Bottled water brand Aquafina, manufactured by PepsiCo, is debuting a new bottle called Eco-Fina that uses 50 percent less plastic and provides the most lightweight half-liter water bottle on the market.
The reduction in plastic is actually based on what was used in 2002, as Pepsi and other bottled water manufacturers have already gone to great lengths to reduce the reliance on plastic. The new bottle will save an estimated 75 million pounds of plastic annually.
The Eco-Fina bottles weigh about the same as two quarters when empty, which will also reduce the environmental impact of shipping. Heavier materials require more fuel consumption during transportation.
Creating lighter plastic bottles means less petroleum is used during manufacturing, but it creates more of a need for recycling. Because plastic is already lighter than aluminum or glass, it is more prone to fly out of landfills and end up in the environment. Plastic already makes up between 60 and 80 percent of marine debris.
The current national recycling rate for plastic bottles is around 20 percent. Most are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET, or #1 plastic), which can be recycled into clothing material, plastic lumber or even new bottles.
In another development, 24 packs of Aquafina will no longer come with a cardboard base. This is expected to save 20 million pounds of corrugated cardboard each year.