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According to environmental groups, bottled water causes harm to the environment, by bottling a product that does not need to be bottled and increasing the amount of plastics in landfills. Despite still high levels of popularity, consumer awareness of environmental and economic issues has meant a decrease in sales for the bottling industry of 0.4 percent over the last year.

Plastic bottles contain only 24 percent recyclable materials. To reduce the amount of plastic it uses, PepsiCo is decreasing the weight of its new half-liter bottle by 20 percent. Its “Eco-Fina” bottle is nearly 50 percent lighter than when it was introduced in 2002.

Since the Dasani brand was introduced by Coca-Cola and Nestle’s Pure Life water materialized on the market, beverage companies have reduced their bottles by up to 30 percent and are competing to make their bottles the most lightweight. In the current market, the company that can claim it has the least impact on the environment should be able to lure consumers to purchase its brand with good conscience.

However, taking plastic out of the container is technologically difficult. To make the new Aquafina bottle, Pepsi formulated a thin “hydroskin” layer to add necessary durability. Yet the base and midsection still require thicker plastic, because the bottle must be able to hold water and remain firm, unlike a water balloon that would be difficult to grasp.

Pepsi is also saving on the transportation of its bottled water by filling bottles in the same plant in which they are manufactured. The cardboard crates used for distribution formerly contained a cardboard base pad that is being eliminated—an effort projected to save the company 20 million pounds of cardboard in the next year.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why are bottling companies reducing their plastic content?
  2. Would you be lured to purchase bottled water from the company that is the most environmentally conscious?

Valerie Bauerlein, “Pepsi to Pare Plastic for Bottled Water,” The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2009.

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