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Waste Not Georgia

April 18, 2001
Contact: Lance King - (703) 536-7282
or Bill Sheehan - (706) 613-7121

Pepsi 'Broke Recycling Promise',
Environmental Groups Claim

Shareholder Resolution Focuses Attention on Pepsi's Bottle and Can Waste

ATLANTA, GA (April 27, 2001) -- PepsiCo Inc. (Ticker: PEP) broke its 1990 promise to make soda bottles with 25 percent recycled plastic and the company has spent millions of dollars lobbying against recycling legislation, environmental leaders said today.

"More than 1.6 million Pepsi soda bottles and cans are thrown away every hour in the United States. In one day, more than 40 million Pepsi soft drink containers become litter or get sent to landfills and incinerators," said Bill Sheehan, national network coordinator for the Athens, Georgia-based GrassRoots Recycling Network.

"It's time for Pepsi to take responsibility for wasting billions of beverage containers each year. We urge Pepsi shareholders to vote for the recycling proposal, proxy item Number 6, at the annual shareholder meeting in Dallas, Texas on May 2," Sheehan said.

PepsiCo is the nation's second largest beverage maker. PepsiCo shareholders can vote via the Internet for the recycling proposal by going to the GrassRoots Recycling Network web site, at

"We have targeted Pepsi for several reasons. First, because Pepsi broke its 1990 promise to use recycled plastic in making new soda bottles. Second, because the company increasingly relies on throwaway plastic bottles, and three out of four end up in landfills or incinerators. Third, because Pepsi has spent millions of dollars to defeat the most effective beverage container recycling laws in the nation - bottle bills," said Lance King, a spokesman for environmental groups supporting the shareholder resolution.

Walden Asset Management of Boston, and Domini Social Investments of New York, which together own $20 million worth of PepsiCo stock, submitted the shareholder resolution. The non-binding resolution calls for PepsiCo to meet two specific recycling goals by January 1, 2005:

  • Make Pepsi plastic bottles with 25 percent recycled plastic; and
  • Achieve an 80 percent national recycling rate for bottles and cans.

The PepsiCo recycling resolution is similar to one introduced at the April 18 Coke shareholder meeting. That proposal received 5.2% 'Yes" votes, representing 88.9 million shares worth more than $4 billion.

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola both promised in 1990 to use 25% recycled plastic in their plastic bottles. Coke recently started using a small amount of recycled plastic in the United States, and CEO Doug Daft announced at the April 18 meeting that Coke has set a 10% recycled content goal by 2005 for their plastic bottles.

Environmental groups led by the GrassRoots Recycling Network have waged a four-year campaign targeting Coca-Cola to take responsibility for rising beverage container waste and declining recycling rates.

"Coke has been the focus of our campaign because they are the market leader, with 44% of the U.S. soft drink market. Pepsi, with 31% market share, has done nothing. Pepsi has gotten a free ride. But that is about to change," said Sheehan.

"Plastics are now the largest portion of beverage container waste in the United States.," Pat Franklin, executive director of the Arlington, Virginia-based Container Recycling Institute said. "Beverage container waste increased more than 50 percent from 1992 to 1999. Pepsi is a big part of the problem."

"Pepsi needs to take responsibility for its bottle and can waste. Throwing away billions of bottles and cans every year burdens local government and taxpayers with clean-up costs, pollutes the environment, and squanders valuable energy needed to make new containers from virgin resources," Franklin said.

"The shareholder resolutions set realistic goals, based on actual experience. Plastic soda bottles are made with 25 percent recycled plastic in several countries, including Australia, Switzerland and Sweden. Coke has started using recycled plastic again in the United States, while Pepsi shirks its responsibility," Bob Woodall, executive director of Atlanta, Georgia-based Waste Not Georgia, said.

"Ten states across America already achieve an 80 percent recycling rate for bottles and cans by requiring a refundable deposit on beverage containers. The key to increase recycling on a national basis is providing appropriate financial incentives," Woodall said.

PepsiCo's recent acquisition of Gatorade brand, the sports drink leader, is both good news and bad news from a recycling perspective. "Gatorade reportedly uses some recycled plastic in making its bottles. However, more than 80 percent of Gatorade plastic bottles get thrown away, because only 2 states require a refundable deposit on this type of beverage," Sheehan said. "Non-carbonated drinks, like teas, sports drinks and water, are the fastest growing portion of the beverage market, and the fastest growing contributor to beverage container waste."

For more information on the shareholder campaign, visit the Internet at:


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