Coca-Cola and Pepsi Agree on Plastic Waste Problem

On a World Economic Forum panel, both CEOs discussed plastic waste issues, alternatives and recycling initiatives.

January 29, 2019

WASHINGTON - During a World Economic Forum panel, PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta and Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey talked about how their companies are reducing plastic use. The other panelists agreed as well, but all had different ways and ideas on how to address the issue.

CNBC says that both Coke and Pepsi are working on plastic alternatives and recycling programs, but differences arise when discussing the consumer desire for such initiatives.

Pepsi is hoping to make all of its packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025. It has started with compostable chip bags in Chile, India and the U.S. But Dow Chemical CEO Jim Fitterling says that biodegradable alternatives will take more time to implement since companies will need to figure out how to preserve the food and beverages inside.

In 2016, Euromonitor found that 480 billion plastic bottles were sold. Less than 50% were collected for recycling and only 7% turned into new bottles. Coca-Cola made 110 billion of those bottles. But by 2020, the company aims to recover and recycle 75% of the bottles it introduces in developed countries by 2020.

Coca-Cola CEO Quincey said that consumer care varies by country, with some populations recycling more than 90% of bottles and cans as others recycle 10%.

For several years now, to further show its commitment to sustainability, Coca-Cola has sponsored the NACS European Convenience Retail Sustainability Award at the annual NACS Convenience Summit Europe event. The award recognizes a convenience retailing company that has pursued a significant and compelling sustainability initiative that has significantly improved commercial performance, competitiveness, customer perception, staff engagement, and prospects for continued financial strength.  Previous year’s award winners have included REWE Group and Carrefour Group