Whether it’s banning straws or ditching six-pack rings, governments and companies are attempting to do their parts to reduce plastic use in consumer goods. But bottled water remains one of the final bastions of plastic domination—the entire category is called “bottled water,” not canned water or boxed water. Here is one of the first cracks in that armor, though: PepsiCo has announced it will transition its Bubly sparkling water line entirely out of plastic, and will test consumer attitudes toward canned Aquafina water.
In a press release, PepsiCo says the changes will go into effect next year and will save more than 8,000 metric tons of virgin plastic and about 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions. Aquafina will be sold in cans at restaurants and other food-service outlets while the company tests consumer preferences for the cans in grocery and other retail stores. LIFEWTR water will continue to come in plastic bottles, but those will transition to 100% rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate).
Why not canned water? We accept that format for most sparkling water brands, and breweries have in the past donated canned water to areas hit by natural disasters. Initially, the bottles probably better showcased their waters’ pristine clarity, a selling point when you’re trying to get people to shell out $2 for a substance that comes out of a tap nearly for free. Now that we’ve all seen those heartbreaking photos of turtles and floating plastic islands, hopefully that tide is poised to change.