Recycling And Waste Management: Coca-Cola Vs Pepsi Case Study

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Introduction of Recycling And Waste Management: A Case Study Of Coca-Cola Vs Pepsi Assignment

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Chapter 1: 

The study is to examine the effect of initiating the cause of plastic waste management on the overall sustainability of the environment; a case study of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Plastics have turned out to be an integral part of the modern daily lives, and their increasing demand has made it a great necessity to manufacture PET plastic for the packaging of beverages such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Due to the ever-increasing consumption of bottled soft drinks and mineral water, the importance of manufacturing PET plastic or other forms of sustainable plastic has come to be an excellent task. Despite anything, plastic is a very versatile material, the usage and production of which are quite affordable and consequently have become a widely used material for many industrial, personal, and household uses (Lau et al., 2020). The frequent cycle of plastic production, consumption, and distribution has led to an increase in plastic waste accumulation, and that problem is further heightened due to the absence of proper and effective waste management techniques. The absence of proper waste management techniques has led to open waste disposal and indiscriminate plastic waste dumping leading to severe environmental hazards. According to Euromonitor, in 2016, 480 billion odd plastic bottles were sold, and only 50% of which were collected for recycling and 7% of which turned into new bottles. Out of 480, 110 were of Coca-Cola alone. Companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have an excessive usage of plastic, and their CEOs had to admit during the World Economic Forum in 2019 that they are trying to reduce plastic usage. Pepsi has aims that they will be aiming to make all of its packaging recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable by 2025. Improper waste management has led to not only environmental hazards but has also caused social and economic problems, which are further worsened due to the absence of infrastructure to dispose of or recycle that excessive amount of plastic properly. By 2018, the global production of plastics had reached 359 million metric tons, with 62 million metric tons produced in Europe alone. This data is glaringly disturbing, keeping in mind how hazardous plastic is to the environment and how poor the plastic waste management techniques are throughout the world. Keeping this serious issue in mind, the researcher undertook this study of recycling and waste management, a study on Coca-Cola and Pepsi, to find out better insights into it and to examine the effective ways to initiate plastic waste management. The study comprises the background of the whole matter, the problem statement, research questions and objectives, scope, conceptual framework, significance, and justification. The general objective of the study is to examine the techniques and ways of plastic recycling and waste management by Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Also, to properly assess and explore the practices used by Coca-Cola and Pepsi when it comes to recycling the plastic they use and the efforts they undertake to manage further the waste which is accumulated as a result of it. It is an intricate cycle that consists of 3 detailed stages, all of which are important in their own ways. Beginning from production by the company and distribution to franchises and licensed depots to sell the product, the product reaches the household or the customer who further handles it in their own ways.

Through the production, distribution, and consumption, the independent variable, 'Recycling and Waste Management by Coca Cola and Pepsi,' will examine and explore the practices undertaken by Coca Cola and Pepsi to produce, distribute, consume and then further recycle and manage the waste of plastics. At the production level, the main focus would be to examine the techniques adopted by Coca-Cola and Pepsi, its franchisees, and licensed sale depots would be explored on the level distribution and household technique of waste management at the consumption level. The conclusion emphasizes the point that if waste management techniques are not adopted throughout the process of production, distribution, and consumption, then it would not be effective only to target one part of the cycle. That would cause not only environmental but also socio-economic problems across the region.

Research aims and objectives

To examine the impact of initiating plastic waste management on environmental sustainability. Specific objective:

  1. To examine the practices of plastic waste management by Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
  2. To explore the effect of plastic waste management by Coca-cola and Pepsi.
  3. To examine the possible ways to initiate effective plastic waste management.

Research questions

  1. What are some of the practices of plastic waste management undertaken by Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

  2. What are the effects of plastic waste management?

  3. What are the possible ways to initiate effective plastic waste management?

Chapter 2: Literature Review


This literature review will talk about the recycling and waste management of the Coca-Cola and PepsiCo company. It will show how the plastic and waste produced during the consumption, distribution, and production processes affect the environment. This study was made to show how the wastes produced during the production of these products leave an impact on various environmental, social, and economic factors—the aim of this literature review is to gain in-depth knowledge on the given topic. Books, websites, dissertations, and reports played an important part in the creation of this report.

Consumption Level

The beverage industry is growing at a vast rate, and most of the companies in the industry use PET for packaging. The PET market all over the world has faced a rapid increase in demand. Consumption of drinks available in plastic bottles like juice, water, and carbonated drinks has led to the rise in the production of plastic in the environment (Idumah and Nwuzor, 2019). This is laying huge stress on the environment, resulting in an increase in plastic pollution.

Although companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo write “Please Recycle” on the bottles but most of the consumers do not follow the mentioned guidelines. People scatter these plastic bottles everywhere, which leads to water and soil pollution. It has been observed that there are places where people gather plastic bottles dumped at the wrong locations and send them to recyclers. However, this is not a reliable process since it is not possible to find and pick plastic bottles from everywhere (Baldowska-Witos et al., 2019). Most of the companies in the beverage industry seem to have failed to provide the consumers with proper recycling knowledge. Once the consumers understand the importance of recycling plastic, the problem will become a lot easier to solve. If plastic bottles are dumped in dustbins, they can be collected by various recycling organizations and can be reused to make new bottles.

Distribution Level

The love of people towards beverages available in plastic bottles is increasing day by day, resulting in huge tons of plastic production and consumption every year. Surveys held recently show China is the biggest distributor of plastic, and the US produces the most plastic waste in the world. The global PET market makes more than 82 million metric tons of plastic every year (Lonca et al., 2020). This shows how the market for packaged beverages has been increasing. The production of single-use PET has also been increasing at a vast rate due to the demand of the consumers.
Giant companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo should use their distribution channels to recover plastics (Ukago, Ewuzie and Onwuka, 2020). These plastics can be reused after recycling. However, the plastic recycling industry is doing a good job. The plastic recycling industry is contributing a lot to reducing plastic waste, and the global plastic recycling industry makes almost $43 billion every year. Europe is doing very well in recycling plastic wastes, the European plastic recycling industry employs more than 1.5 million people, and the industry in Europe is doing great. China which is the largest producer of plastic, has recently taken the initiative by implementing policies in order to take control of plastic waste (Lonca et al., 2020).

Production Level

Research shows that plastics are made from hydrocarbons and polymers. These materials contain non-renewable resources like coal, crude oil, and fossil hydrocarbons. This means that the production of plastic results in the depletion of natural resources, which will eventually affect the environment (Amato-Lourenço et al., 2020). It has been found that the production of plastics requires a heavy amount of petroleum; almost 20% of the world’s petroleum consumption is due to producing plastic. The problem is that many nations produce plastic at a vast rate, but there are not many measures taken by the governments in order to control plastic waste. Proper measures should be implemented by these countries in order to put a check on plastic waste.
In contrast to the point mentioned above, studies have also shown that most of the plastic wastes produced are in solid form (Alabi et al., 2019). The solid form of plastic is easier to recycle. However, the recycling process of companies is a lot outdated and unhygienic. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo should think about strategies to improve the recycling process.
Companies nowadays take a lot of precautions on recycling the plastic bottles, like mentioning to recycle after use, but people don’t usually follow it. Therefore, taking waste management measures in companies like these will help a lot to overcome the economic and environmental problems (Thusari and Senevirathana, 2020).

Effects of Plastic Wastes

Social Effects

Plastic waste, when exposed to sunlight, releases harmful chemical gases. These gases are very toxic, and it affects people. The gas mainly targets the reproductive organs and brain, reducing the capability. Observing these side effects, plastic wastes are also considered hazardous wastes. Studies done by the World Health Organization have shown that burnt plastic produces hazardous gases which cause fatal respiratory diseases such as lung cancer which causes the death of millions

of people every year (Alabi et al., 2019). Landfilling is the most common way of dumping plastic waste. This causes both soil and water pollution. The quality of soil degrades when plastic is mixed in it. Further, the plastic spreads across different water sources, which causes water pollution and affects aquatic animals. Plastics also result in the blockage of the city’s sewer systems. The dirty water logging in these sewers gives birth to millions of mosquitoes, causing diseases like dengue and malaria. It also causes poisonous gases resulting in an awful smell.

Plastic wastes are not only harmful to human life, but they are harmful to animal life as well. Every year more than 250 species of animals die due to the consumption of plastics. The most vulnerable are marine animals; plastics are thrown into seas and oceans, causing the death of more than 1 million marine animals (Sandu et al., 2020). This includes sea turtles, sea birds, whales, dolphins, and many varieties of fishes. This shows how plastic waste damages the ecosystem.

The Economic Effects

The plastic industry plays an important part in the global economy. However, careless dumping of plastic stuff everywhere has made it an alarming threat to the environment. It has been seen that the plastic industry uses a lot of fossil fuels, which results in a rise in the cost of petroleum. Every year the waste oils produced by these factories are released into the ocean, resulting in a huge impact on marine life. Compared to the serious trouble that these industries cause, the prevention

measures taken are very minimal (Chmielarska, 2019). Most countries dump plastic waste in dumpsites. There the plastic degrades in quality, and most of the plastic becomes unusable according to the international standard. So, the production of fresh plastic keeps going, and the pollution control rate does not improve.

Environmental Effects

The plastics industry produces millions of tons of plastic every year. 79% of these are dumped in landfills, 12% are destroyed, and only 9% of the plastic gets recycled. This shows how much work is needed to increase the recycling percentage. Most of the plastic wastes are just kept in the environment, which increases pollution. Plastic waste takes a very long time to break down

naturally, which is almost 500 years (Rhein and Sträter, 2021).

The chemicals used during the production of plastic are highly harmful to human life. These plastic products, when exposed to heat, cause leaching. The plastic bottles used for beverage packaging contain a chemical named bisphenol-A. When the bottle comes in contact with heat, the bisphenol A present in it releases various chemical combinations into the content of the bottle; when a person consumes the contaminated beverage, it results in various health issues. Due to a lack of appropriate technology, many people burn plastic as a way to get rid of it (Qian, Dargusch and Hill, 2022). This causes the emission of various hazardous and greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gases emitted by this degrades the air quality of the environment, which eventually results in causing various fatal respiratory diseases (Chua et al., 2020). This shows that the way of handling plastic waste adopted is extremely harmful to the environment and the people themselves. Research should be done on creating biodegradable plastics and inventing ways to recycle plastic in a safe manner.

Ways of Implementing Waste Management

Increasing Producer Responsibility

Many countries are adopting this method in order to recycle plastic waste properly. This method mainly implies the production level. Here the manufacturer takes full responsibility for the product’s life cycle. This means after the use of the product, the manufacturer will handle the recovery of the plastic wastes and shift it to the proper places for its recycling process. However, this process will require some economic strategies. Companies must hire people to gather plastic bottles, and the employees appointed for this work must be given proper incentives. This way, the employees will never lose interest in the work, and the work can be done with full capability. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo should also put some money aside from the profits for the waste management processes (Chua et al., 2020).

Waste Stock Exchange

This is an effective way to turn waste into valuable objects. This method includes putting up value to waste materials. People who collect these waste materials and give them back to the factory’s recycling units get money in exchange. This method really works well in reducing the land fillings since the wastes would already get collected and sold to the recycling factories. The waste stock exchange can change the ongoing plastic pollution problems. It will add worth to the plastic bottles, and worthy things are never thrown away (Anjana et al., 2020).

Waste Management Events

This method includes the community taking charge of the problems. People who want to contribute something to the environment can participate in these programs and help to clean the waste plastics voluntarily. This is an effective and low-cost method of gathering non-biodegradable wastes.

Increase in Population

The solid waste increase throughout the world is mainly caused by population growth. Taking an example of Africa, the swiftly increasing urbanization and population of the country increases the amount of solid waste produced. These solid wastes produced have negative impacts on human health, and the cause of this is overpopulation (Sandu et al., 2020). The governments of these countries need to implement advanced recycling programmes so that these wastes get appropriately recycled. 

Post-Consumer Practices

Every business must inherit a business model containing a proper waste management system. The business can launch incentive-based programs in the waste management sector in order to increase the efficiency of the employees. Research shows that introducing new incentive policies is very important for the recycling of waste. There are countries where the government helps the recycling organizations with funding (Alabi et al., 2019). Some countries also have markets where these wastes can be sold. Another smart way is to collect waste door to door. People must be taught to separate wastes according to nature. An example of one such country is Japan; in Japan, different dustbins are there for different wastes. People can store the plastic bottles in a separate dustbin and can dump them whenever the truck comes. This will help to separate the wastes and will fasten the recycling process.

Initiatives Taken by Coca-Cola to Reduce Plastic Wastes

The Coca-Cola Company seems to have set some really ambitious goals for the sake of protecting the environment. Coca-Cola believes that a world without waste is possible. The process seems to do well in Canada. Almost 77% of the containers that Coca-Cola sells are recycled successfully. Coca-Cola is working closely with the government and different beverage companies to increase this rate. Coca-Cola is also working with many community partners in order to make sure that the bottles and cans are not present in unwanted places (Narancic and O’Connor, 2019). Recently, Coca-Cola conducted a project where the Great Canadian Shoreline was cleaned up. The company has been putting a considerable amount of attention on these issues, and the company also contributes to the clean-up programmes conducted by the government.

Recyclable Packages

Most of the company’s packing materials are considered recyclable. However, the company claims to be using packaging by 2025 which will be fully recyclable. The company is trying to bring out bottles that are environmentally friendly and easily recyclable. The company’s 2.63L bottle has won many awards for its design and features. The company introduced new technology in the making of the bottle, making it the #1 PET bottle, which is the highest rank available in the recycling system (Narancic and O’Connor, 2019). Powerade, one of the company’s products, got recognition for its 100% recyclable bottle. The company also worked a lot with its R&D team and managed to reduce the plastic amount in its bottle by up to 9%.

Use of Recycled Materials in the Bottles

With the help of the government and the recycling team, the Coca-Cola Company is trying to upgrade the recycling standards so that the company can produce bottles that contain 50% of recycled materials. The company also works with partners around the world who use recycled polyethylene terephthalate, also known as rPET, to make the bottles. The company gathers bottles, recycles the bottles to make rPET, and uses the rPET to make new bottles. This method is great for avoiding wastage of PET, and the older plastics are getting a new life with this method. The goal of Coca-Cola is to make bottles with as much rPET as possible (Willis et al., 2018).

Although companies like Coca-Cola are trying to put a check on these issues by implementing different strategies, the company won’t be successful without the people’s support. No one can abandon the beverages and juice brands, and packing is important to keep the products safe and fresh. However, things can change if people understand the importance of recycling used bottles and, instead of throwing them elsewhere, throwing them in proper places. Small steps like these can make a huge impact in the future (Gadiraju, 2016).

Initiatives Taken by PepsiCo to Reduce Plastic Wastes

PepsiCo seems to understand the importance of the proper disposal of plastic bottles after use. The company is trying to save awareness among the people in order to achieve the recycling goals. The company has certain visions to be completed by 2025. The company is trying to make its packaging 100% biodegradable, compostable and recyclable. The company is trying to educate the consumers on how plastic wastes thrown in landfills and oceans can affect the environment, and the company is trying to use up to 25% recycled materials in its packaging. Just like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo is trying to collaborate with other companies in order to raise the standard of the recycling process.

The company has also promised to reduce the use of virgin plastic by 35%. This will eventually eliminate 2.5 million metric tons of virgin plastic. The company is trying to improve the recycling

rates by adopting different measures.

Visions for Reducing Plastic Wastes

Among all the packaging materials used by PepsiCo, the most concerning is plastic packaging. The company uses millions of tons of plastic in the packaging process of the company’s various products. The company wants to build a society where plastic will never get wasted. They’ll achieve it by adopting various recycling and reducing methods.

Reducing Plastic Use

PepsiCo is trying to reduce the use of plastic in the packaging of its products. The company is investing a lot in research that is focused to finding substitute materials for the products in place of plastic.

Recycling Process

The company believes that recycling is the best way to put an end to this concerning problem. For this, the company is designing packages that are 100% biodegradable, recyclable and compostable. The company is also investing a lot in recycling infrastructure. This way, the company would be able to recycle the maximum amount of plastic efficiently. Just like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo is trying to reduce the amount of plastic in the packaging of the products and is spending considerable time educating the consumers about the side effects of plastic waste (Gupta, Shukla and Agarwal, 2019). No company can ever reduce these targets without the support of the consumers, so the consumers must know the consequences of throwing plastic stuff carelessly and the problems that it can cause to the environment.

Reinventing the Packaging

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, both companies, have been giants in this industry for a long time. So, PepsiCo is trying to reinvent the packaging of the products and is trying to make them as environmentally friendly as possible. The company’s goal is to produce bottles and packets for the products which are biodegradable and can easily be recycled (Yee et al., 2020). The company also has a recycling team called PepsiCo Recycling. The goal of this team is to find ways to recycle plastic wastes and spread awareness among the public by organizing events and clean-up programmes.

Organizing Recycling Rallies

PepsiCo not only organizes recycling rallies, but the company also helps other organizations that are trying to do the same. Every year, the company helps many organizations that are trying to organize recycling rallies by providing tools and many more things.

Community Recycling Rallies

The company organizes community recycling rallies. Here, the company works with people who want to help the environment by volunteering with the company to gather waste. This makes recycling accessible and convenient. 

Recycling Roadster

This is a unique method that PepsiCo uses to promote the need for recycling. This is a big vehicle that travels everywhere and shows the people the importance of recycling; many people schedule time in order to see the unique vehicle in action (Almorth and Eggert, 2019).

Apart from all the measures taken by PepsiCo, the company also insists that people take measures in order to help clean the environment. The company tells the people to organize trash picking events at local beaches, parks, or highways. Not only this, but PepsiCo also insists the people manage cash for can events. In this event, the people can collect cans and bottles from other houses. After that, the cans and bottles can be sold to nearby recycling plants, and the money obtained can be used for a good cause, like donating it to a charity.

Conclusion and literature gap

Plastic and its waste management have affected the environment, eco-system, and socio-economic condition of the world, especially in the under-developed and developing countries where mass factories are set up for the sake of cheap labour. It is because of the cost and is not much of the producer's responsibility, and especially in the cases of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, it is just proper or efficient to take the environmental sustainability into consideration. The efforts of plastic waste management are supposed to be taken by everyone, and the burden should not entirely be upon the producers and distributors like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Big companies dump products in the market, but the consumers, after drinking the soft drink, throw the bottle anywhere. Also, in third world countries, the governments do not make an effort to categorize waste and take special care of plastic waste so that it not be unjustly accumulated and indiscriminately dumped. Several studies have emphasized the gap in actions and efforts taken in by municipal or governmental bodies to uphold and establish sustainable practices for the sake of plastic waste management. The current waste management plastic, such as marking bottles with 'please recycle', is available but not so efficient or effective in terms of plastic waste management on a larger scale. An effective system of waste management targets the whole chain, production, distribution, and consumption.

Chapter 3: Methodology


This study is originally emphases about waste management of Coca-Cola and Pepsi and also how this can be recycling as because those are very harmful to the environment and also not environmentally friendly. Basically, the methodology is logical to view belief and value and also configurated contextual part of a research. Research here gives the researcher a path to seamlessly observing all the analysis factors. In this study procedure, the researcher methodically implements every technique through a systematic approach. The case study methods apply not only to each phase of the research but also to the potential researchers and are also implemented in a manner that the learner understands (Santos et al., 2021). The systematic approach helped the researcher systematically implement all techniques in this research procedure.

Researchers often used the Onion Model of Saunders to describe all the stages of the research program. The onion model is nothing but a strategy that has a unique way of using it. In the Onion Model, each and every layer of Onions has a different style of detailed describing method. Therefore, all the layers of this research can be described properly and analyzed by this Onion Model of Saunders. So, a proper demonstration of the case study is very authentically favorable for the framework.

Research Purpose

This case study commenced here to understand as well as know the reasons for waste management of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Nowadays, recycling and waste management are very important when it comes to saving the environment, and that is the main focus of this research. The study discussed here is generally because of inspecting purpose and looking into the history to know about the problems of the research in waste management along with it slightly elaborating about the recycling process and how it can be preferable for the environment. This thesis will be about gathering the secondary data, and therefore the overall research shall be conducted under a qualitative form of research.

Research Philosophy

The exertion of a case study of recycling and waste management research issues in collaboration with the study of the importance of waste management for the environment and people and also how recycling can be an extraordinary step toward reusing things that are totally being non-used or harmful. An essential part of research methodology is research philosophy.

Interpretivist philosophy will be very supportive for the researcher to get an awareness of waste management; it will also be reused for better and pollution-free earth. Interpretivism can be used in such a way in studies that it can give a very vital knowledge in the research about the reuse of plastic and other recyclable items. This type of research philosophy can provide a bunch of conventions that are based on imagined and some subjective approaches toward the depth of research problems.

Research Design

Qualitative research design is under the pattern of interpretivism to understand the problems and the process of research. To understand the depth and particular matter of the reuse process, the qualitative research design can bring it out in front by using qualitative methods. Research issues in the process of recycling and waste management of Coca-cola and Pepsi company can be interpreted by the secondary data which is collected for this study purpose; all this research effort is presented through the qualitative research.

The aims and purposes of the research problem shall be undertaken for the movement of the research. Ensuring the research design and example will be clearly stated in the case study.

Research Approach

The detailed information about recovery, research, and interpretation theory is actually meant to comprise the research approach. The research approach is nothing but a methodology for understanding how to conduct the process of research. The research approach is the essence of the research question and then depends on this approach. The study focuses on two different methods of processing data: data processing methodology and data interpretation or rationalization approach. The use of various methods for collecting or generating data is emphasized. For deconstructing data, researchers often use quantitative data analysis. The first step in conducting research is choosing the research region. This is done by forming assumptions about the conditions within that region. The research approach is focused on understanding the fundamental aspects of the research problem. The analytic method is being used in this study as it will lead to the generation of a new theory through the understanding of the secondary literature and provide a detailed knowledge of the primary concepts.

The researchers used the analytic research approach to inspect the overall scenario of waste reuse for making the environment pollution free and then also evaluated the technology of recycling and its limitations.

Research Strategy

The research strategy followed in the present study is in line with the example of research that has been identified for this case study. The research problem is based on the analysis of secondary data to analyze the probability of lack of wastage and reuse of the waste materials. The research shall be strategized based on the qualitative research design of the study. The research process should use qualitative techniques more often over quantitative policy. The same has been identified as being necessary for the study, as it requires an in-depth analysis of the research process rather than an intent understanding of the research issues. The qualitative research strategy will use the techniques of interpretation to examine the collected secondary data and provide information that is most relevant to know about the research problem.

Data Collection Method

As mentioned above, this study only deals with the second data type. The data collection method is nothing but how can researcher can collect data about any relevant topic. The primary data type is not suitable for the study since the secondary data will provide the research problems on how possible it would be to reuse the waste bottles of Pepsi and coca-cola. The primary data collection will need time and resources, so the present research has been based on only secondary data sources.

For the relevant source of databases and the research process, the researcher started using the literature, which consists of some keywords related to waste management and also about the reuse of wastage for the seek of the environment and the extreme pollution. Keywords that are used by researchers the most are “Recycling” or “Reuse” or “Reuse of waste” or “Pepsi or Coca-cola Bottles” or “Waste management” in-depth.

Data Analysis Method

The interpretation and analysis of data are essential in any kind of research since it helps to determine the overall findings of the project. The misapprehending of data and the use of inappropriate data analysis techniques can lead to the misinterpretation of the research program, resulting in the generation of inaccurate theoretical knowledge. Therefore, the data analysis technique is an integral part of the research process at present. The data that has been collected for the present study can be well deconstructed using the narrative analysis technique. The narrative analysis technique is very proper for this study and, therefore, the most relevant form of approach. A detailed analysis of the research problem can be given by the researcher using the analysis.

Ethical Consideration

The case study should credit the authors whose work was used to create it. The reliability and validity of the data and the research process and techniques will be taken into account. All of the data has been thoroughly checked and verified before it is used in the study. All of the data that was unreliable or not accurate has been removed from the study, which has helped the study process as a whole. The information has been properly attributed to the authors that have been noted, and this process was necessary to observe the reliability and validity of the study.

Chapter 4: Findings (Data presentation)

Through some secondary research, it has been clear that Pepsi and Coca-Cola bottles do some severe damage to the environment because of the disposal of plastic use. So a report says that Pepsi India holdings have to pay Rs. 8.9 Crores as their bottles used by the consumers are doing some serious pollution (Puturi, Fujimori and Takaoka, 2018). Not only Pepsi India, but there are also more names involved in this environmental damaged proportion like Coca-Cola, and Coca-Cola has asked to pay 55.06 Crores fine. As per research on the bottles of those mentioned brands, once they are disposed of, they cannot be reused by the consumers. Pepsi and Coca-Cola brands have taken a vow that in the future they will try to reduce plastic use. The environmentalist has recognized this as serious damage to the environment, so the corporation takes a step that till the year 2025 they will try to make recyclable or reusable bottles (Y?ld?z-Geyhan et al., 2019). There are formal and informal groups that are dealing with plastic recycling and recycling works basically with some privet recyclers.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi companies keeping their business strategy in mind and also for the government rules they are trying to make 25% recyclable bottles. But coca-cola company has achieved at least 2.5% for making the recyclable bottles while Pepsi company has not started yet research says. The research also says that some companies are launching a new awareness community to promote the recycling process as the recyclable value will be 100%. 

The secondary reports are saying PepsiCo has pledged to phase out all virgin plastic from its Pepsi brand beverage bottles sold in nine European Union markets by 2022. The company plans to package all of its beverages under a single brand with recycled plastics from post-consumer packaging. Pepsi will also continue to move towards increased reuse and complementary systems, such as SodaStream.

In 2018, Coca-Cola set a goal to help solve the problem of packaging waste around the world. The company pledged to collect and recycle one bottle or can for every one sold by 2030 (Y?ld?z-Geyhan et al., 2019). The report says to make all of its packaging fully recyclable by 2025, and to make its bottles and cans with 50% recycled content by 2030 by the company.

 Therefore, the Pepsi and Coca-Cola companies say they are responsible for this environmental pollution cause and plan strategies to make the bottles that can be recycled as per the research. Moreover, this beverage company's business stands upon the consumers who brought these Coca-Cola or Pepsi bottles for their thirst. So to seeking of their business, they publicly boost their strategy of making recycling bottles. As for disposal of bottles increases day by day, those companies started focusing on recycling strategy as per the secondary research (Shanker et al., 2022).

In the primary report 2020, the percentage was given by justifying the population of the study.

 Respondents accessing showing through this table

Category respondent

Population sample

Population accessed














Policy Maker/ Local Government




Environment Professionals




Private Sectors/Recyclers 








These respondents are basically included gender, education, occupation that is present in this above table.

Chapter 5: Discussions (Data interpretation)

The study found that the way in which plastic is managed depends on the type of production, distribution, and consumption involved. The highly biased response revealed that at the production level, the results showed that company’s overproduction without a clear waste management plan (Godfrey, 2019), while the plastics traders as well, as consumers are having the same bad habits of plastic waste management and also predisposing factor is a poor plastic waste management.

One of the topics investigated in the study was gender which is divided into the male and female categories as visible in the table below.

Gender of Respondents


Percentage (%)










This table made from the research and this table shows a total of 119, among all male percentage, is 38% and a female percentage is 62.1% of respondents. Female respondents are less as most of the females are girls or stay at home.

Each corresponding percentage of the respondents from the education level is indicated by the table below in the study.

Education level


Percentage (%)










Post Graduate









The above-mentioned table gives us the knowledge about the research study about all the education levels. In the research the level of certificate is 8.4%, diploma level is 24.3%, Bachelor is 42.0%, Post-Graduation level is 7% and others level is 18.4% from the total list of respondents (Talukder, 2019).

Plastic waste management procedure

In this plastic waste management procedure first it is necessary to focus on the level of production. The table represents the production level of plastic waste management procedures.

Inquiry of item and response statement





Not Sure


Strongly Agree

Level of Production

Cheaper and efficient way to produce plastic than recycling






Percentage level(%)






The solid waste stream use increased in packaging plastic products






Percentage level(%)






Industries recycle plastic waste that is unhygienic and a health hazard.






Percentage level(%)






In plastic waste management, there is a limitation on producers' responsibilities.






Percentage level(%)






The absence of incentivizing practice is evidenced by indiscriminate disposal of plastic







Percentage level(%)






The procedure on plastic waste management at the production level and the findings show that PET plastic products packaged in soft drinks have increased the solid waste stream. 85%

Of the respondents, agreed to increase the production of PET plastics packaged for soft drinks,

Escalated the flow of plastic waste. Mating plastic is cheaper and more efficient than recycling

24% strongly disagree, 30.2% disagree, 8.4% are not sure, 32% agree and 6% strongly agree (Corkery, 2019). Sutton argues that the quality of the plastic resin is affected by the way it is disposed of and this harms recycling rates. This is confirmed by respondents who say that industries recycle plastic waste/scrap, which is unsanitary and a health hazard. Nearly half of respondents say this. 63.0% agree to impose restrictions on producers' responsibility for plastic waste management. Even though there are no incentives in place to encourage people to change, there are still many people who want to improve their lives.

Effects on the Environment

The environmental impact of managing plastic waste is an important analysis when it comes to environmental justifiable. In the solid waste stream, plastic waste has had a huge effect on environmental sustainability through its production, distribution, and consumption levels.

During the creation of PET plastics, methane, ethane, propane, and butane gas are mixed into the air and water (Opeolu Olukunle, 2019). These gases can then get away from the environment and change the climate. Large volumes of waste are produced, and large tones are mindlessly disposed of and left in open fields. As manufacturing has increased to meet growing customer demand, the long-term squeezing of oil resources has provoked exhaustion of resources.

Chapter 6: Conclusion, recommendations, and implications for further research


The fundamental research and study aim to explore the effects of initiating and encouraging plastic waste management on the overall sustainability of the environment. The specific objectives aimed at exploring the practices of plastic waste management by the companies Coca-Cola and Pepsi, two of the largest plastic users globally. Besides exploring the current methods employed by the two companies, the study also had an aim to examine effective practices which could be undertaken to initiate plastic waste management in a better way so that the plastic waste disposal across the globe reduces. As aforementioned, in 2016, 480 billion plastic bottles were sold, half of which could be collected for recycling, and only 7% became new bottles. Of those 480 billion, 110 were from Coca-Cola. Pepsi also had to admit in the World Economic Forum that plastic waste is a problem and they need to reduce plastic waste. The conclusions are based upon the objectives of the study.

The Coca-Cola Company, through its subsidiary branch, 'The Plastic Recycling Industries, has made efforts to encourage and initiate plastic waste management and support the cause of recycling to reduce plastic waste and increase sustainability. PepsiCo has taken active measures too and has an aim to make all of their packaging plastic recyclable and biodegradable by 2025. PepsiCo's vision to encourage the usage of sustainable plastic is based on three pillars: 1) reducing the usage of plastic and its amount, 2) boosting the rate of recycling to use already produced plastic, and 3) reinventing the plastic packaging. The CEO said that they are intentionally setting ambitious goals to drive the company toward meaningful progress.

The absence of a proper and efficient working system for the sake of plastic waste management has not only proven to be hazardous to the sustainability of the environment but also socio-economic conditions of several global regions. It challenges the social, economic, and environmental stability of an area and damages its sustainability. Even though there exists some kind of techniques and processes but that is not as efficient as a full-fledged incentivized system of plastic waste management which would be able to leave an impact. There are some techniques that are known to the authorities, but those are not used to apply to their full. Therefore, it is really necessary that corporate giants like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo take the matter seriously enough to consider initiating proper methods and techniques of plastic waste management for the sake of saving the sustainability of the environment.

It should also be pointed out that solely targeting the companies and their production processes is not enough as it's a system or a chain consisting of three important parts. Plastic is used to create bottles or any other form of packaging in the production unit of companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. Then, the companies are responsible for allocating the products to franchises and licensed distributors, which then further reaches the household or in the hands of the customers to be consumed. At most, what Coca-Cola and Pepsi can do is to employ people and teams for the sake of collecting plastic to be recycled and reused and the plastic waste be reduced. However, there's also responsibility upon the distributors and consumers; it's a proper cycle due to which plastic waste accumulation takes place. Distributors could devise individual methods to collect the plastic and have it sent to the company's production. Also, consumers usually do not care as to how plastic waste should be disposed of as they are not aware of waste management and the concept of different types of waste. This is mostly the case in under-developed and developing third world countries where the awareness level and literacy are low. Also, the government, due to a lack of funds and infrastructure, is unable to employ proper waste collection methods to reduce plastic waste accumulation. Dumping grounds are filled up with hazardous and plastic waste, which is usually left there without any scope of waste management. All of those plastic then reaches water-bodies which causes more harm to the sustainability of the environment. Therefore, awareness programs should be initiated and be considered one of the ways to curb plastic waste management. Citizens of less-aware countries and societies must be educated with respect to waste management so that they know the harm of plastic and how the environment and society around them are affected by it. If citizens would be aware of the concepts of recycling and reuse, and also if governments designate places for the disposal of different kinds of waste, then it would become easier to properly collect and reuse those bottles or plastic in a healthy manner.

However, all of this can be done only if big companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi collaborate with local governments to run awareness programs and drives for the sake of making waste management literacy common among people. The importance of legislation also comes into play. The citizens abide by whatever the government enforces upon them, so it also becomes highly important if laws are legislated for the sake of waste management and environment-friendly regulations, which would help the sustainability of the environment at large. Those who shall abide by the laws properly, be it on the distribution level or consumer level, shall be incentivized, and those who fail to do shall be penalized. Penalizing offenders might seem harsh, but if someone understands the hazard that plastic waste causes to the environment, then penalizing would seem like a necessary step.


  1. Sustainability of the waste management practice: The waste management practices employed by companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi should be sustainable and must include the usage of modern technology, governmental policies, and administrative legal actions which would address the predicament of plastic waste accumulation, and its proper management should also be there. All of this would create a system and encouraged mechanism which would work efficiently rather than an approach solely focusing on the commercial aspect. As aforementioned, all of the processes are divided into production, distribution, and consumption, so it would be necessary to tackle all the aspects. 
  2. State and local collaboration: Waste management and the concept of recycling are perfect for enforcing the four cycles of management of waste management. That would help share information and expertise for joint action with limited or reduced cost. 
  3. Enforcement of the legal framework and policies: There are several waste management procedures and techniques still but all of those are not implemented properly due to the absence of a particular legal policy or framework leading to a penalty. The country must legislate waste management-related laws and policies which would not only penalize but also reward correct behavior in some ways so that waste management be carried out in a successful manner.
  1. Database on the plastic industry: The establishment of afull-fledged database on the production of plastic waste, the distribution and the consumption of plastic would help the companies to know in a better way what they are dealing with. In this world of data and information, steps like these would really go a long way in the overall process of waste management and sustainability of the environment.
  2. Plastic waste recovery: The approach of 3Rs to plastic waste management, namely, reducing, reusing, and recycling, is a useful method and approach. There is a need to recover waste without undermining the importance of environmental sustainability, and it can be carried out through community organizations, government, local administrators, and private companies. 
  3. Legal, administrative and technological policing: Usually, most corporations do not take part in public policies, and that leads to non-compliance with national and international laws. The organizations cannot enforce apt behaviors related to environmental, social, and economic benefits. 
  4. Taxation incentives: The cost of plastic recycling is higher than its production, and that creates an environment of lagging back when it comes to using the concept of recycling. Incentives and taxation policies would address this issue, so investors must promote zero taxation on the import of equipment that are used in plastic waste recycling and management. This would be an encouragement towards recycling plastic, and its absence would lead to the continuation of poor plastic waste disposal. A green credit could be introduced to reward environmentally-friendly actions and behavior.
  1. Enforcing “please recycle”: All plastic products are labeled with a trademark of “please recycle,” which is found on the back of PET plastic bottles. However, only a printed mark is of no use if there is no way to enforce the idea of recycling, and people would simply ignore it while they dispose of waste in an unsafe manner. Therefore the notion of recycling must be taken seriously, and measures must be taken so that the trademark of “please recycle” could be properly enforced, leading to proper plastic waste management and discouraging hazardous disposal of waste products. 

Implications for further research

Future implications: In future, the implication of the research would be to further examine if the methods which were recommended are actually helpful in proper plastic waste management and sustainability of the environment. A study could be done to understand what are the shortcomings which might come in the way of initiating an efficient system of plastic waste management by Coca Cola and PepsiCo.


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