In December 2018, the completion of the target for collection and recycling of used PET bottles equivalent to 100 per cent of its products sold in Delhi was announced by PepsiCo India. Part of its Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programme, the initiative was launched in partnership with Gem Enviro Management wherein reverse vending machines (RVM), collection vans, electric rickshaws, collection centres, and over 25 collection points were set up across Delhi to enable collection and recycling of used PET bottles.

As part of this programme, the collected waste was recycled into polyester fibre and then used to manufacture utility items like t-shirts, caps and laptop bags. The project also focused on the socioeconomic development of the waste-picker community through various engagement and capacity-building initiatives.

However, the details of what development means in this case aren’t clear since the company did not respond to our questions.

The company also celebrated ‘Green Day’ in collaboration with New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to raise awareness about responsible disposal and plastic waste-recycling practices. The drive included nukkad natak (street theatre) performances, cleanliness drives, and RVM demonstrations.

PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose 2025 goal is to design all packaging to be recoverable or recyclable, and to support increased recycling of plastic waste. Initiatives include collection, segregation and recycling of post-consumer plastic packaging waste in Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi, and non-returnable glass packaging for its beverage brands. It also successfully piloted a ‘Film to Fuel’ project at the Pune plant to convert all packaging film waste from the plant into fuel, ensuring 100 per cent recycling of packaging waste at the plant. Another pilot is its first-ever compostable packaging for Lay’s and Kurkure, across the company’s sales touchpoints at the Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3 in Delhi.

In a press release shared with CB, Neelima Dwivedi, vice president, PepsiCo India, said, ‘An important part of the work we are doing through this initiative is to train waste pickers and aid their socioeconomic development as they are an important contributor to the plastic waste-management ecosystem.’