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Crack open a cold one: PepsiCo testing canned water as it tries to cut down use of virgin plastic

Key Points
  • PepsiCo on Thursday announced plans to test sales of its Aquafina water in aluminum cans.
  • The company also said its LIFEWTR brand will be packaged in 100% recycled plastic and that its bubly sparkling water will no longer be available in plastic bottles.
  • The announcement comes as many retailers look to use greener packaging methods.
Source: PepsiCo

There's nothing better on a hot summer day than cracking open a cold, crisp can of ... Aquafina?

PepsiCo on Thursday said its testing sales of its Aquafina water in aluminum cans as the company moves to reduce its use of virgin plastic, which hasn't been recycled.

Though canned water is a relatively new trend in retail, PepsiCo isn't the first company to step into the market. Earlier this month, the makers of Vita Coco launched its canned water Ever & Ever as an easily-recyclable option for consumers.

But PepsiCo isn't stopping at aluminum packaging.

Not only will the company begin selling canned water alongside its bottled Aquafina at some locations, but the food and beverage retailer also said its LIFEWTR brand will be packaged in 100% recycled plastic and that its bubly sparkling water will no longer be available in plastic bottles.

PepsiCo said the changes will all go into effect in 2020. The company predicts the move will eliminate more than 8,000 metric tons of new plastic and about 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. "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."

The company's announcement comes as retailers look to change their packaging methods to greener practices. According to data from Euromonitor International, 480 billion plastic bottles were sold in 2016, with less than half collected for recycling and only 7% converted into new bottles.

PepsiCo said it plans to make all of its packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable and use 25% recycled plastic in its all of its packaging by 2025.

The company's rival Coca-Cola, which produced 110 billion of the plastic bottles sold in 2016, also said it is working to recycle 75% of the bottles it sells by 2020. The company announced in December investments in two recycling technologies that will let it use recycled plastics for its packing more efficiently.

Restaurants too are starting to think green.

Last year, Starbucks announced it plans to phase out plastic straws by 2020 — the company also said it intends to start trials for recyclable and compostable cups. Fast food giant McDonald's too began phasing out plastic straws in its U.K. and Ireland locations last year.

CNBC's Amelia Lucas contributed to this report.

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