of what is used is collected for recycling. The rest becomes waste. Where it is disposed of irresponsibly or where waste management is ineffective, it litters our communities and pollutes our oceans.
We have set an ambitious target to reduce 35 percent of virgin plastic use across our beverage portfolio by 2025. Progress will be driven by the increased use of recycled content and alternative packaging materials. Across PepsiCo’s business and our brands, we’ve made it a business imperative to help build a circular future for packaging and a world where plastics need never become waste.
To help build a circular economy for soft plastics, PepsiCo Australia has partnered with REDcycle to encourage consumers to recycle their chip packets. REDcycle's processing partner, Replas, then converts soft plastics into a range of sturdy products – from fitness circuits, outdoor furniture, bollards and signage.
In 2020, we launched a program called ‘Greening the Green’, which consists of a 12-week program that will see Clean Up Australia, PepsiCo and REDcycle (with support from Replas) partner with 110 local sporting facilities across the country. The program has been designed to educate and change behaviours about waste management. Once the 12-week program is complete the sporting facilities receive equipment made by the recycled materials, demonstrating to Australians that what they put in the soft-plastics bin can be transformed into items the community can use.
We are also signatories to the Australian Packaging Covenant. This initiative provides added tools and new ideas to further our progress in Environmental Sustainability.