It’sa familiar sight. People pull into a gas station or convenience store and have no option other than trash cans to dispose of empty, recyclable beverage containers. Now, PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy—the world's largest conservation organization—are joining forces to help alleviate this problem while encouraging consumers to recycle more often to help protect drinking water sources throughout the U.S.
As part of a new five-year partnership called "Recycle for Nature," PepsiCo will expand the availability of recycling bins in the U.S., beginning where they are needed most—at gas stations and convenience stores. According to a PepsiCo national survey, 81% of Americans say they would recycle beverage containers at a retail location if proper bins were available1. At away-from-home locations, recycling bins are available only 12% of the time2.
This project is being done as part of PepsiCo's collaboration with Walmart to increase recycling and investment in the Closed Loop Fund. The Fund is a program that will provide financing to municipalities and other organizations whose goal is to provide people access to recycling when and where they need it. PepsiCo is now tackling both on-the-go and curbside recycling as part of its goal to help drive the U.S. beverage container recycling rate to 50% by 2018. The U.S. beverage container recycling rate is currently at 42% according to the American Beverage Association.
"Most consumers want to recycle when they're away from home – there just aren't enough convenient places to do it," said Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. "This is a huge opportunity that has been largely unaddressed until now. The easier we can make it to recycle, the more likely people are to recycle; and by giving consumers the added incentive of helping protect our watersheds, we can make an impact."
Beyond simple convenience, the partnership will give consumers another incentive to recycle: protecting drinking water at its source. By recycling more often, consumers will be able to drive efforts to protect drinking water in five key areas that supply water to more than 35 million people through some of the nation's most populated and beautiful waterways.
"As our population and economies grow, already-stressed water sources will face unprecedented pressure," said Mark R. Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. "Protecting the rivers that provide clean, reliable water for people and nature is one of the smartest investments that forward-thinking companies can make."
"We are excited to partner with PepsiCo to protect America's great rivers and also help increase recycling rates nationwide," he added.
"Recycle for Nature" will provide consumers the chance to directly drive drinking water conservation efforts by recycling more often. For every one point increase in the U.S. beverage container recycling rate each year, PepsiCo will make an additional donation to The Nature Conservancy with the goal of reaching up to $1 milliontotal each year for five years. The goal is to save and restore one billion gallons of water over five years in rivers that supply water to more than 35 million people across nine states, including:
- Colorado River
- Denver's Front Range Forests
- The Verde River in Arizona
- The Kings River in Northwest Arkansas
- North Carolina's Cape Fear River
PepsiCo will also support awareness and habitat improvement initiatives in The Nature Conservancy's Green Swamp Preserve in North Carolina designed to protect the rare Venus fly trap and other carnivorous plants.
PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy will kick off the partnership by expanding a pilot program that PepsiCo has been running in Tulsa, Okla., since 2012 in collaboration with Kum & Go convenience stores and gas stations. The goal for this near-term expansion is to drive a tenfold increase in the number of recycling bins in the area. Through its large presence in all 50 states and more than one million active members, the Conservancy will help raise awareness of recycling and increase recycling efforts in their local communities in partnership with PepsiCo.
1Survey results of 1,000 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over conducted by The Omnibus Company on behalf of PepsiCo
2 Littering Behavior in America National Study, Keep America Beautiful, 2009