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

As part of this commitment, the entire range of beverages under the Pepsi brand will be packaged in plastics recycled from post-consumer packaging (rPET).

According to PepsiCo estimations, the move to 100% rPET will eliminate over 70,000 tonnes of virgin, fossil-fuel based plastic per year. Meanwhile, carbon emissions will be lowered by approximately 40% compared to standard bottles.

The shift away from virgin-based plastic bottles will apply to both company-owned and franchise bottlers in the relevant markets.

Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece and Spain will switch to 100% rPET in 2021, while France, Great Britain, Belgium and Luxembourg willl make the change in 2022. In some of the markets, the commitment goes beyond Pepsi brands and will include all soft drinks, such as 7Up, Mountain Dew and Lipton Ice Tea.

The recent announcement marks a step towards the company’s goal of achieving 50% recycled plastic (rPET) content in its bottles across the EU by 2030. It is also marks an increase on its target to eliminate 35% of virgin plastic across its beverage portfolio by 2025.

PepsiCo says technological innovations in the use of recycled plastics in carbonated drink bottles, improvements in the appearance of recycled plastic, and greater availability of recycled materials on the market have made it possible for the company to accelerate its progress.

To date, PepsiCo has rolled out new rPET bottles for its Tropicana, Naked Smoothies and Lipton Iced Tea brands across a number of EU markets.

Silviu Popovici, CEO of PepsiCo Europe, said: “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 policy makers 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.”

In addition, PepsiCo 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.