Sources inform "Globes" that SodaStream, controlled by Pepsico, plans to replace all of its plastic flavors bottles with metal bottles. The measure, scheduled by the company for launch in early 2021, will eliminate the production of hundreds of millions of disposable plastic bottles in the coming years.
SodaStream's plant in Ashkelon currently produces over 30 million bottles of flavors annually, and this number is projected to grow by over 10% a year. The company emphasizes that the measure involves operational, marketing, and commercial difficulties, including an initial investment of several hundred million shekels, plus additional investment in every bottle. SodaStream is currently conducting an internal study aimed at avoiding the need to roll the cost over on the consumer.
SodaStream has several plants in Israel and several overseas centers. The company manufactures carbonation machines, reusable bottles, and gas containers in Lehavim-Rahat. SodaStream also has logistics centers and gas filling stations around the world in order to facilitate distribution to customers in various countries. The company's bottles of flavors, an optional supplement to its soda, are made exclusively in the Ashkelon plant, from where they are shipped to 46 countries all over the world.
Eliminating disposable plastic bottles poses several challenges: adapting the SodaStream production lines to the new product and maintaining freshness and flavor. International companies participated in a tender to produce the new metal bottles, with Israel company Caniel Industries, which specializes in such production, being selected. Preference for local industry was one of the criteria in the tender.
SodaStream decided in 2018 to remove the plastic handles from millions of packages of carbonation machines marketed around the world, a measure that eliminated at least five tons of plastic a year. Company headquarters is working on a number of measures for reducing its consumption of disposable plastic and ecological footprint.
SodaStream currently offers consumers a solution for preparing carbonated beverages using reusable bottles. The company believes that the right environmental solution is to reduce from the beginning the use of disposable plastic. According to the company's figures, every reusable SodaStream bottle will eliminate a family's use of 3,000 disposable plastic bottles in three years.
SodaStream CEO Eyal Shohat says that putting the company's flavors into metal bottles is an obvious way to supplement its environmental agenda in the coming years, and will eliminate the need for 200 million disposable plastic bottles in the next five years.
"We are constantly considering additional measures, including in renewable energy, out of responsibility for the environment and the earth on which we live. Together with global warming, disposable plastic has become a real threat to the earth as we know it. We will be glad to see additional companies and opinion-makers in the business community taking important measures concerning their share of the environment," Shohat commented.
In September, hundreds of business companies joined the huge strikes all over the world in protect of governmental neglect of the climate crisis. SodaStream was the only company to join the protest in Israel, shutting down its activity for 24 hours, including its ecommerce website.
An estimate 800 million tons of plastic from human consumer products enter the environment every year. The OECD estimates that only 14-18% of plastic waste is recycled. The figure in Israel is lower - only a few percent is sent overseas for recycling, after the only plastic recycling plant in Israel closed down last year. Production of plastic is projected to increase substantially in the coming decades, and scientists claim that by 2050, the plastic in the sea will weigh more than the fish there.
Grave environmental effects
Plastic is a non-biodegradable material, which reaches everywhere is nature when it breaks apart, endangering not only animals, but also human beings. Micro-plastic particles eventually also reach our food and drink. Enlisting the business sector in reducing the use of pollutants with grave environmental effects is therefore critical.
Climate protest escalated over the past year, bringing millions of people into the streets last September demanding that their governments implement solutions to the climate crisis before it is too late. The business sector is also noticing what is going on, and in accordance with public demand and regulatory signals, is trying to practice self-regulation in order to gain consumers' sympathy and make sure that its name is not featured on plastic products, whose reputation is getting worse in an era of social protest.
SodaStream was sold to Pepsico for $3.2 billion in August 2018.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 27, 2019
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