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E&E Exchange

Welcome to the Energy & Environment (E&E) Exchange, a blog dedicated to science and engineering topics that are (generally) related to energy and the environment. This blog is meant to encourage discussion about the challenges and possibilities surrounding sustainability through science and technology. The blog's owner, cheme_wordsmithy, is a former technical writer and engineering editor at IEEE GlobalSpec, the company that powers CR4.

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Green Pepsi: Environmental Sustainability at PepsiCo (Part 2)

Posted March 18, 2008 12:01 AM by Steve Melito

This is the second in a multi-part series about engineering-related aspects of PepsiCo's environmental sustainability program. Part 1 ran yesterday, and Part 3 will run tomorrow.

CR4: In one of your publications, you state that "our facilities in the United States are primarily supplied by municipal water sources". Yet some would argue that U.S. drinking water standards are too weak, especially in agricultural areas where seasonal runoffs contain high levels of herbicides. Does PepsiCo support the continued strengthening of U.S. drinking water standards?

PepsiCo: PepsiCo starts with municipal water sources but when used in food and beverages, the water is further treated to meet PepsiCo's own high standards.

For example, there has been much talk about bottled water. PepsiCo's Aquafina bottled water goes through a seven-step purification process. See this link.


Without question, health-based standards for drinking water are a topic that must remain dynamic, and must change as new scientific data become available. We support the continued strength of US drinking water standards, as well as world standards, since high standards work to our advantage in helping us assure the continued safety and stability of our products to our consumers. In addition, we often take an active role in partnering with various interested stakeholders around the world to help inform the regulatory changes that are so important. For example, in the US, we are active on the American Beverage Association's Water Resources and Quality Committee - an industry advocacy group that keeps close track of emerging scientific and regulatory trends related to both drinking water and bottled water. We have similar engagement in other areas of the world as well.

CR4: To make potato chips, the Frito-Lay division uses water to remove excess starch from potato slices. What technologies are used to treat this water so that it can be recycled for subsequent processing operations? And what do you do with the recovered starch?

PepsiCo: Water washes away excess starch that comes from the potato slices. The water is then cleaned and recycled for use in operations. In many cases it is returned to the water system in a cleaner state than it started. Recovered starch is then sold for use in industry. In the United Kingdom, the starch is further processed to food grade and has been both used in our own products and sold for other use.

CR4: Starting in 2005, PepsiCo began to use hybrid vehicles for its sales and delivery fleet. What's percentage of your fleet uses hybrid vehicles today? Where do you expect to be in 5 years? 10 years?

PepsiCo: Frito-Lay operates its own fleet. Hybrid vehicles have been tested and one vehicle is currently running a route. We continue to evaluate the economics of Hybrid delivery vehicles and as of yet we are uncertain about future expansion. Frito-Lay is also looking at alternative methods to double the delivery fleet fuel mileage through existing technologies such as small, clean-burning diesel engines. Hybrids are also being used for company cars and PepsiCo has the second largest private hybrid vehicle fleet in the country with over 600 units. Our policy is that as company cars come off lease, they are replaced with hybrids. This will soon lead to all company cars being hybrid.

Editor's Note: Part 3 of this series will run tomorrow.

To see PepsiCo Environmental Sustainability in action, visit: http://www.pepsico.com/PEP_Citizenship/EnvironmentalNews/video/index.cfm

Steve Melito - The Y Files

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