Next month the company will begin shipping to retailers the “Eco-Fina” water bottles, which, at 10.9 grams, are the lightest in the industry, PepsiCo said. The 24-packs will no longer include cardboard base pads, which will avoid roughly 20 million pounds of corrugate material by 2010.
PepsiCo also said it will produce the bottles at the purification centers where the bottles are filled to trim unnecessary shipping. The company has set a goal of reducing water and energy use 20 percent, and fuel consumption by 25 percent, by 2015. In 2007, PepsiCo saved about 5 billion liters of water across its global operations, an 8 percent decline from 2006.
The introduction of a new half-liter bottle for Aquafina’s flavored waters also helped PepsiCo reduce packaging by roughly 13 million pounds and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 18,000 metric tons per year.
PepsiCo’s efforts to improve the green credentials of bottled water come in the wake of a backlash over the the product's environmental footprint. Aquafina bottled water is essentially tap water, as PepsiCo made clear in 2007 when it said it would start labeling the products as such.
A recent report from the Pacific Institute found tap water uses just a fraction of the energy used to produce a liter of bottled water, which includes bottle manufacture, cleaning, filling, sealing, labeling, transport and refrigeration.
Retail volume of Aquafina water fell 13.5 percent in 2008 from the year before, compared to a 0.4 percent decline for the domestic water category, according to Beverage Digest. Aquafina is the No. 1 brand in the category with 13.4 percent market share. PepsiCo also produces Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Tropicana Juice Drinks and SoBe, among other products.
Earlier this week the company said its Quaker, Gatorade and and Tropicana business units will begin phasing out wood pallets in favor of plastic pallets that are about 30 percent lighter.