PepsiCo to Sell Water in Aluminum Cans Under Plans to Reduce 8,000 Tons of Virgin Plastic Use

PepsiCo has announced sweeping changes to how it will package its water as part of plans to eliminate thousands of tons of virgin plastic.

The company behind the popular Pepsi soft drink and a host of other beverages said that it is testing selling its Aquafina water in aluminum cans at restaurants and other food service outlets before moving to selling the cans in supermarkets and grocery stores.

On top of the switch to aluminum cans, PespiCo announced by the end of 2020, its LIFEWTR brand will be packaged in 100 percent recyclable plastic and its bubly sparking water brand will no longer be available in plastic bottles.

The company said it hopes the changes will amount to a reduction of more than 8,000 tons of virgin plastic use and eliminate 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

"Tackling plastic waste is one of my top priorities and I take this challenge personally," PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement. "As one of the world's leading food and beverage companies, we recognize the significant role PepsiCo can play in helping to change the way society makes, uses, and disposes of plastics.

"We are doing our part to address the issue head on by reducing, recycling and reinventing our packaging to make it more sustainable, and we won't stop until we live in a world where plastics are renewed and reused."

PepsiCo hopes that 100 percent of its packaging will be made from recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable materials by 2025. The company said it is almost aiming to have 25 percent of all its plastic packaging from recycled content.

"We are really excited to evolve our packaging across PepsiCo's water portfolio to make a positive impact," added Stacy Taffet, vice president of PepsiCo's water portfolio. "We created LIFEWTR to be an inspirational and purpose-driven brand, and we're expanding that vision by using recycled packaging to deliver our premium water. At the same time, bubly, our sparkling water brand that is full of flavor and personality, has already shaken up the sparkling water category and will continue to do so with this bold move."

However, as reported by Bloomberg, switching from plastic to aluminum may only be marginally less damaging to the environment, especially compared to drinking water from a tap.

"Whether it's water in bottles that are especially biodegradable, or water in cans, it's something that's a little better than plastic but shouldn't be done at all," said Peter Gleick, scientist and co-founder of the Pacific Institute. "Canned water is a marginal improvement over bottled water."

Bottles of Aquafina water are displayed on March 16, 2018 in San Anselmo, California. PepsiCo announced that from next year it will be testing sales of Aquafina in aluminum cans Justin Sullivan/Getty