PepsiCo has committed to eliminating all virgin plastic from its Pepsi brand beverage bottles sold in nine European Union markets by 2022.

The company will package the entire range of beverages under that brand using 100% r-PET bottles recycled from post-consumer packaging, while also aiming to grow reuse and refill systems such as SodaStream.

The company estimates that this move will eliminate over 70,000 tonnes of virgin, fossil fuel-based plastic per year, and will lower carbon emissions per bottle by approximately 40%.

Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece, and Spain will switch to 100% rPET in 2021, while France, Great Britain, Belgium, and Luxembourg will be at 100% rPET in 2022. The move applies to both company-owned and franchise bottlers in the relevant markets.

In France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg the commitment goes beyond Pepsi brands, to include all soft drinks, for instance, 7Up, Mountain Dew, and Lipton Ice Tea. Poland and Romania will also use 100% rPET in Mirinda.

Silviu Popovici, CEO of PepsiCo Europe, said: “We are committed to immediate action to address the plastic waste challenge. Starting with these nine markets, we are working to incorporate 100% recycled plastic into our beverage bottles so we can minimise our use of virgin, fossil fuel-based packaging. We will also look to go further and faster in other European markets where the conditions allow.

“Collaboration between all stakeholders across the EU is central to this issue. We need to design packaging to be recyclable, reduce the amount of packaging we use, and make it easy for consumers to recycle. Working with policymakers and waste management systems, we need to collect more bottles so that plastic needs never become waste.  Everyone can and should play a part in developing a circular economy for plastic.”

Over the past two years, PepsiCo has made progress in the journey to rPET inclusion.  As well as doubling its use of rPET in the EU to 30% in two years, it has launched three brands (Tropicana, Naked Smoothies and Lipton Iced Tea) in 100% rPET bottles across a number of EU markets.

PepsiCo’s three-pillar approach also looks to reduce the amount of packaging it uses and reinvent its packaging through innovations. This includes exploring new materials such as the world’s first fully recyclable paper bottle through the Pulpex consortium, and investing in reusable models such as SodaStream, which aims through growth, to avoid 67 billion single-use plastic bottles globally by 2025.