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Pepsi Is Following in Coca-Cola's Footsteps With This Big Announcement

Sustainability initiatives are shaking up the soda industry.

The rivalry between Coca-Cola and PepsiCo is a tale as old as time. But, no matter which side you back in the Cola Wars, the latest race between the two powerhouses is something all consumers can get behind, as it benefits us all and the planet we call home.

Sustainability has been the name of the game for both beverage companies over the past several years, and a large part of the movement revolves around the reduction of plastic waste. Coca-Cola has traditionally led the pack in this area, especially most recently with a big announcement made in late July. But, not to be outdone, PepsiCo has hefty green goals of its own, and one of the company's most recent investments aims to move the needle in the right direction.

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Pepsi Bottling Ventures (PBV)—the largest privately-owned manufacturer and distributor of Pepsi products—plans to fund a $35 million expansion project for one of its production facilities in Winston-Salem, N.C., the company just announced. The location will receive a new bottling line which will not only allow for increased output of popular brands like Lipton Tea and Aquafina, but will also have the ability to manufacture bottles from 100% recycled materials. Construction on the Winston-Salem warehouse is slated to begin in 2023 and PBV anticipates that the new line will be functional by 2024.

Like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo has tested the rollout of similar 100% recycled PET beverage bottles in several European markets, and this facility upgrade in the U.S. will push the company further toward its global goal. In addition to offering a higher percentage of its products in bottles made only from recycled plastic, Pepsi has pledged that 100% of its packaging worldwide will be recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by 2025.

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These initiatives fall in line with PepsiCo Positive, or pep+, "the company's strategic, end-to-end transformation that places sustainability and human capital at the center of how it will create growth and value." The program places a strong emphasis on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, regenerative agriculture, water stewardship, and, of course, the move towards more environmentally-friendly bottles and packaging.

Over at Coca-Cola, recent sustainability efforts have involved transitioning its green-tinted bottles–which have famously housed brands like Sprite, Fresca, and Mello Yello–to a clear version in order to promote future usability. The company also rolled out smaller versions of its trademark brands in 100% recycled PET plastic starting last year and is following suit with various sizes of its Dasani water bottles.

Coca-Cola shares in Pepsi's goal to produce only 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. And, on top of that, it is committed to using at least 50% recycled materials to make its packaging by 2030.

Megan Hageman
Megan is a freelance writer based in Columbus, Ohio. Read more
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